Yes, you can wakeboard or wakeskate or even tube behind a watercraft. Things like rider weight and what jet ski you use do affect it, but most jet ski’s will allow you to pull something.
Most states and countries require you to follow certain rules for pulling anything behind your watercraft. Since there are so many states and so many rules I recommend you google your state’s laws on PWC’s.
Many states require you to have mirrors and/or a spotter. Some states require you to have both.
Most, if not all, require you to have a life jacket on. You would be crazy to not have one on. When it comes to wakeboarding I like to have a Neoprene Life Jacket like this one on. Neoprene feels the best when you’re out on the water moving around.
If you plan on doing any pull sports then only use a 3-person watercraft. Never use a 2-person as they never have enough weight and it’s illegal most places.
Make sure to read your owners manual to see weight and towing rules.
What Size Jet Ski?
I’ve seen 90hp Sea-Doo Sparks pull a wakeskater and towable tubes with no issues before. In fact, here is a video I found on YouTube showing this.
A Sea-Doo Spark or Yamaha EX are a part of the REC-Lite category of watercraft. REC-Lite is not the best for pull sports but they will pull just fine.
Best Jet Ski for Pull Sports
The best Jet Ski’s for pulling tubes, wakeboarding, and wakeskating are found in the bigger watercraft. Sea-Doo actually has what they call the WAKE series and they’re the best for any pull sports.
These WAKE series have ski pylons for getting the rope up high for the person you’re pulling. Wakeboard holders to get the wakeboard out of the way. They even have features like “Ski-Mode” which allows you to set the takeoff power and the speed you want to cruise at.
The Sea-Doo WAKE’s come in 155hp and 230hp. The 155hp is more than enough for the average person. The 230 is better if you’re heavier or more professional wakeboarder who needs all-day performance.
Yamaha and Kawasaki both have machines that will just fine, but they lack a “wake” model.
Yamaha VX Limited
Yamaha does have something interesting if you only care about tubing. Yamaha’s VX Limited comes with a single person tube. A nice touch and at a great price too.
What HP to Pick
When it comes to power you want to stay around 130HP for pulling tubes. But the more HP you have the better. It does get to a point where having too much horsepower is just plain stupid. So I would say the perfect HP for pulling anything falls between 130HP to 250HP. Anything more and you’re just wasting money.
When it comes to pulling tubes don’t buy a tube that is rated for 3 or more people. You should only buy a single person or two person tubes. This is actually a law in most places.
The reason is that if you have a 3-person watercraft then you only have room for 3 people. It’s against the law to pull a 3 or more tube as you can’t fit over 3 people on a watercraft.
The reason for this is because if someone gets hurt you need enough room for them to get on and get back to safety. So with a 3 person jet ski, you have one person driving and you have a max of two people on the tube. If someone got hurt all 3 have enough room to ride back to safety.
Always have the engine off when people are boarding the watercraft or tube. This is to keep everyone safe and keep you from sucking up the tow rope.
Don't forget this
It's not a matter of if you're going to suck up a rope, its a matter of when you're going to suck it up. Trust me, it happens to everyone. If you do suck up rope then this is what you do here.
To keep from sucking up the tow rope you need a Shock Tube. This little thing can save you money and time. It's the best defense you have from sucking up tow rope.