At the dock, the Supra SE 550 doesn’t need any signs to tell you the making of an epic surf wake is hidden under the multicolored, highly glossed gelcoat. There need be no carnival hawker saying step this way for the boat of your dreams. No bullhorn or any other retail tricks will be needed to coax watersports enthusiasts and day-cruising fanatics alike to slip behind the helm of this machine.
It is clear there is ample horsepower beneath the engine hatch. Its Indmar Raptor 6.2-liter 440 hp beast rumbles quietly, awaiting you to shove off, loop a rope over the tow point, and surf its unparalleled wake from left to right, sliding forward to the platform or far back where there’s still a crisp lip to propel you and your board forward with decisive control and exciting maneuvers to the sound of a throaty exhaust note.
Wakeboarding magazine’s Brandon Lee took a ride behind the Supra and said this: “The massive wake was no surprise; after all, this is the boat that pulled the Pro Tour. Immediately noticeable was the sheer volume of wake this boat produced. High-volume wakes like this provide a lot of resistance to push into the wake, translating into higher, floatier tricks coming from a good pop off the wake. The wake is full-bodied with a great shape, leaning toward the rampy side with a long transition and large landing area.” Lee also noted the Supra’s versatiliy for entry-level riders, once the ballast is out and the Smart Plate adjusted.
To control that ride, Supra has developed the Vision Dash, a glass cockpit design, as its called in large cruising boats, and it gives total touchscreen control to three rigid ballast tanks along with three ballast water bags and the surf plate. Together, these elements work to tune the ride Lee experienced. The Vision Dash also serves as the control point for all 16 rider profiles with preset speeds and acceleration curves.
Malibu is another brand pioneering touchscreen control, and in its 25 LSV it put wake and rider-profile control on a digital touchscreen, adjusting ballast and the wave-shaping Surf Gate.
When you’re just cruising, the Vision Dash’s fully functional GPS gives your up-to-the-moment position on highly detailed charts of your home waters, easing navigation with power steering the easy glide of the throttle lever. Even your tunes are controlled on the touchscreen dash.
All these functions were easily accomplished and, to our surprise, they were so logically programmed, we picked up on the nuances of the user interface easily and quickly. We even discovered the driver’s seat is power adjustable, and that is even controlled in the glass cockpit Vision Dash.
As for style, there is plenty in the SE. At a glance, it strikes you as a rugged Hummer-like look, but as you settle into the wraparound seating throughout the cockpit, it’s more Range Rover supple. There is surfboard mat flooring — rugged, good-looking, skid-resistant and comfortable for bare feet. There is an opulent amount of billet aluminum and stainless-steel trim, much of it as functional as it is good-looking, like the grab handles set in billeted blocks. The SE 550 is set for big crowds and that requires organized refreshment, so Supra tucks 10 stainless-steel cup holders into the coamings on each side to make sure the libations flow, but not onto the deck. Even the transom platform held a pair of cup holders, which was another touch that earned our approval. Instead of stowaway cushions to expose a nonskid walkway from the transom to the cockpit, Supra styled in some more surf matting to create safe steps — rugged, good-looking and still comfortable for seating as the conversation flowed at an anchor point. Billeted trim at the passenger console compartment and surrounding the Vision Dash could complete the package, but we glanced aft and noticed polished stainless-steel hardware hidden in the center transom seat. We got a grip on it and pulled it forward. It swung upward and over on these polished hinges and sat firmly down on the deck, forming an aft-facing observer seat not on the platform, but safely inside the cockpit.
Our test boat had an easy-to-lift, easy-to-lower wakeboard tower, making the transition from storage to riding as effortless as unlocking a front door. Tunes on board were enhanced by the speakers overhead, and we weren’t surprised to see the billet theme picked up in the board racks that easily swing in and out for access.
It is no surprise this Supra SE 550 is so dialed in. Its reputation as a competitive tow vessel plus decades of boatbuilding experience keep it centered on its target market — serious riders.
* Rugged, proven construction techniques give it a solid ride for day cruising.
* Lift-and-lower-assist mechanism on the tower makes stowage a snap.
* Massive stowage for boards and tubes makes the SE 550 a navigable playground.
* Fixed drive and rudder limits reverse maneuverability but enhance steering predictability.
* Locking spin-off cover on a storage cubby at the helm might not be pretty, but it’s probably more secure than a glove box, and it’s watertight.
Price: $161,470 (as tested with power)
Available Power: Inboard
How We Tested
Engine: Indmar Raptor 440 hp
Drive/Prop: V-drive Acme 15″ x 14.25″
Gear Ratio: 1.46:1 Fuel Load: 40 gal.
Water on Board: 0 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Supra Boats – Maryville, Tennessee; 865-983-9924; supraboats.com