Rails and sliders may be cool, but wakeboarding will primarily always be about big air. And next to massive wakes, nothing delivers airtime like a tower. Like a tow pylon on steroids, towers raise the attachment point of your towrope, eliminating the downward pull that goes hand-in-hand with transom-mounted eyes or traditional ski pylons. ... read more The result is an instant boost in height for the aspiring boarder and a likewise increase in hang time, two factors that will rapidly push riders to new skill levels. Towers also have a practical side. By serving as an attachment point for such items as board racks and speakers, they free the cockpit from clutter. Didn’t splurge on a tower-equipped wake monster already? No worries. You can add your own aftermarket tower (for as little as $774 with iboats.com Wakeboard Tower Sale) and a few hours of labor. Here’s what to look for.
First, find out if you can mount a tower. "The first thing I'll look for is how to gain access to the underside of the deck," says Chase Kromer of Xtreme Tower Products (XTP). "On some boats you may be able to reach right up underneath a cubby or inwale; on another boat you might not have access at all." In difficult-to-reach areas, Kromer suggests trying to remove an interior panel or cushion, then using a hole saw to create an access point that will stay hidden. In more difficult installations he has temporarily removed speakers, installed pie-plate hatches, even disguised his access holes with stainless-steel cupholders.
Where's the beef?
You may need to reinforce an area so it can handle the stress a tower transfers to the deck. Most tower manufacturers call for fiberglass to be at least 3/8" thick in the mounting areas. Boats that don’t meet that standard can be reinforced by adding layers of glass (remember to scuff the existing surface to ensure a good bond) or marine plywood. Mounting feet typically feature a rubber gasket topside, with a metal backing plate below. XTP uses a relatively large 3"-by-4"-by-1/8" aluminum plate to help spread the load. The thinner aluminum allows the plate to conform to the underside of the deck if the surface isn’t completely flat. Thicker, stiffer backing plates have been known to crack a boat’s gel coat once they’re tightened down. And speaking of tightening, don’t overdo it. A good rule of thumb is to stop once the rubber gasket underneath the mounting foot begins to compress. "If you overtighten," warns Kromer, "you're going to crack your gel coat."
Understand how your tower is measured and the type of materials being used. Tubing is measured by outside diameter; pipe is designated by inside diameter. Anodized aluminum is most common, but a limited number of manufacturers offer stainless steel. Powder-coated towers may be colorful, but keep in mind that the coating is likely to chip down the road, especially around folding joints. Welds should look clean, with no air pockets. Stainless-steel hardware is a must; treat all threaded parts with an anti-seize compound before final assembly. Hinges, which allow the tower to fold for storage, should feature Allen-head bolts or tool-free knobs.
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Article courtesy of Boating Magazine, with editorial additions by iboats.com. To subscribe or view additional news from Boating Magazine, visit //www.boatingmag.com read less
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Video Transcript Wakeboard towers are appearing on all kinds of boats. They are not relegated to dedicated tow boats and wakeboard boats anymore. You will find them on run-abouts, you will even find them on pontoons like this 2575 RCW from Bennington. But no matter what kind of boat you want, if you’re considering a wakeboard tower there are certain things that you need to look for to make sure it’s going to be functional, safe and hold up for the long-term.
Here are a few of those points. To get our information we spoke to the experts at Marine Accessories Corporation, they are the people that make Monster Towers and they had a lot to say about the construction and installation of towers aboard boats. First and foremost is safety. If there’s going to make people being pulled by these towers, they have got to be built right, they have got to be installed right.
Number one is to make sure that the tower is firmly secured to the boat. Through bolting is the only way to go. Number two look for smooth wells. They call it a row and nickel on a well where you can see the little overlapping flux all around the well point. And if it’s powder coated like this one, so much the better. It will help stave off the effects of corrosion long-term. A bimini top offers great functionality; providing shade, keeping cool, looking good. And some like those from Monster Tower can even carry a tow tube atop them saving space in the boat. Naturally we want a tow point, speakers and racks.
Back to construction; 2.5 inch diameter tubing is a great benchmark to look for as are heavy duty pivot pins. But that's not all. Monster Towers go so far as to static test with a pull machine to 2000 pounds to ensure the integrity of each and every power that they build. So when you’re looking for tower make sure it securely bolted. Look for good smooth wells. Look for a nice anodized or powder coated finish and make sure your tower manufacturer has done some certified testing to ensure the long-term integrity. There’s nothing more important than your crew’s safety. Go out there and enjoy yourselves. read less