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The Art and Science of the Wake


What You Need

Okay, so you have invested in a decent wakeboard and a set of killer bindings this year, and you have spent the season working on riding and getting some air. But no matter what you do, you cannot seem to pull off those pro tricks you have been dreaming about all summer. Maybe the problem is not you or your board. Maybe it is the wake.


Ski boat manufacturers are working hard to keep up with the new demand for more versatile boats. Traditionally, ski boats were designed to make a small, clean wake, so that skiers could do their tricks and traverse the wake without catching an edge. With the popularity of wakeboarding, wakeskating, inland surfing, hydrofoil and other extreme water sports rising, these manufacturers have had to figure out a way to retain their traditional skier market while providing a much larger wake for other uses.


How They Make It

There are two distinctly different methods of making bigger wakes, ballast and wake plates, otherwise known as trim tabs. There are two types of wake plates, manual and hydraulically controlled. Different methods provide different types of wakes, so you need to be aware of your wake needs in order to choose the right method for you. They also vary greatly with regard to how difficult it is to use them to achieve monster wakes.


Ballast Systems

For years now, wakeboarders have been using ballast bags in their boats to add weight and increase wake size. New ballast systems can consist of a series of collapsible sacks or tanks that are filled up with lake water using pumps. They can be built into the hull, or added to fit into the storage areas or the back of your boat. Many wakeboard boat manufacturers offer some sort of automatic or semi-automatic pump ballast system in their new boats, and there are a few aftermarket companies doing the same thing. The storage containers typically range in weight anywhere from 400 to 1600 pounds. Most of them come with an optional pump that makes filling and emptying the ballast systems fairly easy. Some water sports, such as inland surfing, can only be accommodated by a ballast system, as the boat must heel to one side to create a surfer wave.


The problem with using ballast systems lies in having to spend the first half-hour of your day on the lake fumbling with pumps, wires and hoses to get your ballast filled up, only to spend the last half-hour, when you are tired and hungry, struggling to get them emptied. Add-on water bags and above-deck ballast tanks take time to fill or drain, compromise storage area and floor space, and they can negatively impact the performance of ski boats. They are also difficult to impossible to adjust for a particular rider’s wake preference.


Wake Plates

Some boat owners and manufacturers add on a wake plate to replace or supplement a ballast system. A wake plate is simply a metal plate that drops down under the platform. Manual wake plates are either up or down, with no in between for different speeds and they are not easily adjusted. A manual wake plate can do the job, but you will get tired of holding your breath and counting turns, or reaching under the swim platform to reconfigure your wake from slalom to wakeboarding. You have to get on the platform on the back of the boat to adjust it.


Tigé Optimizes Results

Tigé Boats, a manufacturer of water sport precision towboats, has found a unique way to address family water sporting needs. By utilizing their patented Tigé Adjustable Performance System (TAPS²), water sport enthusiasts can transcend the limitations of traditional inboard design. Using a button located on the throttle handle, the driver can instantly change the wake size and shape to fit both the rider and the skier. 


From clean, faint slalom wakes to huge, beautifully shaped wakeboarding wakes, TAPS² coupled with Tigé’s ConvexV hull delivers unmatched control, convenience and hydrodynamic performance. The Tigé TAPS²-variable ConvexV hull is designed to complement the overall performance of the boat. Unlike the concave hook shape of traditional inboards, the Tigé hull features a convex continuous rocker design with an adjustable TAPS² plate to precisely control the hull attitude. Instead of curving downward into the water, the ConvexV hull curves up from the hull’s mid-section to the transom.  The Tigé convex rocker shape allows the transom to drop naturally into the water, creating tremendous water displacement and massive wakes without ballast, instead of the permanent lifting effect built into the concave “hook”. The moveable TAPS² plate allows the driver to precisely tune the running attitude of the hull by activating a switch on the throttle handle. This means bigger, more precision wakes for riders and superior flat wakes for slalom skiers. For passengers, it means dramatically improved ride, handling and overall user comfort. 



So what is the benefit of Tigé’s TAPS² system? Unlike other boat manufacturers, Tigé is the only company to have re-designed their hulls to work harmoniously with their wake system. When you load up the boat with kids and friends, not everyone always wants to do the same thing. On the same outing you might have one skier, one kneeboarder and several wakeboarders with varying degrees of skill. The only system I know of that can easily accommodate this water sports mixture is TAPS². Through TAPS², drivers can get smooth and large wakes during almost any water condition. At the touch of a button, you can create a large, rampy wake at wakeboarding speeds or a flat, clean wake at slalom speeds. It can also be used to raise the bow if needed in rough water.  Best of all, it does not have to be filled or drained, it can be used at many different levels, not just full or empty, it does not take up valuable storage in the boat, nor does it hamper steering or negatively impact gas consumption.



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