Tow boaters are coming out in force as a long and dreary winter’s icy fingers slowly lose grip of the Illinois Waterway. The air is crisp, the water is flowing, the sun is beginning to shine, and any tow boater who’s really a tow boater wholeheartedly intends to make good of it all!
What many of us boarding and ski enthusiasts don’t know, is that, basking in the Starved Rock Country Sun, is a stretch of nearly 20 miles of smooth, ski-worthy waterways that should really be called the mecca of tow boating in the Midwest.
Situated between the Marseilles and Starved Rock Lock, the water is mostly still and undisturbed, which is great for powering up and crafting the perfect wake. As your board skims along the glassy surface, you charge up for the next thrill maneuver and aim to pull off the trick which you will boast about in the weeks to follow, the rush is real. We all dream of pulling off the perfect Heelside Mobe or Whirlybird, but the truth is, whether you’re a beginner, trying your first Toeside Edge, or are more advanced, there is no doubt, that this body of water will give you the thrill you are seeking. And let’s not forget that this stretch of the Illinois waterway warms up much earlier than the great lakes, so you can drop the wetsuit much earlier than you think.
A quick Wikipedia read-up reveals that the “Illinois Waterway system consists of 336 miles (541 km) of water. The Waterway was a project designed to provide a navigable channel from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River. The Starved Rock Lock and Dam was constructed between 1926 and 1933 as an element of the Illinois Waterway. The body of water up river from the Starved Rock Lock and Dam provides the perfect place to get great views of nature while you gear up for your next tow.
If you are a water sports and towboat enthusiast, then you will discover that Heritage Harbor’s state-of-the-art marina facilities and waterfront dining at the Red Dog Grill, is the perfect location to launch and end your boating day. Together with neat, well-maintained and cutting-edge marina facilities, you will realize that you are quite literally in the tow boating haven of the Midwest. Let us not forget to mention that should you want to make your trip into a boating vacation then the Harbor Inn has wonderfully appointed rental cottages for your next stay.
Boats.com gets the juices going as they profile some of the top tow boats for skiing, wakeboarding and value-for-money.
For straight-up water skiing, check out the specifications of the MasterCraft ProStar and Malibu TXi MO river-rage machines. If Wake surfing and Wakeboarding is your gig, then, according to Boats.com, you’ll do well to explore the capabilities of the Tigé RZX3 or the Malibu M235.