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From NBOA – How to Budget Your Boating Season April Spring Savings Event Ask the Experts – How to Turn Your Boat Into a Wakeboard Tow Boat Red Sky at Night with JB Cornwell – Tom and the King of Lake Michigan Nautical Humor Stupid Human Boating Tricks Boat Review – Century 2102 Featured Products and Specials

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Ask the Experts | How to Turn Your Boat Into a Wakeboard Tow Boat
courtesy of Boating Magazine

How to Turn Your Boat Into a Wakeboard Tow Boat.
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. 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. Didnít splurge on a tower-equipped wake monster already? No worries. You can add your own aftermarket tower (for as little as $774 with Wakeboard Tower Sale) and a few hours of labor. Hereís what to look for.

All access
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 donít 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 isnít completely flat. Thicker, stiffer backing plates have been known to crack a boatís gel coat once theyíre tightened down. And speaking of tightening, donít 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."

Comparison shop
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.

[Editor's Note: Save an extra $65 off now on wakeboard towers during April Spring Savings Event. We carry easy-to-install, folding towers from CMC, Loud Liquid, and EPCO Tuff.] Click here to shop towers

Article courtesy of Boating Magazine, with editorial additions by To subscribe or view additional news from Boating Magazine, visit

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SALE DETAILS: Shop our April Spring Savings Event and save on popular spring boating gear. Sale price shown online reflects our new low price. Sale prices valid thru Thur, April 30, 2009. Some sale items require a promo code for the discount (given next to the product) Ė please enter any associated promo codes at checkout Ė sorry, promo codes limited to U.S. and Canadian customers only. Only one code allowed per order. Offer cannot be applied to previous purchases or combined with any other offer. We reserve the right to modify, change or discontinue all or parts of this sale without any prior notice.

Disclaimer for Review Articles:
The information and articles provided in this newsletter and/or in any publications provided by are for general purposes only and intended to help you make better janisions about your boat and boating equipment. Such information is not intended to substitute for instructions from the manufacturer, dealer or marina about your specific boat or boating equipment and iboats specifically disclaims any liability for damage to your boat or equipment arising from your following suggestions in this newsletter. For more details about your equipment or application, we suggest you contact the manufacturer of your boat or other equipment.

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