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Tow Boats: Making Waves for Water Sports Since 1922

By: :King Montecillo 0 comments
Tow Boats: Making Waves for Water Sports Since 1922

As you get your wake surfing board, wake surf fins, a rope and other gear ready for a day out on the water, have you ever thought about how and when the sport started? Wakeboarding, wake surfing, and even tubing, all began in 1922 when Ralph Samuelson first strapped a pair of wooden boards to his feet, took a clothesline, tied it to the back of a motorboat and had it pull him across the water, as he tried the “water skis” out on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota, USA. 

Josh Frenette | Unsplash.com

Without that first “tow” boat attempt, watersports wouldn’t be what they are today---an exciting and breath-taking array of disciplines that celebrate speed, power, athleticism, personal creativity and self-expression.

Simon Goetz | Unsplash.com

The Power Behind the Moves

Alongside the development of water sports, there was the evolution in tow boats---the boats that pulled people across the water have influenced and changed water sports in many ways. 

While the sport was in its infancy in the 1920s, the tow boats that were used consisted of launches, runabouts and utility boats. As more speed and power was required for more and intense water-skiing tricks, boat builders like Correct Craft, among others, designed and built tow boats that excelled for their pulling power and minimal wake.

Ian Wagg, Swiss Ski School, Clemont | Unsplash.com

As the 1970s and 1980s rolled in, more water sports evolved. Prominent among these were wakeboarding and wake surfing. Wakeboarding is the most popular discipline among these water sports. It started out as “skiboarding” in 1985 and would evolve into its modern-day form. Developments and production of wake boards and its gear like wake fins (and wake surf fins and boards for wake surfing) made wakeboarding more accessible and highly popular. 

Around this time, boating technology also began to specialize. Boat builders began creating dedicated crafts for specific water sport disciplines, according to their needs: different requirements in speed and power, wake heights and types, tow rope hitches (placement and heights), and more. Top builders from the modern-era include; Nautique, MasterCraft, Tige, and Malibu, to name a few of the most respected watersports boat builders.

Caitlyn Roberts, Okoboji, Okoboji, US | Unsplash.com

 

Taking the Tow Boat into the Modern Era

As more and more people began enjoying watersports, more and more innovations in boat design and technology would develop too. While many hobbyists would take their boats out to the lake for some weekend fun, those more serious about their needs and requirements want dedicated tow boats. “Crossover” boats that can be used for either water skiing or wakeboarding, or for lake or sea use. Today, Nautique, MasterCraft, and Tige, and their fellow builders continue that tradition of developing ever-evolving boating design and tech, to provide enthusiasts and professional athletes the crafts they need to propel them further and faster over the water’s surface. 

Maxi am Brunnen, Worthersee, Austria | Unsplash.com

 

Ready for a Day Out on the Water?

Just as the development of water sports came about because of different and separate inspired innovations, it wasn’t the efforts of simply one person that brought the humble tow boat into the modern era. Companies, teams of designers, and mavericks and inventors all made their contributions to create a line of watercraft that continues to power the waves, and the people who ride them---wooden planks, neutral-buoyant wakeboards, with a myriad of accessories like, harnesses, wake fins, and all. Enjoy the speed and water---enjoy the ride! 

Luke Bender, Lake Nacimiento, US | Unsplash.com

 

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