Coastal surfers are seemingly on a continuous quest to find the perfect wave. Wakesurfers, though, don’t have the same issue. All they need is the right boat and they can ride a clean, powerful wave until the boat’s fuel tank hits E. Here are six of the hottest boats around that surfers — and boarders — will want to get behind this season.
The Supreme S226 creates a fun wave that can be adapted to suit riders of all ages and skill levels. Besides that, with its pickle-fork bow and custom vinyl wrap, it’s a boat that will turn heads on the water.
The Supreme’s V-hull design and Stinger Wake Plate help create the wave. Thanks to the QuickFill ballast system, this Supreme is ready to be surfed in mere moments. QuickFill floods the ballast using gravity, and it takes the stress out of a chore that’s usually time-consuming. It produces 1,000 pounds of ballast in minutes. Toss in Supreme’s Plug and Play ballast bags, which add another 1,100 pounds of ballast, and you’re looking at a boat that has awesome displacement for generating waves. You can also opt for QuickSurf on the S226, which lets you craft and fine-tune impressive waves on either side of the boat. The Supreme S226 also features the Pro S4 Tower and Supreme Altitude Control System at the helm.
We surfed the S226 with three people on board, the QuickFill ballast and Plug and Play bags full, and the bow tank empty. The boat created a lengthy wave with good power and a good-size lip that made for fun carving.
The boat is well-suited for those on board too, with room enough for 14 people and all their gear. The swiveling helm seat with flip-up bolster puts the driver firmly in command. A Clarion stereo resides in the glove box with a MW3 remote on the dash to control the six-speaker system. Forty-ounce marine carpet offers posh comfort under bare feet.
Malibu Wakesetter 22VLX
Our in-house surfing consultant described the wave behind the Malibu Wakesetter 22VLX as “ridiculous.” By employing Integrated Surf Platform (ISP) technologies, the Wakesetter produced a super-tall wave with a clean face that extended far back behind the boat. This gives the surfer a lot of room to play and shred.
Malibu’s ISP consists of its hydraulic Power Wedge II, a hydrofoil that, when deployed, creates enough drag to simulate an extra 1,500 pounds of ballast. The internal ballast system can be rigged to add up to 3,800 pounds of ballast. Malibu’s Surf Gate, a pair of vertical surf tabs, helps sculpt that clean wave face. If the rider is wearing the Surf Band around his or her wrist, he or she can tweak the wave on command while surfing behind the boat.
What are some other important amenities? The stainless-steel G3.5 tower quickly raises and lowers, and it comes with swiveling board racks, Wet Sounds speakers and LED lighting. This is key for towing on a trailer, lowering for bridges and storing the boat in a garage. A standout feature new for 2017 that can’t go without mention is the side pull point on the tower, perfect for those learning to wakesurf. It allows the surfer to be pulled up and over to the correct side without getting caught up in the center wash.
During our testing, we recorded a top speed of 36.7 mph and noted its crisp handling during tow-sports maneuvers.
When Heyday introduced the original WT-1, it announced to the watersports world that you can generate a killer wave behind a boat that doesn’t cost six figures to buy. The WT-2 is the brand’s follow-up — it’s 3 feet longer than the WT-1, and the helm console now sits to starboard rather than in the center. You’ll note the helm is located farther forward in the boat than is typical; this is to enhance the driver’s vision while operating at the slow speeds required to build a surfable wave.
The Heyday still looks different. The truncated sponson bow resists swamping when picking up a downed rider and reduces overall boat length for easier trailering. The transom is molded at a 117-degree vertical angle to create a natural curl and push effect at wake speeds. Because of this, the WT-2 does not need additional wake- generating devices to produce an outstanding surf wake. The helm itself is bare bones. Heyday figures you own a smartphone or a tablet, which is also where you store your music. Bluetooth makes the connection to the engine and the Wet Sounds sound bar.
The interior is still meant to please a surfing crowd. Adjacent to the motor box are the new “hot tub” lounges, with curved bottoms designed to cradle a pair of observers as close to the wake action as possible. The WT-2 is equipped with a speed-control system, tow towers and an 1,800-pound ballast system. A 350 hp V-drive powertrain is tuned and propped to deliver a mountain of towing torque that popped us on plane in 1.5 seconds. It’s engineered to plow a huge hole in the water at low speeds — and the wake is thick and powerful — but the WT-2 is also a pleasure to drive at cruising speed, comfortable and predictable with razor-sharp reflexes.
Tigé designed the RZX3 to carve large, clean surf waves and also create pro-level wakeboard wakes during every session. The key component is the Tigé Clear touchscreen in the dash, software that allows you to customize the boat’s ballast, wave shaping, and rider profiles. Coming in dry at 6,000 pounds with a 65-gallon fuel tank and 3,000 pounds of underfloor ballast, the RZX3 morphs into a 5-ton wake monster with the press of a button.
From the helm, Clear controls Tigé’s TAPS 3 system, which consists of three hydraulic tabs underneath the transom. When engaged, the plates generate yaw, list and draw on the preferred side of the boat to create a sculpted wake. For our test, we pumped the Tigé RZX3 full with 3,000 pounds of ballast, invited a crew of six on board, and easily set the TAPS 3 system to our liking. For wakeboarding, our test rider quickly noticed how big the wake was at 23.7 mph and 75 feet. (We tested this boat at 75 feet back.) Then she noted how firm it was, sporting a long transition leading to a peaky lip. TAPS truly lives up to its promises. Because of its sheer weight, the RZX3 handled well too. It did not list when pulling hard on the tower, thus keeping the wakes consistent and clean. The same proved true while slowing down to surfing speeds for a session.
The Raptor by Indmar 440 engine propelled this boat to a respectable top speed of 37 mph, and it posted 2.6 mpg efficiency at cruising speed.
The RZX3 boasts a roomy cockpit, unique features, and an awesome wake and waves. We were mightily impressed by the intuitive control provided by the Tigé Clear touchscreen and other features, such as the electric Alpha E2 Tower with its swiveling board racks.
Centurion optimized the Ri237’s running surface to accommodate the highest level of watersports enthusiasts. The modified V-hull smooths the ride to maximize performance on choppy days. The Ramfill ballast fills in 45 seconds to create huge walls of water. Fine-tune the wake and waves with the Centurion Articulating Tracking System (CATS) and the Stinger Wake Plate. With the QuickSurf Pro, you can move the surf wave from one side to the other in just two seconds.
Interior accommodations include a three-position Slide Seat and a Side by Side (SxS) HD Touch Vision dash that puts the driver in control of all onboard systems at the helm. Seating upholstery is crafted from soft, resilient Comfort Strong vinyl from Spradling.
Our test team surfed the Ri237 with three people in the boat and the Ramfill and Plug and Play ballast systems full. The bow and center tanks were empty, the QuickSurf system was in the default mode, and the adjustable CATS was set to zero. The 5,100-pound ballast is an industry-leading number. The wave it generated was powerful and had a ton of push, allowing for a really fun, clean ride.
The Axis A24 produced one of the best wakesurfing waves our test team has ridden to date.
The pocket was incredibly long, and the face of the wave had a ton of steepness and power to it. From the start, we could easily configure and tweak the wake to our liking. For crews of varying ability and style, the Axis A24 is an excellent watersports boat.
While the A24 is slightly larger than the other boats here, we included it because it comes in at a lower price point than most other boats listed. That’s the mission of Axis Wake Research, a spinoff of Malibu boats — to provide buyers with a killer wake at a more affordable bottom line.
The A24 sports a wake-shaping hull and shares surfing features found on Malibu boats, such as the Surf Gate. With Surf Gate, the A24 creates a huge, consistent wave that has a ton of push and power, and it’s equally impressive on either side without having to move weight around. And now for 2017 the Surf Band is also an option. With the push of a button, the surfer in the water can change the speed and transfer sides, and adjust the volume of the stereo as well. For wakeboarding, the Autoset Wedge, a hydrofoil, helps shape sizable wakes without any input from the man at the helm.
While not as tricked out as some of its pricier competitors, the A24 has a large, open-bow seating array filled into the pickle-fork design. Combined with the wraparound bench layout in the cockpit, the boat holds up to 17 people. With the ballast tanks drained, we climbed onto plane in just under three seconds en route to a top speed exceeding 37 mph, on par with most inboard surf and tow boats of this style.