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Launching Kirby’s School of Wake Fort Myers has been a dream come true. Sydney and I are so grateful when we reflect back on this winter in Florida and see all the puzzle pieces that had to fit together just right to make it work.

As you know, by the grace of God, we purchased the wakeschool’s first boat in January. This was THE most important element of our expansion to Fort Myers not only because of obvious reasons, but because what we needed was very specific. It needed to be the right price, a salt-water edition, relatively low hours, and it needed to provide a wake suitable to high-end wakeboarding, beginner wakeboarding, and it needed to produce a viable wakesurf wave.

It’s a lot to ask to find all of that in one boat, but not impossible! I’m going to show you how we, with the help of WakeMakers products, were able to transform our older MasterCraft XStar to meet all of our needs and become the official Wake of Fort Myers boat.

Our second generation MasterCraft XStar has been known to produce a great wakeboarding wake. The wake holds its shape perfectly at slow speeds for beginners and the factory ballast tanks give the wake an added punch for more experienced riders. To allow advanced riders competing on the pro circuit to maintain a competitive edge on this boat though, we needed to go big or go home with the wake. Having a big wake at this level is essential for progression.

That is why the first adjustment to the boat that we made was to add the WakeMakers Piggy Back Ballast System and WakeMakers bags. This system allows me to simply flip the factory ballast switches to fill my factory ballast tanks. Once the factory tanks are full, the water is then redirected into our aftermarket ballast bags, which were placed in the rear compartments and under the front seats.

With the large amount of weight added in rear compartments, it was necessary to also install what WakeMakers calls, Panel Savers. These are parallel bars that mount onto the panel between the back storage area and the engine compartment on both sides. Panel Savers prevent these panels from bowing and getting damaged due to the pressure and weight of the added ballast bags in the compartments.

Before I installed this system, I was manually filling and draining all of the bags with single pumps over the sides of the boat. I was spending around 45-minutes to an hour extra before and after each session. The process was miserable…not only did it take a lot of time, but was really messy and crowded tripping over pumps and wires everywhere with water splashing every which way. After installing the WakeMakers Piggy Back Ballast System, I can now fill up 3,800 pounds of ballast in less than 10-minutes.

With the growing popularity of wakesurfing, while on lessons I also needed the ability to quickly switch from wakeboarding to wakesurfing. The WakeMakers Piggy Back System is a huge advantage and equips me to do just that. Which brings me to the next adjustment we made to the boat to make the transition from wakeboarding to wakesurfing even easier, installing the Ronix Eight.3 Wake Surf Shaper.

This triangle-shaped device simply Velcro’s to your boat. Velcro strips are installed on the rear and lower starboard and port sides of the boat. Installation was complete in under 20-minutes. Once you install, let the Velcro set for 24 hours before launching it into the water.

How does it work? Glad you asked. All you do is Velcro the wakesurf shaper to the opposite side of the boat that you would like to surf. Fill the ballast and once you’re up to speed, the water will be pushed over to the side of the boat that you are surfing on. Want to surf the other side? Easy! Simply pull the Wake Surf Shaper off and stick it to the other side of the boat. The Ronix Eight.3 Wake Surf Shaper allows us to easily transition surfing from one side to the other without moving ballast around in the boat. This was another essential adjustment allowing this boat to meet another one of our needs, producing a massive, fun wakesurfing wave.

Our final large adjustment we made to the boat was to purchase a high-performance prop from OJ Propellers to help get our boat up to speed seamlessly. We went with the Wake Pro V-3 15 X 13. The first set of numbers is the diameter and the second is the pitch. You can find these numbers stamped on the hub of your prop if you are wondering what you currently have.

Generally smaller diameter props correspond with smaller engines and boats, while larger diameter props correspond with larger boats. In our case, we need a larger diameter prop to push our really heavy little boat through the water. Pitch is the forward movement of a boat propeller through one complete revolution measured in inches. Lowering prop pitch will increase acceleration and pulling power. The only downfall to having a lower pitch prop is that you will loose some mph on your top speed. Luckily, in wakeboarding, the max speed we need to reach is 23mph, so a lower pitch is exactly what we needed for this boat.

The WakeMakers Piggy Back System, WakeMakers ballast bags, adding the panel savers, and installing the Ronix Eight.3 Wakesurf Shaper along with the high performance prop, completely transformed our older MasterCraft XStar into the ultimate wake machine. It now meets all of our needs and is an exceptional boat all around. WakeMakers products brought this boat to life!

If you are looking to make similar modifications to your boat, Wake Effects can help! Give them a call and let them help you figure out exactly what you need. They can even do the install for you. Thanks WakeMakers for helping our customers receive the ultimate watersports experience, every time!