On the weekend of October 12th 2018, as is our tradition at wake9 for the last 10 years, we assembled 7 of the best of the best surf boats in the world in one place at Lake Oroville, Ca. There were moments of glass, and moments of heavy winds and swells but every participant was a die hard wake surfer and ready for anything. Any chance to get a ride behind all of these amazing boats in eight 2 hour sessions.
There were over 60 amazing wake surf boards and we provided lunch both days and everyone had an amazing time. Wake9 prepared ahead of time to capture great footage of all of the boats and people surfing. We had more than 3 full time camera operators and I flew my new Mavic Pro 2 drone. We set a personal record for our 10th polar bear event by bringing home over 300 GB of video, the majority of it shot in 4k.
Normally we would sort and log all of this video and create a fun video recap of the event right after the first of the year. However, just 3 weeks after the event tragedy struck the area with the largest wildfire in CA history known as the Camp Fire. In the evacuation some of the video was lost and damaged, but after some work it was all retrieved, nothing was lost. Now we get to share with you the mostly 4K video of this amazing weekend.
I am going to do something a bit different this year. Normally present the boats in alphabetical order, but this year I am going to present them in order of how much water each boat was displacing that day, from the least to the most. I am doing this to emphasize just how important displacement makes to a great wave and to give a better basis for comparison. Displacement is mostly responsible for the size and power of the wave. These boats all have varying degrees of tech to make clean waves on both sides but it is important when you compare these boats that you take into account the amount of water they were displacing when you watch the videos, as well as other factors that are important to you like the quality of the interiors and the price. Along with the dry weight and ballast on this weekend, we are assuming a gear and people weight of about 1600 lbs for each boat.
I am also going to try to give you 1 or 2 really great points about each boat, and at least one point of each that I think can be improved, based on my experience filming them, and speaking and reviewing data from many riders.
2019 Heyday WT-Surf
The first boat on this list is very unique and a boat we have been hoping to try out for a couple of years. It is the Heyday WT-Surf, otherwise known as the Wake Tractor. This boat is about 22 feet long with a dry weight of 4,300 lbs. It has a healthy stock ballast system of 2800 lbs and we added about 600 lbs of lead for this weekend so it could better compete with the big boys. That brings the total displacement for the WT-Surf to about 9300 lbs.
The WT-1 is probably not going to win any beauty contest, but its very affordable at around $60k. It’s easy to tow and will fit most anywhere. But what about the wave? It’s fun, and it’s legit. It’s definitely not the size or power of some of the bigger boats, but if you want a boat that you can surf with and have a great time with some friends of family, you can do that on this boat. I was very surprised. This is no frills, though, keep that in mind. The surf tech on this boat was basically moving a suction activated wave maker from one side to the other. It’s not the level of luxury or tech in other boats, but it works and it’s fun.
2019 Nautique G23
You may be surprised that this big G23 is a bit lower than some of the other boats when it comes to displacement. Don’t let that fool you to think it makes a subpar wave. Correct Craft has done a great job with their hull and tech to be very efficient with the displacement they use to make a great wave. The G23 has gone through several refinements in design and engineering since it was introduced in 2013 and it is noticeable. Every bit of it feels purpose built and tweaked to be the best it can be.
This G23 is 23 feet long and had a dry weight of 5900 lbs with 2850 lbs of stock ballast that was not run completely full. Another 550 lbs of lead is added to tune the wake to perfection by the wake surf veteran owners of this boat, the Woodards. With people and gear the displacement was about 10250 lbs. This G23 MSRP is about $175k.
While the G23 makes a great wave and the boat is engineered to the top of its game, the wave can be steeper for some and has spots with a rougher transition. When weighted properly this is not much of an issue. Keep that in mind when you demo, if too much weight is added to this boat it might not have as great a wave as you see here. No worries, just contact the Woodards or another G23 veteran.
2018 Mastercraft X23
The 2018 master craft X23 is a beautiful boat, especially with this color scheme. It was definitely a looker and kept in top shape by the owner, Danny Matranga. This 23 footer makes a great wave, but be careful when you demo. The X23 has a great surf hull but not all master crafts make the same amazing wave. If you are looking for a master craft and want a great wave, the X23 should be right on top of your list.
The X23 had a sticker price of about $170k and a dry weight of 5501 lbs. 500 lbs of lead was added to the stock ballast system of 3000 lbs. With people and gear that brought the total displacement of the X23 to 10,350 lbs. The wave was plenty long and powerful with a good transition and it was well liked.
We have now all gotten used to the premium surf boats having huge amounts of freeboard keeping us well above the water. The X23 is by no means shallow like a Sanger, but it definitely isn’t as “thick” as some of the other boats.
2018 MB Sports B52 23
The MB B52 23 has a long tradition of making a great surf wave. I remember seeing this boat in 2007 and it made a great wave on both sides and the boat seemed so THICK compared to other boats. Things sure have changed, but even though this boat doesn’t have that same level of thick freeboard we are now accustomed to, you won’t be disappointed with the wave. This was the personal boat of Don Christman and he has taken pride with many custom details. Don would not be a real wake surfer, however, if he didn’t spend just as much effort dialing in this wake, and it was dialed. This boat made a strong, powerful wave with a great transition.
The B52 retails in the low $100 thousands and has a dry weight of 5200 lbs. The ballast system consists of 2750 lbs of stock ballast with 1100 lbs of PNP weight, and then 400 lbs of lead placed with loving care by Don. That is a total displacement with people and gear of about 11,050 lbs.
The B52 is a pretty good value and it always has been. MB is a smaller boat company in California that makes fewer boats, but keeps the price pretty reasonable. If you like the look of this boat and wave, they are worth a look.
2018 Supra SL 550
I have to state right off that I personally spent a year with this beautiful boat and I am partial, so take that with a grain of salt. This 2018 Supra SL 550 retailed for about $145,000 and makes a great powerful wave that has been shown off in many wake9 videos. I even know this really big fat guy that rides it no problem.
I handed this boat over to a brand new driver and just turned on auto wake. The auto wake system did a good job in many conditions to keep a consistent wave. One area of improvement would be that the auto wake system doesn’t adjust fast enough and requires a bit of wait time, but I believe that has been resolved with the 2019 models.
The 23 foot Supra SL has a dry weight of 5600 lbs with 3200 lbs of stock ballast. About 700 lbs of lead was added over the entire boat to make this wave which brings us to about 11,100 lbs of displacement.
2019 Moomba Makai
The 2019 Moomba Makai is a brand new model from Moomba and it sure hits the ground running. It is neither a budget boat, nor is it a luxury premium boat. It fits right in the middle. This is a BIG 24 foot boat as you can see parked next to our Supra SL. Even at that large size this boat can be had for under $100k well equipped. This boat was provided by California Marine Sports in Suisun City, California.
This 24 foot boat has a dry weight of 5200 lbs and a stock ballast system of 4000 lbs which is under floor so it has cavernous storage. With 1000 lbs of extra lead and people and gear this boat displaced 11800 lbs.
The wave is powerful and smooth and this boat can also be equipped with the auto wake system. It is a first year model and even though it has the auto wake system I have found that it requires a bit more time dialing it in compared to say the Supra SL. It is not as luxurious as some of the other premium boats, but it is a good value with a great wave.
2019 Centurion Boats FI25
You can call this boat the 2019 Centurion FI25 or you can refer to it as I do, as the Big Mamma Jamma. This boat is just under 26 feet long and is going to set you back a bit at about $180k. That said, it makes use of that extra displacement and makes a BIG, long wave. Some boats can make a big wave, but it may not be a good big wave. This boat makes a wave that is long, big, and great and it was a crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t like big until you have to tow or garage it?
The Mamma Jamma has a dry weight of 5850 lbs and a stock ballast system with all the upgrades at 5500 lbs. This boat was weighted using about 5000 lbs of the stock system and then 500 lbs of lead. Including gear and people that put this boat displacing a whopping 12950 lbs.
The FI25 doesn’t seem to like much weight up front and so it was weighted with most of the weight in the back which does mean it rides a bit bow high while surfing. This bothers some and not others, my advice is just to demo yourself with it properly weighted and then you decide. You definitely won’t care much about the bow rise when you are back there.
Special thanks to all of the drivers and boat and board manufacturers. Special thanks for the patience you all have had with me this year after the tragedy in our area. We are looking forward to coming back to a full lake this year, and hopefully the 11th year of the Polar Bear.
A BIG thank you to Boat Bling for providing us cleaning materials for the boats to keep them looking great, and I have to say, the Boat Bling worked great!
Another huge thank you to Peter Brooks for saving our butts and driving his Nautique SAN 210 for us to fill in for a missing boat.
Please visit wake9.com/polar-bear for links to all of the sponsors and manufacturers.