V-drive engines are installed aft, and backwards, turning the shaft through V-shaped gears and weighting the stern for bigger wakes.
In the early 1990s ski-boat builders turned to another power option, the V-drive, with its engine mounted at the stern. Why? The V-drive opens up the cockpit for increased space, passenger movement, seating and stowage. More significant, wakeboarders understood that weight added to the stern creates a bigger wake than a direct drive could possibly make, turning the V-drive into the quintessential wakeboard boat.
Boats like the 21½-foot Malibu Wakesetter VLX target wakeboarders: They produce a big wake while still maintaining maneuverability, especially in turns. An open cockpit allows more passengers to watch the action behind the boat. Also check out the new Moomba Mojo.
The Super Air Nautique 210 provides a perfect platform for wakeboarding — and for wakeskating — with ballast in the bow and the stern. Nautique uses its Hydro-Gate, a solid plate that slides up or down the transom to alter wake shape. This allows wakeskaters to find the wake size and shape that they desire.
Surfing the boat’s wake first happened in the late 1950s at Cypress Gardens. But wakesurfing transformed into a competitive sport only in the past decade. Boat design has changed because of it. Because riders want big wakes, tow-boat manufacturers now design longer 22-, 23- and even 24-foot models. With more total weight, these tow boats ride deeper in the water and create big wakes. For example, the 24-foot Supra Launch 242 weighs 4,450 pounds without ballast.
The 23-foot-long Centurion Enzo SV 230 features more deadrise than most models in this segment, making a big wake even without filling the ballast.
Also check out the 24-foot Malibu LSV. In addition to the considerable weight of the boat and ballast, Malibu boosts wake size through its optional Wedge. The Wedge is a hydrofoil that drops below the hull to pull it deeper in the water, increasing and shaping the wake.