Cobalt has been outfitting its R Series of runabouts for water-sports duty in its WSS line, which stands for Water Sports Series. The new Volvo Penta Forward Drive has allowed Cobalt to carry that forward — literally — to create the R5WSS Surf, a sterndrive boat you can surf behind. How? It’s all about that Volvo Penta Forward Drive.
In building the Forward Drive, Volvo Penta borrowed from its IPS technology, which places the props forward rather than aft of the gear case. In this construction, the propellers actually pull the boat rather than push it through the water. By placing the propellers in front of the drive, Volvo moved the props 21 inches farther forward in the water so that they are safely tucked under the extended swim platform and away from the surfer. This is essential in wakesurfing because the rider surfs the wave tight to the boat, sometimes within inches of the swim platform.
The R5WSS Surf has other amenities to make it surfable as part of its exclusive wakesurf system. It includes custom-built tabs and Zero Off GPS speed control, which can set the speed to create the desired wake. The wakesurf computer lets the driver fill the ballast tanks to port, center and starboard to sculpt the wake with the push of a button. There’s even a performance-mode button; press it to get on plane and go, even with 2,000 pounds of ballast in the tanks. The sport arch features Samson swiveling board racks to hold the quiver and stereo speakers to blast the tunes. Everything can be controlled by the media center at the helm. The Surf package also adds custom graphics and interior accents.
The Forward Drive makes surfing possible, but it doesn’t compromise performance. When it’s time to get up and go, the R5WSS Surf is still a sporty runabout, climbing onto plane in 4.2 seconds, hitting 30 mph in 9.6 seconds, and reaching a top speed of 46 mph. Overall, Cobalt engineers have developed a safe, efficient and surfable ride.
*Zero Off GPS speed control lets the driver set the boat to optimal surf speeds, typically between 10 to 12 mph.
*Push-button ballast controls fill the port, centerline and starboard ballast tanks to set to the surfer’s liking.
*Volvo Penta Forward Drive provides a wakesurf platform with adjustable thrust to fine tune your wake.
How We Tested
Engine: Volvo Penta V8-300 sterndrive
Drive/Prop: Forward Drive/K4 stainless-steel propset
Gear Ratio: 2.14:1
Fuel Load: 8 gal.
Crew Weight: 380 lb.
$132,915 (with test power)
Cobalt Boats Neodesha, Kansas; 800-468-5764; cobaltboats.com