What to Look For In a Wake Boat

Today's modern wake boats are equipped with more bells and whistles than ever, here's what you need to know

Ballast Systems

In general, this is the key component every wakesurf boat should have. To make a wave that’s big enough to surf without having to pump the whole time, you need displacement. Ballast systems provide that, and the top-of-the-line boats have automated systems with subfloor tanks throughout the boat.

Centurion’s Ramfill
Centurion’s Fi25 (pictured) and Ri257 hold the most standard, subfloor ballast in the market.Garrett Cortese

Centurion's Ramfill
While most boats' ballast systems utilize pumps to fill and drain, Centurion's Ramfill setup features gates in the hull that, when opened can rapidly fill while the boat drives at a set speed. For larger boats, such as the Fi25 and the Ri257, this means adding more than 3,000 pounds of subfloor ballast in less than 90 seconds.

Bryant Calandra Surf
Taking cues from parent company correct craft, Bryant utilizes ballast and surf tabs to maximize the wave potential of the Calandra.Jordan Klein Film & Video

Bryant Calandra Surf
Bryant, a Correct Craft-owned luxury sterndrive brand, has added solid wakesurf capabilities to the Calandra bowrider by adding integrated, subfloor ballast bags that run nearly the length of the boat on both sides. Fill the side you want to surf, add some friends to the boat, and you'll have one of the better wakesurf waves in the forward-drive sector.

Wave Plates / Tabs

Another big feature of legitimate wakesurfing boats is plates or tabs that extend below the transom or off to the port and starboard sides. When engaged, these plates divert or displace more water, or both, thereby creating a much larger, more surfable wave on the opposite side.

Surf Gate—Malibu & Chaparral
Whether on a Malibu, Axis or Forward Drive, surf gate makes waves.Jordan Klein Film & Video

Surf Gate—Malibu & Chaparral
Surf Gate is the system from Malibu that started the wave-plate trend, and you can now find it on every Malibu and Axis wake boat—along with ­several Chaparral wakesurf boats that have licensed the technology. The added feature of Surf Gate and other similar systems is the ability for the wakesurfer to transfer from one side/wave to the opposite with just the push of the button. This adds a whole new dimension—and challenge—to the activity, not to mention it creates some of the best waves on the market.

Wake/Wave Specific Hull Designs

Supreme—Tapered-V Hull
The Tapered-V Hull recently won a 2019 WSIA Innovation Award for its design and effectiveness in creating powerful and symmetrical wakes and waves.Garrett Cortese

Supreme—Tapered-V Hull
Many inboard manufacturers have ­customized hulls to both displace more water and to do it cleanly and symmetrically, which optimizes the wakes for wakeboarding and wakesurfing. In its new flagship ZS212 and ZS232 boats, Supreme has done this with the Tapered-V Hull. By pinching the hull in at the transom, the ZS boats can displace more water with less ballast.

Power Folding Towers

Centurion—Roswell DropZone Auto Tower
The DropZone’s water-drop extruded construction complements centurion’s lines, while also adding strength.Garrett Cortese

Centurion—Roswell DropZone Auto Tower
The DropZone from Roswell, available on Centurion boats, takes the power tower to a new level. Thanks to innovative design tweaks, it is now lighter and stronger, and easily folds down with the push of a button. A bonus if you have beginner wakesurfers onboard: The DropZone also is equipped with tow-points on each side. Hook the rope up to the sides the riders are learning on and they're automatically in the pocket of the wave without having to deal with prop wash.

Regal LS4 Surf
The LS4’s tower can also be outfitted with a Sunbrella canopy to provide protection from the sun for much of the cockpit area.Jordan Klein Film & Video

Regal LS4 Surf
Power folding towers aren't necessary, but they are much more convenient. Regal's version stands out because it drops below the windshield, making it great for stowing the boat in smaller ­garages, or going under a very low bridge.

Customizable Seating

Malibu—25 LSV
The 25 LSV can be fitted with a swimstep that drops into the water for a unique lounging spot.Jordan Klein Film & Video

Malibu—25 LSV
The 25 LSV is Malibu's biggest boat, and it provides seating options galore for all 18 passengers it's capable of holding. The rear set—Malibu's Multi View Bench—can be configured eight different ways, including a rear-facing seat and as a table, complete with cupholders.

Four Winns—HD 220
The HD 220 hit high marks for upholstery thickness and comfort when we took it out for a test.Courtesy Four Winns

Four Winns—HD 220
Bowriders bring a different perspective and set of amenities to the wake-boat game—and with Four Winns' HD 220, lounging can be customized with removable cushions and taken to the swim platform with a large bench area.

Touchscreen Displays

Supra—Vision Control System
With vision control you can access every major function of your supra with just a single touch.Garrett Cortese

Supra—Vision Control System
Supra's newest helm setup is a sight to behold. Two large screens allow the driver to control all the boat's major functions while also monitoring speed, ballast, AutoWake, waves, navigation and more. For the passengers, a touchscreen that controls audio and lighting is now set next to the glovebox.

Yamaha—Connext
Touchscreens are here to stay. Make sure your boat’s system is both easy to read and navigate in all types of light.Courtesy Yamaha

Yamaha—Connext
Yamaha's 12-inch Connext touchscreen dash brings all the boat's controls to your fingertips in an intuitive, easy-to-use manner. For wakesurfing, you can control speed, how quickly the boat accelerates to that set speed, as well as the ballast system. The bright screen is easy to read and use, even on the brightest of days.

Power

Indmar ROUSHcharged—Supra
You know the name, so you know what you’re getting with a ROUSHcharged engine. Sean Silveira takes advantage of the power on this SL 550’s wave.Bryan Soderlind

Indmar ROUSHcharged—Supra
As wake boats get bigger and ­bigger—and have the ability to hold more ­people and more ballast—engines have to keep up and power all that weight through the water. Indmar's ROUSHcharged Raptor 575 is a 6.2L behemoth that can crank out 580 foot-pounds of torque. Trust us, that's going to allow you to fill all your ballast, pile your friends and family into the boat, and get on plane without any issues.

Volvo Penta Forward Drive
If you’re wakesurfing behind an I/O, a model equipped with forward drive is the only way to go.Courtesy Crownline Boats

Volvo Penta Forward Drive
If you're going to wakesurf with an inboard/outboard, the only way to go is with a model equipped with Volvo Penta's Forward Drive. All manufacturers are using it for inboard/outboard wakesurfing, as it reverses the prop and puts it farther underneath the boat, much like an inboard. This also improves handling characteristics, because the prop now pulls the boat instead of pushing it. Crownline's E-255 Surf can be equipped with a 430 HP V8—plenty of power for pushing a sizeable wave.