Starcraft continues to strive to lower the price of entry into the wakesurf market. The MDX 201 IO Surf is the manufacturer’s smallest offering to feature Volvo Penta’s Forward Drive. That power option, along with key surf components, make this a versatile craft not just for surfing but also for general family use.
Forward Drive positions twin counter-rotating props forward of, rather than behind, the outdrive unit, to keep the propeller tucked well under the hull. This has made runabouts and deck boats surfable. Trim can help build the wake size, but ballast carries much of the load. A trio of water bags add as much as 1,385 pounds to the boat settling it lower into the water. Surf-oriented trim tabs form and shape the wake to the surfer’s desired side. Zero Off speed control, located on the dash, dials in surf speed and proves smoother than a driver’s hand on the throttle. The resulting wave still benefits from additional passenger weight to truly build it to its potential, but dial things in and surf’s up at a very competitive price point.
Volvo Penta’s 240 hp engine pushed the hull onto plane in less than 4 seconds and to 30 mph in 7.8. Top speed averaged 42.2 mph. Handling was what we’ve come to expect from a Forward Drive, with nimble agility through the corners.
Starcraft breaks from the surfing norm by using the MDX deck boat as a platform rather than the typical runabout, a worthy choice given surfing’s “more the merrier” mantra. Up to 12 passengers can fit within the boat’s near-endless 21 linear feet of bench space that starts in front of the helm, wraps around the bow and continues down the port side before culminating at the transom. A removable backrest can be added to offer forward-facing support partway down the port side. The 5-foot-by-2-foot-8-inch aft sun pad can be enjoyed flat or turned into a chaise-like lounge with multiple backrest positions. A removable Igloo cooler awaits below the bench to keep drinks readily at hand. This boat works for other watersports too, from wakeboarding to waterskiing to tubing. And when you’re tired of all that, it’s great for taking a crew of family and friends for a long cruise around the lake.
- Folding wake tower offers elevated tow-rope attachment point.
- Bow and stern platforms both include four-step boarding ladders.
- Choice of storage, with ski-locker ballast bags that don’t compromise storage when not in use.
How We Tested
Engine: Volvo Penta V-6 240-FWD
Drive/Prop: Forward Drive/K1 propset
Gear Ratio: 2.32:1
Fuel Load: 22 gal.
Crew Weight: 330 lb.
Starcraft Marine – New Paris, Indiana; 574-831-2950; starcraftmarine.com