Introduction: Build a Wakeboard Winch Under $900 From

About: I'm a 4th year physics/engineering teacher living in China Spring, TX. I like to make learning fun and interesting along with my other hobbies as a DIY enthusaist and being a great husband/father. In my spare …
Beach Winches are dangerous. Beach will not be held responsible for any injury or damages to the driver or rider caused by misuse, abuse, negligence, improper assembly, alterations, modifications or alike. The do it yourself wakeboard builders assumes that risk. Operating motorized winches can be dangerous and result in serious injury or death if safety and good judgment are not practiced. Do not operate any vehicle without an approved helmet and other appropriate safety gear. Beach Winches is not liable for any injuries, death or property damage caused by the operation of any motorized winch made from our website or any of our supported websites.

What is Beach Winching?
Beach winching or wakeboard winching is a new sport that takes wakeboarding or wakeskateing anywhere. These winches have been taking over beaches and all over the US. This sport is a very addicting one so once you ride one you will want one, and everyone on the beach watching you will want to ride one. This is one of our DIY Plans that we have on our website. Check out

Enjoy the instructable!

Step 1: Parts List

Here is the list of all the parts you will need to complete this build. 

For a downloadable PDF file of this parts list click here.

Part Description:

  • Winch Frame
  • Winch Spool (Premade is suggested but can be made homemade)
  • 3X 1” Winch Hubs (Also called Go Kart Hubs if you search the web)
  • 1” Solid Winch Axle (Check our Beach Winches Store for custom cut axles)
  • Note: The length should be about the same as the overall width of your winch.
  • Backsplash (Can be metal or plastic but it is used to save your engine from getting wet)
  • 2X 1” Pillow Blocks (We sell these in our Store)
  • 6.5 HP or higher engine (Good engine selection at Harbor Freight and we sell our own in our store too)
  • Roller Fairlead (Check eBay for the cheapest price)
  • Non-stretchable winch line (Dyneema is the top of the line choice which is in our store but for cheaper alternative just make sure the line is non-stretchable and it should work fine. Check marine stores)
  • Centrifugal Clutch or Torque Converter (This is required for your winch to work properly and you have the choice for the cheap centrifugal clutch or the powerhouse torque converter)
  • 50-72 Tooth Sprocket for Axle ( Note: more teeth = more torque, less teeth = more speed.)
  • Wakeboard Handle (To attach to the non-stretchable line)
  • 5 ft Roller Chain (Make sure that you match the sprocket chain type for both the axle sprocket and your engine clutch sprocket. Choose either #35 or #40/41.)
  • Bolts, Nuts, and Threadlocker (You will need a couple of different sizes for bolts but make sure they are galvanized or stainless steel and threadlock EVERY BOLT.)

Optional Parts List:
  •  Wheels
  •  Truck Hitch Pins
  •  Thumb Throttle Kit
  •  Disk Brake Kit
This list should help you get you really started on building your own wakeboard winch. Be creative and have fun
building and enjoying your creation. Check out or Beach Winches Store for the hardest to find and make parts 

Step 2: Designing the Frame

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First we start out by designing our winch frame. We used CAD drawing as a reference to what our end product will look like.

Check out our picture for a breakdown of our CAD drawing of our Winch frame:

1. Short legs in the back help the winch dig in and not move.
2. This will be where our engine will go.
3. The middle section of this winch will be a little bit longer so it can attach to our hitch.
4. These arms will hold our spool.
5. These arms will hold our roller fairlead.
6. We will add low pressure tires to make our winch portable.

Check out the second picture for measurement breakdown of our frame.

Step 3: Start the Frame Build (First Cuts)

We will start with cutting out the frame. Here is all the pieces we cut out for the frame we will use 2" square tubing 14 Gauge.

Measurements in inches:
1. 18"
2. 24"
3. Two 7"
4. Two 9"
5. Two 18"
6. 9"
7. 7"
8. Two 16"

Step 4: Frame (Miter Joints)

We will make miter joints to help make our winch look better. We will mark 45 degree angles on the end of the cuts and then weld them together later. 
On our winch plans you will need to make 8 miter cuts. Check the second picture to see where the 45 degree cuts need to line up to make 90 degree angles. The spool supports will need to be cut twice. 

Step 5: Frame (First Welds)

Now we can start the welding of the frame.

We start off welding the back of the winch and the two 16" engine mount bars. We seperate them one inch apart. Here are our calculations on this piece:
Back support metal- 18"
Half of that is 9"
And we want 1" in between the engine supports so we add and subtract .5" from 9" and mark it.

Measure twice weld once. Just make sure everthing is level and have good 90 degree angles then weld it up. Use your angle magnets to your advantage. You should have about 6.5" on both sides of your engine support when you are done. Once you are done with welding the 18" back support to the 16" engine supports then move on to the 24" middle support which should already have a 45 degree cut out on the left of the picture (below) end facing out like shown (sorry for the shadow). Before you weld you will have to measure the left of the picture (below) side out to the same as your back support. We had 6.5" on the side of our back plate and we measured out 6.5" for the middle support to the engine support. We double checked all our angles and made sure everything was level then we welded the 24" middle support to the engine support.

Step 6: Frame (Welds Continued)

Next we are on to the 9" side piece. We had to cut two 45 degree angles so the first is to join up with our middle support and the other 45 degree angle at the end will hold up our spool support. We used our angle magnets to insure our angles are perfect 90 degrees. Also measure the tip of the middle support to the tip of the side support and it should be exactly 9". after measuring weld. 

Step 7: Frame (Spool Supports)

Now we are going to move on to the upright spool supports. We want the edge of our spool to be at the top of our support. We have a 15" spool so we measure 7.5" down from the top and that is where we plan on our axle to be. Now our pillow blocks that we have have a 4" mounting holes. So we drill a hole in our support at 5.5" and 9.5" to mount our pillow blocks. Do this for both upright supports and make sure that they are even.

After you drill the holes, then take your second side support piece and line up the 90 degree angle with your upright spool support. Use your angle magnets to insure the correct angle. We will lay this on a flat table then spot weld the two pieces together.

Step 8: Frame (Spool Support Welds)

After you spot weld then grab your other 7" side support and line up the angles and spot weld it too. Now you have a template of what your other side should be. 

Repeat the steps above on the other side and use the template side piece to line up the pillow block holes and the overall height of the other upright spool support. Just spot weld to make sure everything is level and the angles are correct. After that we weld our template side support to our winch frame. In the picture below you will see a piece of wood going across the two side supports. You can do this to make sure that both sides are level. For exact welding measurements please refer back to the CAD drawings.

Once everything is level you may weld the supports together. After welding your winch should look a little like the 3rd picture. 

Step 9: First Test for Frame

Now we are going to put our pillow blocks and spool to make sure that it is lined up and level. After you put on the spool spin it a few times to see if it spins freely.

This is the breakdown of our spool axle. 
  • Pillow Block
  • Spool
  • Sprocket
  • Pillow Block
All of this needs to already be on your axle and can stay on your axle until we install it onto the final product.
*Please note that to install the spool and the sprocket will require 1" go kart hubs, 2 for the spool and 1 for the sprocket. 

After testing take off the axle and pillow blocks and next we will work on the roller fairlead support. We are almost done with the frame.

Step 10: Frame (Roller Fairlead)

Now we are going to finish the frame up by starting with the roller fairlead supports. 

We start by drilling two holes for our roller fairlead.
You should have to pieces both cut to 7".

To make our winch look nicer we went ahead and 45 degree cut off the ends of the supports

Once that is done we have our bolts that will hold our roller fairlead in place and we tack welded both bolts inside the drilled holes. 

Now we line up the two roller fairlead supports on the winch and tack weld. We used two clamps and a 2"X4" to make sure our supports are straight and level.

Step 11: Frame (Roller Fairlead Cont.)

After welding the supports we grind down the backend of our bolts holding the roller fairlead so that it is flush to our 45 degree cut.

Step 12: Frame (Finishing Touches)

Now the frame is almost finished. 
We still need to:
  • Add two axles for our front wheels.
  • Cover all open ends of metal
  • Grind all our welds down
  • Paint

Step 13: Frame (Finishing Touches Cont.)

After you finish welding your whole frame together you will need to grind down every weld.

And once you are done your frame should look like the pictures.

Step 14: Frame (Paint)

Now for the fun part. Painting.
We went to Lowes and got two cans of Rustoleum red automobile enamel. We really liked the color and it should protect our frame from rust.
We sprayed three even layers and we let it dry overnight.  

Step 15: Putting It All Together Now

Now we can make our winch come to life. We can now install our engine, spool, winch line, roller fair lead, and roller chain. 

Sorry I do not have any pictures of putting each part on. If you need any help just ask in the comments.
For every bolt and nut we put on our winch we used threadlocker to secure them for the vibration from the winch. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

For the engine mounting as you can see is backwards. That is because our motor spins counter-clockwise. If we put the engine in the other direction then it would cause our roller fairlead and winch line to have a lot of stress and the risk of breaking. So we flip our engine and we had to make a custom exhaust for our engine so it does not melt our acrylic splash guard. The way we made the custom exhaust is in the next step. 

After you install your engine and spool. You need to work on finding where the sprockets are going to line up. This is critical because if one of your sprockets either the spool sprocket or the engine sprocket is not in line then your roller chain is going to come off in the middle of your winching session, not fun. As a tip, keep everything on the spool axle not bolted down so you can tweak where everything needs to line up. Once everything is lined up you may bolt your spool and sprocket to your axle. Check our 3rd and 4th picture for reference.  

Once those are on your winch you now and start rolling winch line around your spool. Simply tie a knot at one end around the spool axle in the middle of the spool. Then to save time you can test your winch at the same time. Start you engine and have a buddy hold the throttle steady while another helps wind the winch line around the spool. *Wear gloves so you do not get rope burn. Do not go fast just look at how the engine is running and how the spool is spinning. Everything should run smoothly. If not then you must find a way adjust your spool axle or engine so you can fix the problem. 

After the winch line is all on then you may attach your roller fairlead to the front of your winch. The bolts should already line up to your fairlead and all you should have to do is tighten the nuts.

Once the fairlead is in place then run the loose end of your winch line through the fairlead and tie on your wakeboard handle. 

Finally you will need to install the splash guard. We used 4 "L" brackets from Lowes and just screwed them into our frame. Two on the top and two on the bottom in front of the engine. Picture 1 shows the location of the "L" brackets. We just bought a 10X Acrylic from Lowes because it was strong and pretty cheap. Do not use regular Acrylic it will break from the bend use a stronger acrylic or lexan. Measure out the width you want your splash guard to be and cut it out. Depending on the width you may have to cut a slot out for the roller chain to pass without touching the guard. Start by drilling two small holes and bolting your splash guard on the top of the winch. Then with your bottom "L" brackets in place go ahead and carefully bend the guard so that it touches the bottom brackets. Then bolt the bottom and you are done! 

Step 16: Custom Exhaust

Here is our own custom exhaust for our 6.5 HP Honda Clone Engine. You might need to do this if your backsplash is made out of plastic, which ours is. So what we are going to do is to make our own exhaust that will leave out of the back of our winch. All you need is three items which:
  • 1" 90 degree conduit tube from Lowes
  • New Muffler from Lowes. ( it is a Briggs & Stratton replacement)
  • Stock Muffler

First all you need to attach your new muffler on to the end of your 1" tube.

From the stock muffler we need the bottom part so we weld our own.

Now for the finished product Picture 5. Just weld the small flange to the 1" tube and make sure there is no holes in the bottom of the tube.
We wanted the exhaust to leave out of the back of the winch but you can cut the tube to make a smaller exhaust if needed.

Step 17: Final Specs + Cost

Here is the final specs for this winch build.
  • Weight: Around 50 lbs
  • Deep Water Starts: Yes
  • Engine: 6.5 HP
  • Sprocket Ratio: 1:6
  • Speed: 20-25 mph
Cost of the Build
  • Engine: $89.00 (On sale)
  • Frame: $42.00 (14 gauge steel)
  • Torque Converter $179
  • Spool ($95)
  • 2X Pillow Blocks ($20)
  • Roller Fairlead ($15)
  • Roller Chain ($15)
  • Sprocket ($20)
  • 3 X Go Kart Hubs ($42)
  • Nuts & Bolts ($12)
  • Line ($150)
  • Handle ($15)
  • Paint ($10)
  • Axle ($14)
  • Total: $718*
  • *not including shipping or tax.
  • Grand total around $800.
Enjoy your creation! If you need any building questions or anything just hit me up on
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Winching with our newly build winch.

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