Wakeboats for WakesurfingBy Michael Vatalaro
Published: June/July 2013
Watersports boats have undergone yet another transformation to accommodate the latest big thing — wakesurfing.
Decades ago, competitive slalom water skiers wanted the flattest, smoothest wakes possible from their towboats. Companies like Correct Craft, Malibu Boats, and MasterCraft designed mid-engine, inboard-powered ski boats that ran flat, and threw up small wakes, to comply. But with the advent of wakeboarding in the mid-'90s, desires changed. Suddenly, a bigger wake was better, along with a high attachment point for the towrope, to provide extra lift during jumps, and the acrobatic flips and twists that accompanied them. The wakeboarding boat, marked by the high tower arching over the boat, was born. Now, just as before, it's still all about the wake, but bigger has become bigger still, as wakesurfing gains popularity.
The latest models can gulp down water ballast to increase the size of their wakes, up to two tons of water weight in some models, or can reshape their hulls with specialized tabs that deploy at the push of a button and throw a surf-able wake to one side or the other. Many of these wake-shaping devices are computer controlled, offering individual riders the chance to program their own profiles to suit their preferences. Or you can rely on pre-programmed profiles that fit your skill level, be it novice or master. Just for kicks, a built-in camera on the tower can record and play back your run for onboard instant replays. You can pretty much do it all behind these new boats. The hardest part might be choosing what to do first.
Epic focuses on ride and usability, with foam flooring on the decks that you can hose off at the end of the day, and huge ballast tanks that, coupled with the almost conical hull shape, throw big wakes. The hull is designed to create low pressure underneath itself while in motion, actually sucking the boat down into the water, to displace a bigger wake. The 21V can hold 3,600 pounds of water ballast, but its big brother, the 23V, holds the industry-leading 4,000 pounds mentioned above. There's nothing done small here, including the 15-speaker sound system — eight of which can be found in the transom of the 21V — so your passengers don't have to shout over tower-mounted speakers: "My, what big woofers you have!" www.epicboats.com
To Home Page
More power, control, and boat in less space. Motors shed weight while boosting power, plus smart builders pack more features into 20 feet.
Using the engine's tilt function to properly trim a planing-hull boat while underway increases stability, fuel efficiency, and safety.
Wakes can be a blast for skiers and wakeboarders. But bystanders on the receiving end of aggressive wakes are being put in real danger.