As the sun’s beams grow more direct and intense each day, local waters are warming, and the 2017 boating season is getting underway. Among the itchiest to get out there are those who enjoy nothing more than fun behind the boat, whether that means riding a wake or strapping on a set of skis or a wakeboard. If you or your kids are among that dedicated group, we’ve cultured a list of four of our favorite wakesurfing/wakeboarding/waterskiing platforms for 2017 to further whet your appetite. The sun’s out — let’s hit those boards and skis.
Moomba Helix: Affordable Fun
A common problem that’s not not addressed by builders of any type of boat is cost of entry. It’s a plain fact that many folks simply can’t afford to buy a new boat, and that problem is particularly acute in the watersports boat market, where many boats start well over $100,000. That being said, some builders are trying to bridge the gap by introducing more affordable models to their lineup. The Moomba Helix is one such boat.
Starting at around $55,000, the 20’5″ Moomba Helix isn’t stripped down and devoid of features or performance. Need proof? Check out the engine bay, where you’ll find a 6.2-liter, 400-horsepower Indmar V8 inboard that’s got plenty of oomph for getting up on a plane and pulling folks around the lake. The standard touchscreen Digital Cruise Pro 3 system provides precise speed control while 1,700 pounds of customizable water ballast serves up the perfect crisp waves. What’s not included? Wake board racks. Add your own or take the option from Moomba; they’re $630 and fit quite nicely with the included wakeboard/watersports tower. Some folks will also want to upgrade the surf package, which adds more ballast and a more comprehensive control system for a few thousand clams.
Inside the gunwales is an exceptionally comfortable layout with lots of lounging space and stowage for boards and other gear. A playpen bow highlights the forward section, where with a drop-in filler cushion can be added to increase the comfort area. There’s stowage under the port and starboard lounges. Back in the main cockpit is a U-shaped settee that wraps around from the captain’s chair behind the helm all the way to the port console. Both sides have backrests to help keep lookouts comfortable. Even the center section lifts out and slides forward to create an aft-facing seat. The engine room cover creates an expansive sunpad at the stern.
No doubt about it, this is one slick-looking, high-performance rig from a builder that specializes in nothing but towboats. The best part? Moomba has put its starting price within reach of more people.
For more information, visit Moomba.
Supreme S238: Think Big
At 23’8″ length overall, the Supreme S238 is the largest in this well-regarded builder’s lineup. That means all sorts of big “stuff” aboard, including wave-crafting gear, luxury and comfort accoutrements, and of course, a healthy dose of exhilarating performance. Pack in a mess of up to 15 of your friends and head out for an afternoon of fun. There’s plenty of room for it.
A few different components work together to help you create the perfect ride for your wakeboarders and wakesurfers. Most important are the S238’s 1,100 pounds of movable water ballast, as well as its Stinger wake plate system. Touch controls in the Quick Surf system control these elements, making it easy even for beginners to sculpt and shape the wakes behind the boat. Pushing the S238 through the water is a Crusader EX3 inboard, good for 409 horsepower and about 34 knots of top-end speed. If you need to cruise across a long distance of lake or river, peel it back to 20 knots where you’ll only be burning about seven gallons per hour.
With all those feet and inches of overall length the S238 has all sorts of fun, relaxation, and comfort in mind for its owners. Like most boats in this class, the bow is set aside for relaxing activities and can be used with a couple of lounges, or as a large playpen area simply by dropping in a cushion insert. The spacious cockpit has a cushy, U-shaped lounge surrounding almost all of it, save for a swiveling captain’s chair behind the helm. Load up your favorite playlist and blast the tunes through the high-definition stereo system. Be careful not to wake up the neighbors.
Bigger is sometimes better, and the S238 takes advantage of that saying. With tons of room, lots of water ballast, and tons of clever wake-creating systems you’ll be carving the waves in no time.
For more information, visit Supreme.
Centurion Ri217: Surf’s Up
The first thing we noticed about the Centurion Ri217 was its surf-readiness. Inside its hull is 4,950 pounds of ballast—an astounding amount for a 21-footer. It’s connected to a Quick Surf Pro system which, at the flip of a switch, will control the height and length of a Stinger Wake plate and ballast. Tweak and adjust until you’ve got the perfect set behind you and then deploy your surfer into the water.
Inside is a luxurious interior that’s a step above many boats in this class. One particularly cool thing about the Ri217’s cockpit seating is that a portion—the bottom of the “U” in U-shaped seating, in this case—slides forward. Drop in a couple of back rests and you’ve got the perfect perch for watching folks shredding it up behind the boat. The rest of the seating in the cockpit is plenty comfy, too, with rich, buttery-feeling vinyl and two-tone accents that make it look great as well. The engine access hatches are covered in more of that slick-feeling vinyl, forming a large area for relaxing sun worship. The bow area is smaller than the playpens found on some other boats, but it’s got a cozy feel with a couple of comfortable forward-facing lounges, tons of drink holders, and customizable personal stereo controls.
Deep inside the Ri217 lies a Vortec 6.0L V-8 VVT (L96) inboard gasoline engine good for 385 horsepower and a top end of about 31 mph. Cruise at 21 mph for best fuel efficiency. Engine data is displayed and other boat functions are handled by a pair of beautiful touch-screen displays that dominate the Ri217’s dash. There’s massive stereo sound aboard, controlled by the touchscreens and also by individual controllers both fore and aft. A pair of huge cannon speakers mounted on the wake sports tower can blast your favorite tunes back to the rider.
Folks in the market for the ultimate towboat that’s packed with tons of wakesurfing features, a lot of luxurious interior touches, and a great look on the water, will want to give the Ri217 a closer look. Surf’s up, dudes and dudettes.
For more information, visit Centurion.
Super Air Nautique G25: Think Big
The biggest towboat in our roundup, the Super Air Nautique G25 also is the longest boat in Nautique’s own family of towboat models. The flagship of the line, the G25 is packed to the gunwales with high-tech wake surfing and wakeboarding features and also sports a luxurious interior and high-performance power plant. We’re not sure how you’re going to find 19 people to pack aboard, but that’s how many folks you can invite along on your next watersports excursion. Who knows, maybe you’re that popular. If not, maybe this boat will help.
The Nautique Surf System is behind the great waves you’ll create behind the G25, and consists of a few different components. First is the company’s Waveplate technology, which is a movable metal plate on the hull that works in conjunction with the G25’s water ballast to fine-tune the waves behind the boat. A unique aspect of this system is the Nautique Surf Select. It’s an app running on Pebble smart watches that connects to the Nautique Surf System via Bluetooth. This allows the rider to customize and create the perfect individualized wake—right from their wrist. A 550-horsepower PCM General Motors-based inboard provides spirited performance.
The Air Nautique G25 is downright luxurious inside, with plenty of seating and loads of individual accessories that allow guests to tailor their own experience aboard the boat. All deck surfaces are clad in comfortable, easy-to-walk-on foam decking that resembles teak. Even the gunwales get a small treatment of the stuff, and that’s nice for keeping things grippy underfoot. As you’d imagine with a capacity of 19 people, there are comfortable lounging options everywhere—in the convertible playpen bow, in a surround of lounges around the cockpit, and even in small seats at the transom. You get the idea.
Fast and furious, the G25 doesn’t come cheap—topping out near $130,000—but it’s one of the best-equipped and most capable towboats in our lineup.
For more information, visit Nautique.