Before learning any wake sports tricks, the first skill set needed to enjoy your Heyday to its maximum potential is to learn how to drive safely for all wake sports disciplines.
One of the best free online sources to learn safe towing skills is provided by the Water Sports Industry Association’s Towed Water Sports Handbook. This 24-page pamphlet doesn’t include everything you need to know but it has some great tow boat safety tips. The driver should be responsible for rider safety and make sure everyone wears a properly fitting life jacket and that tow ropes are adequate and tied correctly. An observer is a must and the driver should have a rear-view mirror.
The only verbal communications should occur just before launch. When the rider seems to be properly situated, the driver should ask in a loud voice, “ARE YOU READY?” If they are not ready, the answer should be “WAIT!” Avoid using the words “no” and “go” because they can be easily confused. When a rider is ready, they should answer, “IN GEAR!” then, “HIT IT!”
After the rider is up and moving, revert to hand signals. Thumbs up from the rider means go faster. Thumbs down means to slow down. The OK sign means you have the right speed. When a rider is ready to quit, they should mimic slashing their throat or patting the top of their head. After crashing, if the rider is OK they should signal by grabbing their wrist over their head.
As a rule of thumb, always refer to your Heyday owner’s manual for guidance on where and how to affix tow lines.
If you have kids on board, chances are you will be towing tubes and the beauty of towing tubes with a Heyday is thanks to its natural wave-building design, the driver doesn’t need to go fast to offer a thrilling ride. To maximize action, drive in an S-pattern to cause the tube to cross over the wake. Small kids should not be towed faster than 15 mph while older riders should be towed no faster than 20 mph. If a rider wants to catch air, they should ride alone to avoid crashing into another rider.
If your Heyday is equipped with either Zero Off or Mercury SmartTow cruise control it should be used. Set the terminal speed for around 20+ mph for adults and slower for youngsters. Smoothly advance the throttle all the way and keep your hand on the throttle in case you quickly need to chop the power. The left hand should be on the wheel at the 10 o’clock position.
To drive in a perfectly straight line, the driver should aim the boat toward a point on land far away. For safe wakeboarding, the driver should have 360-degree awareness and steer far away from any potential obstructions such as docks. Avoid making repetitive passes in the same area, which can annoy homeowners. Approach a downed rider on the driver's side and cut off the engine when they are being picked up.
For surfing, the launch is slower and the best speed is around 10 mph. Drivers should stick to the middle of a body of water to give the wave time to dissipate before reaching the shoreline, plus a wave is bigger and more well-defined in water that’s at least 20 feet deep. When a surfer goes down, chop the throttle to idle and turn to the right to let the wave pass before idling to the surfer and shutting down for pickup.