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AWSA Approves Four Towboats To Pull Sanctioned Events In 2021

By Scott N. Atkinson | Nov. 13, 2020, 3:05 p.m. (ET)

Towboat Evaluations DroneFour competition towboats from three manufacturers have been approved to pull athletes in sanctioned tournaments for the American Water Ski Association, National Collegiate Water Ski Association and USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports in 2021. The American Water Ski Association, National Collegiate Water Ski Association and USA Adaptive Water Ski & Wake Sports are three of nine sport discipline organizations of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports, the national governing body of organized water skiing in the United States. 

Towboats approved for competitions in 2021 are: Malibu Response TXi, MasterCraft ProStar, Ski Nautique, and Nautique 200. Technical information and additional information (PDF).

Members of AWSA's Towboat Committee, technical experts, drivers and top water ski athletes conducted this year's evaluations for AWSA, which were held Oct. 25 at Action Water Sports' Lake Grew in Polk City, Fla.

In 1983 AWSA established its first set of comprehensive technical evaluations of inboard and outboard water ski towboats. These procedures have been updated every year since then to take advantage of the most up-to-date technology available. 

While successful completion of the towboat evaluations allows a manufacturer to pull tournaments, there also are several other advantages. Private-lake communities continue to be built all over the country. Most developments require any boat used on the lake to be on the AWSA-Approved towboat list. Many city and community-owned lakes also only allow AWSA-Approved towboats on their waterways. Public and private lake communities have the peace of mind knowing these boats have been put through the most rigorous testing in the industry. Approved towboats also carry more value to marine dealers in terms of marketability.    

Once a model successfully completes the evaluations, the manufacturer is encouraged to pull skiers at AWSA-sanctioned tournaments. By pulling a predetermined number of sanctioned tournaments at various levels of competition, a manufacturer’s towboat model becomes eligible to participate in AWSA’s regional and national championships. Although the Towboat Committee compiles reams of test data for each towboat, it is important to note that this information is confidential and only released to the manufacturer. Currently, the purpose of the evaluations is to determine if a towboat has suitable characteristics for water ski competitions.

Before a boat even hits the water, the test team runs through a detailed check-in procedure. All aspects of a boat are measured, including the overall length, width, fin placement and depth, prop pitch, and shaft angle. Engine and transmission serial numbers are recorded along with technical data from the power package. The boat’s hull characteristics are noted, and pictures of the stern, side, cockpit and interior are taken.

To be used in competition, three-event towboats must meet certain performance standards that are designed to give skiers and drivers optimum conditions during tournament competition. These standards are established by AWSA’s Towboat Committee to achieve tournament-capability status. Each boat must pass a series of 11 tests and sub-tests: power and acceleration, handling and maneuverability, engineering, drivability, sound level, slalom course center-line deviation, slalom spray, jump course center-line deviation, and slalom, tricks and jump wake evaluations. 

Scott N. Atkinson

Scott N. Atkinson is the Senior Director of Communications & External Relations for USA Water Ski & Wake Sports and Editor of The Water Skier magazine.