How to Build Your Own Ski Pylon

How to Build Your Own Ski Pylon
A boat with a ski pylon plays a more important role in water skiing and wakeboarding than either water skis or a line and handle. Despite the availability of a wide variety of ski pylons on the market, a lot of boats come with truly unique circumstances. Sometimes the one-size-fits-all ski pylon simply won't work, which will force you to build your own pylon---not an easy task, since it requires welding skills. However, building your own pylon will certainly cost you less than getting a new boat.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tape measure
  • Broomstick or paint roller handle
  • Level
  • Carpenter's angling tool
  • 2-inch stainless-steel pipe
  • 1-inch stainless-steel pipe
  • Hacksaw
  • Power grinder
  • Welder's safety gear (mask, apron, gloves)
  • Gas welder
  • Filler bar
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Marine screws and washers
  • Anchors (fiberglass)
  • Marine epoxy (fiberglass)
Step 1
Inspect the aft section of your boat to determine the tallest obstruction, if any, along the centerline---in most cases, an outboard motor. Measure the distance from the point on the deck where you will mount the pylon to the top of the obstruction, and then add at least 8 inches to guarantee good clearance for the ski line. For example, if the distance from the deck to the top of the motor measured 36 inches, build a pylon at least 44 inches long.
Step 2
Put a pole, such as a broom handle or paint roller handle, in the place on the centerline where you plan to install your pylon to use as a model for making measurements. First, mark it with the measurement from Step 1 (in our example, 44 inches). Then mark another point 6 inches beneath it, where you'll install the support struts (38 inches). Check the pole with a level, establish a 45 degree angle from this point using a carpenter's angling tool and measure to the sidewalls of the boat---in our example, 30 inches.
Step 3
Cut 1- and 2-inch steel pipes to fit the measurements from Steps 1 and 2. Following the example, cut a 2-inch pipe to 44 inches long for the pylon, and a pair of 1-inch pipes to 30 inches long for the struts. Mark a 45-degree-angle line on both ends of the 1-inch pipes with the angling tool, and cut them accordingly with the hacksaw. Smooth the ends with a power grinder.
Step 4
Clamp a support strut into place 6 inches from the top of the pylon. Put on welder's safety gear, then weld the strut into place, using the welder and filler bar. Then clamp and weld the other strut onto the pylon on the opposite side.
Step 5
Clamp on and weld marine brackets to the bottoms of the support struts. Do the same for the bottom of the pylon, but only if in driving screws through the deck you will not also be puncturing the hull of the boat. Finally, clamp on and weld a ski line bracket to the top of the pylon.
Step 6
Set the pylon into position and mark all the screw holes. Set the pylon aside, drill holes into the sidewalls and possibly the deck, then put the pylon back into place. Drive in marine screws with washers. A fiberglass deck and sidewall may require installing hollow anchors for the screws. In that case, glue these into place using marine epoxy and allow 6 to 8 hours to dry before driving the screws.

Tips & Warnings

Always wear a welder's mask, gloves and apron when doing any welding.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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