About Billy Witcher

I've been with Ambush/BuyWake.com for over 14 years now. Living the dream and sharing my passion for board sports every day.

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

BuyWake Nautique G21 Mix for 2019

What is just as important as making sure your setup is packed in the car, the cooler is iced down for the day, and the boat is all gassed up?

Your playlist! And, for us here at BuyWake.com…it is pretty much the first thing we make sure we’ve got dialed before anything else.

Music resonates differently with everyone, so what gets you amped to ride might be completely different than the next person. But, we all can agree that the right tunes can help fan your stoke to the next level.

We went around the office and got some suggestions on what the crew here at BuyWake wanted to make “the list” for when we drop our Nautique G21 back in the water this Spring. Here’s what made the cut: Read More >

Wakeboard Binding Closures: What’s the Best Option for You?

Laces vs. Velcro vs. Boa vs. Gummy Straps

What’s the most important part of your wakeboard set up you ask?  The bindings.

Wakeboard bindings have come a long way since the inception of our sport.  From sandal models to closed toe models and everything in between.  Along the way we’ve seen all kinds of closure systems and we wanted to break down what is going to be available for the 2018 season and help you choose the best style of binding for your riding needs!

This topic is highly subjective and based on personal preference, but keep an open mind to new things, as your next pair of bindings might be your favorite pair yet!

Laces:

Here’s your tried and true option, just like momma’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  You know it’s good, you know you like it, you know it works!

This is probably the most common type of closure found in wakeboard bindings…mainly because so many riders like how lacing up a binding feels.  Or…maybe it’s all they’ve ever known.

Just like a pair of running shoes or hiking boots, you can distribute as much pressure as you like from the bridge of foot all the way up your shin depending on how high your bindings come up.  Most lace bindings either have a single lace or double lace closure.  If you’re considering a couple models, always look for a dual lace closure binding.  These will have a lace that secures the bridge of your foot and then another lace that secures the area above your ankle to your shin.  Single lace bindings are still good options for riders who are getting into the sport, but dual lace closures are undeniably better for any rider and are going to be way more comfortable.

Here are a couple of examples of lace closure bindings we can get behind this season:

Ronix 2018 One (Flash Man Mint/Black)
Ronix 2018 One (Flash Man Mint/Black)
Liquid Force 2018 4D Riot
Liquid Force 2018 4D Riot

Velcro:

Rule number one with Velcro: Do not let anyone tell you Velcro doesn’t work.

Personally, I had a pair of Velcro closure bindings when I started riding.  They were the 2001 Hyperlite Split Boots, actually.  If you had asked me about Velcro bindings back then, I would have argued that Velcro was a pain in the ass and sucked because you couldn’t continue to ride your bindings after the Velcro wore out.  The models out now for 2018 basically feature NASA-grade Velcro…so this is no longer an issue.  The type of Velcro brands are using these days has a much better hold and will not wear out like the Velcro I was using over 17 years ago.  Even if they do, in most cases replacement straps available to ensure you get the most out of your bindings.

These tend to be the easiest bindings to get in and out of, and who doesn’t like easy?  Similar to lace closures, you can dial in the fit of your bindings with a 2-strap or 3-strap closure.  Some riders prefer Velcro because they have found a way to get different flexes out of their bindings, depending on how they want to ride that day.  It’s really hard to get that out of a lace closure.

Let’s take a look at Liquid Force’s 4D Hook binding shown here:

By cinching each strap as tight as you can, you end up getting a stiffer feel and tons of ankle support.  By only tightening the lower straps and leaving the upper strap a little looser, you can get a more flexible feel and tons of mobility.  This is great if you’re the type of rider who likes to tweak out your grabs and add your own personal flavor to the way you throw a trick.

I had the chance to ride a pair of the 4D Hook behind the boat, as well as at the cable park, and I have to say that it’s a win-win in either scenario.  I would recommend Velcro to anyone, especially these from Liquid Force!

Boa:

One drawback for lace and Velcro closure bindings is that, during a long set behind the boat or a long session at the cable park, the closures can loosen up and require re-tightening in order to keep riding.  The best way to combat having to deal with that mid-session is with a set of Boa closure bindings.  Applying this technology from the snowboard industry to wakeboard binding construction has been a game-changer for sure.

One of the most popular bindings we carry featuring Boa would be the Hyperlite 2018 Kruz Boots.  Check out the video below to see them in action:

Boa closures will keep your binding as tight as you want until you’re ready to take them off.  Super easy to use and backed by a lifetime warranty on the Boa itself, it’s definitely worth the investment.

Gummy Straps:

Oh snap, son!  What are those?
These?  They’re Gummy Straps!

Slingshot 2018 KTV featuring Gummy Straps
Slingshot 2018 KTV featuring Gummy Straps

This new closure boasts:

“No more loosening over time, no more Velcro, and no more cumbersome closure systems.  Gummy Straps stretch when you fasten them, then squeeze your boots tight as you ride.”

If that statement from Slingshot isn’t enough to pique your interest, then you need to get up and get your feet into a pair of these!

After getting my hands on a pair of KTV bindings, I can say from personal experience that these things are next-level awesome.  They honestly have all the pros of laces, Velcro, and Boa all wrapped up into one easy-to-use strap…with no drawbacks at all.

The entire 2018 Slingshot binding lineup, from the Option to the RAD, come with Gummy Straps.  They even come with an extra set of alternate colors to mix things up!  You can’t knock that!

Conclusion

Each type of closure can and will compliment your riding in different ways.  The best thing to do is think about what’s most important to you and where you want to take your riding, and go from there.  Comfort certainly plays a big part in your decision, but give your feet the consideration they deserve and let our team help you get dialed for 2018.

Happy shredding!

Next-Level Wakesurfing – Wakesurf Shapers

Nautique Athlete and Wakesurfing Phenom – Drew Daniello

As many of you have probably noticed by now, wakesurfing is hot and everyone is into it.  You are, your main squeeze is, heck…even grandma might take a set if you ask her to come out next time!

With wakesurfing’s spike in popularity, a whole new segment has come to market to help you, the rider, create the best surf wave possible for your boat.  Many newer boats feature specific systems for better surfing wakes.  It’s crazy.  But, what do you do if you aren’t in the market for a new boat with one of these systems?  Fear not…we got you covered.

I know you already read our last ballast blog…and probably already have your wakeboarding ballast game on lock, but how is your ballast game as it relates to wakesurfing?  Do you feel like your wave is still missing amplitude and you can’t figure out how to get that?  Are you still having trouble cleaning up the face of your boat’s wave after exhausting adding or re-positioning additional ballast?  Is there one more little tweak to get the most out of your wave for surfing, and you just can’t put your finger on it?  It’s probably time to try a “Wakesurf Shaper” in conjunction with your aftermarket ballast configuration to unlock the perfect endless wave.

This type of product is newer to the scene and the market is growing very rapidly.  To make things easier on you,  we decided to partner up with two brands that stood out to us within this segment to ensure you’ve got an easy decision when turning your boat’s wake into a pumping swell!

Eight.3 Wakesurf Shaper w/ Boat Shims

The 2017 Eight.3 Wakesurf Shaper is offered in two different sizes; Standard and XLarge.  You don’t pick your size depending on how big of wave you want, but by certain key measurements of your boat.  Each size of Eight.3’s shaper is designed to help give an equal amount of wave, enhancing your boat’s goodness depending the size of the available flat surface area where the shaper is Velcro attached to your boat’s hull.

Follow the installation instructions provided by Eight.3 on the handy-dandy jump drive.  Once you let the Velcro adhesive strip bond to your boat’s port and starboard side gunnels you’ll be ready to hit the water.

MISSION Boat Gear DELTA Universal Wakesurf Shaper

The MISSION DELTA Universal features suction cups designed by Spider-Man himself.

Just kidding, but they really are heavy-duty.  Same rule applies here, as long as you’ve got a flat surface on the rear gunnel of your boat that is smooth (no decals), game on!  All you have to do to install the DELTA is get it in position and engage the two locking levers to secure the shaper to your boat.  It’s that easy.  Go ride.

 

Both the Eight.3 and MISSION wakesurf shapers really do the trick and can turn regular fun into an absolute blast without breaking the bank.  Just remember that you can use either product on both sides of the boat, depending on which side you wish to surf.  And, know that these products are not designed to be used for speeds higher than about 14-15 MPH.  For most boats, optimal surfing speed is somewhere between 11 and 12 MPH.

Whenever you’re ready, give the BuyWake.com Rider Staff a call at (800) 709-9253 to find out which one will best suit your needs.  We’ll be looking forward to getting you dialed in.  Once we get you set up, don’t blame us when your face hurts from smiling.  Instead, take another set or take one of your friends who has never ridden before and spread the stoke!  Always, always wear a life jacket.

Ballast Bags – More Weight, Bigger Wakes!

It’s officially spring (as of yesterday), so it’s time to get things in order for an epic 2017 season.  Go grab your ball hitch, back the truck up, and get the boat headed to the lake!  On your way down to the boat ramp, one thing to consider this year is how can you take your riding to the next level.  How about ballast?

We’re pretty sure that nine times out of ten, you automatically think about the gear you are riding – a new wakeboard, different bindings, a heavier wakeskate, a whole new surf shape, etc.  But, what about that big beauty you just dropped into the lake; YOUR BOAT!?
Makes sense right?!  More weight = bigger wakes!

Boat launch
Bombs away!

If you don’t have a ballast system that is factory installed and plumbed into your boat where everything is filled/drained by the flip of a switch, don’t fret.  You can still manually fill/drain sacs you have placed throughout your boat to achieve the best wake possible for your ride.

There are three main parts of the boat to think about when adding ballast; bow weight, center weight, and rear weight.
Since the engine is located in the middle to the rear of most boats, it’s always best to do about a 40/60 split of your arranged weight to the front and center/rear of the boat.  That engine already works to your favor with weighing that area of the boat down and helps give your wake width.  The 40% up front is to help drive the bow of the boat down and give your wake height/amplitude.  The more “vert” your wake has, the better upward pop you’re going to get.

Next thing to make sure you pick up along with your new ballast bag is a corresponding pump.  To keep things easy, we recommend going “like with like” branding with your ballast pump.  Keep it all within the same family so you can simply open your BuyWake.com order, take out your new bag and pump, and get right to it.  Each ballast bag brand we carry has a pump to ensure their bags fill/drain quickly.  Less down time means more riding time!

Shawn Watson Nautique G23
All the goods…in all the right places.

When I started riding, I didn’t have access to a boat that had a system built into it, so we used ballast bags that we would arrange around our boat’s floor space and locker space to maximize our wake’s potential.  It totally paid off once I started advancing.  Bigger wakes help with amplitude and better hang time, allowing you the opportunity to dial in some of those tricks that have been eluding you behind a smaller wake.

Here are three easy scenarios you could pick up to get started.  These are some of the top-selling bags from each of the brands we carry.  Check them out below.

Straight Line SUMO Bow Sac and Ballast Pump Recommendation

SUMO Bow Sac
Straight Line SUMO Max 675 Lbs. Bow Ballast Bag
SUMO Max Flow Ballast Pump
Straight Line SUMO Max Flow Ballast Pump

Eight.3 Center Sac and Ballast Pump Recommendation

Eight.3 Telescope - Trapezoid Ballast CTN
Eight.3 Telescope – Trapezoid Ballast CTN (Silver) Ballast Bag
Eight.3 3700 GPH Submersible Pump
Eight.3 Submersible Pump 3,700 GPH 12 V DC 20 Amp Fuse Ballast Pump

Fly High Rear Locker Sac (Set) and Ballast Pump Recommendation

Fly High Pro X Series V-Drive Sac
Fly High Pro X Series V-Drive Sac (Set) (W701)
Fly High Pump
Fly High Pro X Tsunami Pump-Double Water Capacity Flow Ballast Pump (W709)

If you’ve already got an integrated ballast system and feel like you could use a little upgrade, we’ve got you covered too!  We can help you swap out your pre-installed factory bag(s) with something bigger for a better time behind your boat.

Mmmm…look at that perfect wake.  Just perfect.

Here at BuyWake.com, we carry ballast options from three of the industry’s top trusted brands; Fly High, Straight Line SUMO, and Eight.3
Give us a call anytime Monday through Friday (9 AM-9 PM Eastern) at 800-709-9253 to speak to one of our Rider Experts.

Customer service on a different level
BuyWake.com’s Rider staff hard at work on your ballast setup!

We’re standing by and ready to help you dial in the best boat configuration to fit your needs/boat spacing.  Happy shredding!

The Eight.3 Wakesurf Shaper is HERE!

Things Are Shaping Up!

Okay, you and the crew just had an epic morning session and now the water bugs (tubers) are chopping the water up…time to take a break while the “Chop Monster” is in full effect or maybe pull out the surfers till things die down.

By this point, we all have most likely used ballast bags to help perfect our boat’s wake while we Wakeboard.  You position your ballast bags, buddies, pets, significant other (be careful when asking here…haha) around the boat to get the most out of your wake.  Ever wish you could do the same thing when you surfed?

For me, the biggest drawback of surfing was having to re-weight the boat…move things around…just to go 10-12mph.  Only hoping that everyone surfed on the same side of the boat too.  I’m Goofy Footed so I usually had to surf backside on the right wave.  You pick and choose your battles to save on riding time.  Well, Eight.3 came out with a product that is going to change the way you think about surfing.

For 2016, Eight.3 presents the Wakesurf Shaper and it’s killer. Check out the video.

First off, remember, only surf behind an inboard boat for your own safety.  We want you riding as long as you can with all your arms/legs where they’re supposed to be because we love you guys.

Long story short, this boat add-on is going to make things so much easier.  For the cost of a couple ballast bags, you can purchase the Wakesurf Shaper instead to help fine tune your surf wave while still weighting your boat down evenly.  No more moving things around to one side of the boat or the other when you want to surf!  You can even move the wedge forward on the Velcro Strips for a longer wake if you’re surfing the perfect “endless wave” or towards the back if you want a steeper wake for airs and skim tricks!

As long as you’ve followed the install directions correctly on the Wakesurf Shaper, it’s as easy as putting it into place when your crew slows things down for a Surf set or removing the wedge when you’re ready to get back after another Wakeboard set!

Click on the chart below to unlock your Eight.3 Wakesurf Shaper’s potential:

Pick one up before you get your boat in the water and see what the hype is all about.  It stores easy and makes any day out on the water awesome.  Trust BuyWake.com to get you and your buddies ready for this season – you won’t regret it.

Get Yours Today! – CLICK HERE