Before we begin let’s start by first answer this, What is Ballast?
Ballast is a heavy material, often lead or water, that is added to a boat to improve stability and the size of the wake. By adding weight, you are lowering the boats center of gravity in the water.
The lower the boat sits in the water the more water displacement occurs. As the boat moves the water displacement creates a wake; the heavier the boat the more water displaced, the bigger the wave. However, creating a great surfing wave is more than just size, it's also about the shape of the wave. This is an important consideration regardless of whether you are using a wake shaper or not.
By playing around with the weight placement in the boat you can figure out what works best for your individual preferences. Using Wake Ballast bags makes it easy to move the weight around in the boat for each surfer’s preferences. Another way to achieve this is by having the people in the boat move around.
If you’re looking for a great deal to get started check out our Ballast bundles. Whether you have a v-drive boat, direct drive, or are just looking to add some additional weight to their current ballast set up; they come with all the essentials.
Main Types of Ballast
Humans count as ballast, especially people who don't like to do watersports because then you get more time surfing! Having people to move around quickly is the easiest way to dial in your wave. You won't find a faster way to move around a couple hundred pounds of ballast fo get that perfect length, height, and curl ratio.
This can be located in stock hard tanks, after market water bags(fatsac), your gas tank (gas weights more than water so fill up before surfing!, or in your cooler (ice and beverages count!).
Hard tanks designed up until a few years ago tend to be smaller than you would want to make a great surfable wave. Often times people decide to pack more ballast on top of these.
Water bags, fatsac is the best known and arguable the best brand of these types of aftermarket water ballast. Some manufacturers even sell their boats with these pre-installed (e.g. some Nautique boats). This style of ballast is very popular because you can add literally tons of weight and empty them back to weighing almost nothing.
Just about any heavy object can be used as ballast. And we've seen people using just about everything. Ideally if you opt for this style of weight you use something that is: rust-free, has rounded/non-sharp angles, and does not take up a lot of space. We recommend the Wake Ballast Bags, they are heavy duty canvas bags filled stainless steel that is treated with an oil to keep it from ever rusting.
The main problem with this style of ballast is that it is always present in the boat, if you like to ski or do a lot of tubing the waves will make that much more difficult, and the boat will be less fuel efficient.
Heavy things to avoid:
Cinder Blocks - they are not very heavy, take up a lot of space, and haves lots of sharp edges
Uncoated Dumbbells and Barbell Weights - when coated these work well, but with the raw metal exposed your boat will be full of rusty water that will stain your beautiful boat!