Wake Winch

What is a wake winch?
A wake winch is a mechanical device used to tow a rider from point to another. Typically they are used by wakeboarders and wakeskaters who want to reach areas that are not accessible by boat or ski but are also used in other action sports such as snowboarding and are catching on in other sports arenas.

Since this is a photo Instructable I figured I’d better link to another Instructable on how to build one for those who want to get into winching. Please remember these devices are powerful and capable of high speeds and should be used with caution, safety first!


Ok now for the fun stuff!

FRAME: For my frame I wanted to get away from the standard of using steel and boxy shapes. Steel square tubing is cheap and easy to work but is also heavy and limiting from a design perspective. I went with round aluminum tubing. Aluminum is light, rust resistant (for those fun beach runs) and shines up nicely in the sun. I bent the tube on a borrowed hydraulic roller and came up with a design that looks like a boat tower on a ski boat, I feel it relates to the roots of wake sports.

SPOOL:Instead of using an old go kart wheel hub or spare parts I fashioned my spool out of aluminum and cut it on a CNC. The various holes give me different diameters for the line to go on, different diameters allow the rider flexibility in the tow.

LINE: High tensile strength and low specific gravity are the two most important factors when choosing line, this way its strong and floats. Spectra or Dyneema are two types that fit the bill. I ordered mine from over seas and saved a few bucks.

POWER: While I started out with the traditional 6.5 hp engine I went up to 9hp Robin Subaru engine for more RPM’s , power and longer engine life. Many builders make a transmission system out of a centrifugal clutch, sprockets, bearings and chain but I chose to go with a Torq a verter from Comet Industries (also called TAV2 or CVT). Again not the most cost effective choice but as far as performance goes it cant be beat. Make sure and get one that matches your engine bore size.

RIDE: The last photo is of my friend Jason charging a river gap using the winch while I am operating it off camera. We named our winch “THE CLUTCH” and You can see the first version of my winch in action here on youtube.

Hope you like what I came up with and I look forward to seeing others push the envelope. Get out there start building and catch some great action pics 



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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    We are winch rope manufacture from China,This is our Alibaba website:

    www.hyropes.com.cn,Buy rope can please contact at:

    Violet <Violet@hyropes.com>


    6 years ago on Introduction

    When you switch from a 6.5 to a 9 were you able to find use the same torq a verter or did you have to buy a new one to match the 9hp engine?

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hey. Had to post saying what a awesome winch!
    Deffo the best looking anywhere!
    Out of curiosity, having a bit of a problem with how much chain I'll need for my build. Don't by chance know how many links where in the one you used?
    Thanks dude.
    Be safe out there.

    Mr Gollahon

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome winch! Great design and thanks for linking to our instructable! Keep winchin.



    Oh geez! I dunno exactly how much this project cost because I went through three versions before this one and did not keep receipts around for my fiance to find;) ! I'd estimate around $900 in materials for the latest aluminum version. Like I said in the Instructable, a steel version with non custom parts would be much more affordable to build.

    I stick welded this frame but for novice welders I would suggest a spool gun set up for aluminum. Its a much softer metal than steel so work with care or you might burn through the work piece. I learned this the hard way and luckily I had a much more skilled welder supervising me. Thanks for looking:)