How to Make a Bigger Wake on your Boat

I have a 2017 Mastercraft X46 and love the boat, but of all the things I love about the boat, I utterly despise the standard wave. The low profile of the boat requires a huge amount of weight to get a surfable wave. It only has 2015lbs of standard ballast which is incredibly low considering most boats today come with stock 4000 – 5000lbs of ballast. The simple answer to how to make a bigger wake on your boat is adding weight (ballast), but there are a few other tricks you can use to get a bigger wake too.

Wake is created by applying force to the hull of the boat (accelerating) to displaces the water which then tries to rush back to its pre-existing location.   Although there are some different methods to fine tune your wake, there is really only one way to make your wake sizable bigger and that is by adding weight (ballast).  From where it is place, to how much you are using, will determine the quality and size of your wake. 

To get the best wake possible simply, weigh down the boat, adjust your trim, accelerate, and have fun.  Most surfboats come with ballast systems that are built into the boat that can fill (some in less that 60 seconds while still travelling at 13 mph – seems crazy!) with the push of a button.  Even with those you may need to apply some of the tricks below to create a bigger wake.

No worries if you don’t have one of these expensive boats, we’ll still get you the best wake possible.  When you are going to be wake surfing, a bigger wake will create more energy and will give more push for you and your board.  For wakeboarding a bigger wake will give you a more explosive pop.  While the size of your wake is important, but equally important to create a great ride is the shape of your wake. 

The shape can be tweaked by various methods touched on below.  When placing the weight on your boat, more weight in the front of the boat will create a longer wake length but a shorter wake height. 

Conversely more weight in the back of the boat will create a shorter wake length, but a larger wake height.  If you have people weighted heavily on the port side of the boat, you will notice that the port side has larger wake than the starboard side.

There are a couple simple tricks out there that can certainly help give you the amount of wake you are looking for.

Bring your friends

Firstly they are “free” weight, unless your friend is the guy that always drinks your beer and never comes with any.  That guy can stay home!   The more the merrier though!  You’ll have the majority of them sit towards the back of the boat, but not everyone.  You will want to have some sort of balance on the boat.

Filling your gas tank

Depending on the size of your gas tank, you could be looking at 600+ pounds.  Yes – there’s some upfront cost to fill the boat with gas, but you can always look at it from the perspective you were going to have to fill the boat at some point anyway, might as well get your gas before you head out for some wakesurfing or wakeboarding.


If you have a surfboat with an internal ballast system, you are in luck.  Most will simply have a touchscreen to fill tanks and off you’ll go.  If your boat doesn’t has a ballast system built in, no worries, as there are plenty of products you can pick up to add weight like the ballast bags pictured above.

Another route are water filled ballast bags that you can fill with water.  They are pretty awesome and come in a variety of sizes – some from 540lbs to 2140lbs!  I am preferable to water filled ballast bags over the 50lb bags since you can pump the water in and out quickly and easily and there’s no heavy lugging around 50lb bags.

Adjusting your trim or wake plates

Adjusting your trim will depend on how much weight is on the boat and where the weight is placed.  This will be a sort of trial and error until you get the wake you like.  For inboards, having the trim/wake plates all the up in the fully retracted position will create a larger wake.  For inboard/outboards, having the trim all the way down, or close to all the way down, creates the best wake.

There are also products called wakeshapers out there that can help create wake that attach to your boat.  Wake shapers can work really well in tandem with your ballast to maximize your boats wake.  They are not horribly expensive and are very simple to setup and use.  Wake shapers will attach to the side of your boat at the stern with either suction cup or Velcro.  They have an angled design that allows for a bigger wake that is very clean. You can read more about our highest rated wakeshapers by clicking the button below.


Depends on what watersport you are doing.  Wakeboarding you will be travelling somewhere in the range of 21-22 mph.  Wakesurfing you will be going around 11-13mph.  In both cases it’s going to be the riders who will tell the driver to speed up or slow down. 

Once you find that sweet spot try to keep it steady.  If your boat has a cruise control option, that will be something that you will definitely want to use.

At this point you may be saying ok, I need to get some more weight on the boat, where should I put it?  Should they go in the front, the rear, all the weight on the stern or port sides?  Truth be told you’ll want weight everywhere. 

Yes, I know that isn’t helpful, but let me explain.  Part of the physics behind creating a wake is balance.  Throwing all the weight in the back right corner of the boat won’t displace the water properly and will not be ideal for your rider.  Ideally you will want to place most of the weight towards the back of the boat. 

You will also want some weight up front just to give a little bit of balance to the boat.  For riders who are regular footed (left foot in the front of the board) you will want to place more weight on the port side (left side) of the boat. 

Consequently, if you are a goofy footed rider (right foot in front of board) you will want to place more weight on the starboard (right side) of the boat.  Placing the weight is going to be something of a trial and error situation to get it just right, but when you do it will be worth it!  Enjoy the ride.

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