For decades, competitive water skiers have used 50-pound weights as ballast, placing them in various spots in the boat. This levels the boat to create a perfectly balanced wake, even matched on both sides.
Today, wakeboard riders have transformed the concept by adding bladder-style ballast to various sections of the boat to put the hull deeper into the water. More weight means a bigger wake, and more wake means more air time for the rider.
Ballast bladders come in a variety of shapes and sizes that hold from 500 to 1,500 pounds of water weight. They’re available in cylindrical, rectangular and various other shapes to fit well in the aft portion of any boat’s cockpit, in the bow or in storage sections under the floor.
Companies like Liquid Force and Fly High also design water bladders to fit the V-shape area in the bow. They even make bladders for the aft cockpit that double as a lounge seat for several passengers, giving the rider a bigger wake and the passengers a better view of the rider.
Wakesurfers are really using the bladder ballast. The goal is to place additional ballast near the gunwale of a preferred side of the wake to create a mega-style surf wake on one side. The bigger the wake and the more defined it is, the better the wakesurfing experience. Typically, the bigger cylindrical-style bladders work well here in creating a surf-style wake.