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2016 Utah Surfest Wakesurf Boat Reviews

On June 24-26, 2016 we had the opportunity to participate at the 2016 Utah Wake Surf Fest. This is a fantastic event that allows people to surf on and review surf boats and waves from nearly every boat manufacturer. The best part for anyone reading this is that the results of the event, including detailed scoring of every aspect of the boats tested, is published for everyone to see. In this article we are going to break down the reviews for each boat and take a closer look at what people thought about each of the boats.

THE EVENT
Before jumping into the details, it is important to understand how the event worked. A total of approximately 30 riders tested a number of boats and boards at Jordanelle reservoir, getting to spend approximately one hour surfing behind each boat over 2 days and spending considerably more time hanging out inside the boats while others were surfing. Riders, organized into groups of 4 or 5 went out in one model boat, stayed in that boat while all riders surfed, and then did the same in the next boat.  Because the event was at Jordanelle (a good size public lake) on a weekend in June, the water conditions varied, providing a good representation of what most people typically experience on a lake.

THE PARTICIPANTS
The majority of the boat reviews are written by professionals who generally have some sort of bias, either as a representative of the boat company or a media partner that is being paid by the boat companies or as an athlete who looks for very different things than the typical wakesurfer (Drew Danielo and Ashley Kidd care about different wave characteristics than a novice). There is a pattern to many boat reviews – Boat A is a great boat that produces a great wave while in contrast Boat B happens to be a great boat that produces a great wave. It’s kind of a joke, actually.  Why would you expect to have an objective review from a reviewer who is being paid?  Reviewers almost always have an ulterior motive – to make whatever company/companies paying them get a good review.

In contrast to the paid reviewer, the Utah Wake Surf Fest participants were a mix of everything from riders looking to drop the rope for the first time to riders who could consistently pull off 360s. We had men, women and kids riding with about every height, weight and body type you can imagine. Also the attendees there had typically surfed behind everything from old school direct drives to new 2016 surf boats. It was a great mix of people with different opinions and desires – a great representation of the average “wakesurf” participants.

THE BOATS
There was a great representation of boats from nearly all the wakesurf boat brands. The following boats were included in the surf fest:
Centurion Ri237
Supreme S238
Supra SE550
Malibu 25LSV
Tige Z3
Axis A22
MB Sports B52

Two brands were noticeably absent, Nautique and Mastercraft. Nautique builds a boat that surfs well, and we were sad not to see them at the event. Both of these brands were at a similar event later in the year but, because it was a different format, we won’t talk about that here.  However, if you want more information, let us know, and we’ll be happy to give you details.

THE EVENT ORGANIZATION
One important thing to note, when it comes to Surf Fest, is who organized it and who collected and published all of the information. The event was put on by the Utah Wake Addicts – a group of riders who aren’t directly associated with any brand or dealership. The primary coordinator of the event actually owned an MB Sports boat. The impartiality of the organizers is important to note, especially when taking a look at and trusting the data shown below.


THE RESULTS

Okay, now that we have all of the background information out of the way, here is a look at the final boat scoring of the 2016 Utah Wake Surf Fest.

Centurion Ri237 – 4.85 / 5
Supra SE550 – 4.28 / 5
Malibu 25LSV – 4.28 / 5
Tige Z3 – 3.67 / 5
Supreme S238 – 3.51 / 5
Axis A22 – 3.47 / 5
MB Sports B52 – 3.19 / 5

INTERPRATION OF THE RESULTS
You might want to know how the results were tallied.  Each participant was given a score sheet for each boat he/she rode in and surfed behind and was asked to rate that boat on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest) in 15 different categories.  Then the scores for each category were averaged to get the rating for each area.  The overall score was the average of all of the ratings.  The 15 categories are listed at the end of this blog, but, for brevity, we will only speak about a few, the ones we feel are most important, below.

As you can imagine, we weren’t disappointed with the results of the Centurion, especially with a score of 4.85 out of 5 which is REALLY close to perfect. Since participants were rating the boats across 15 different sets of criteria, that really is an impressive number. And, considering that all of the boats that ranked above the Supreme S238 all cost considerably more (in some cases double), we were pretty happy with that result as well.

Beyond just the overall ratings, there were a few specific sets of information in the results that are particularly impressive when considering the Centurion Ri237.

The first is that the Ri237 is the only boat at the event to receive a perfect score in any category. Taking it a step further, the Ri237 received a perfect score (5.0 / 5.0) in 4 different categories: Clean Wave, Wave Height (size), Wave Push and Surf Wave Quality.

The Ri237’s revolutionary Ramfill Ballast technology enabled a high score in the Ballast Fill / Empty Time category.  It was given an overall rating of 4.93 out of 5 (apparently one person thought 45 seconds was still not fast enough to get a 5), a full point higher than any other boat. The circumstances at Surf Fest were a great example of how awesome Ramfill really is. At the event, riders would make boat changes at the dock roughly every 90 minutes.  The boats would pick up riders, head out on the lake (a bit away from the marina to find decent water), fill ballast, surf for a while, empty ballast and head back to the dock – then do it all over again. The fact that Ramfill could be emptied as the boat started back to the dock and then filled entirely while driving to the surf location was really beneficial. Considering that most other boats had to sit still to fill / empty ballast for 5 to 15 minutes before and after each group, it is easy to see why the Ri237 beat all other boats by a huge margin in this category. Even more impressive is that the Ri237 received this rating while packing in more than 5,000 lbs. of ballast – a considerable amount more than any of the other boats.

The last point of note in the data is the Wave Adjustability rating. The real reason that the Ri237 received the overall highest rating at the event is that it was able to serve up the best possible wave for every rider, regardless of their height, weight, gender, riding style or board. Not only did the Ri237 receive 4.8 out of 5 in Wave Adjustability, but it also scored an average of 4.96 in all other categories regarding the quality of the surf wave.  These scores become even more notable when the demographics of the event (65% male / 35% female, ages from 30-54, almost equal representation from every skill level) are considered.  It is remarkably impressive that one boat was able to get a near-perfect score in every criteria from every rider regardless of what board they rode, their riding style, their weight, etc. Using Quicksurf, CATS and the Stinger Plate, the Centurion Ri237 was able to fine tune the wave to each rider – delivering exactly what he/she needed every time. The characteristics of the wave were able to be changed based on the needs of the rider, even while the boat was under way. If a beginner looked like he was having a hard time dropping the rope, the driver quickly increased the push and drive of the wave; if a smaller rider looked like she was having a hard time controlling the power, the wave was easily toned down. Every rider got exactly what he or she was looking for with just the push of a button.

Overall, the Utah Surf Fest was a fun event and a great way to meet people and have a fantastic time together while surfing. For us at BoardCo, it also validated in our minds what we really do believe and advocate – that we represent the best surf boats on the market. It may sound trivial but, as someone who helps people purchase Centurion or Supreme boats, it is nice to be able to say that I would own one of them, rather than another brand, for my family and know that I’m telling the truth. Being able to sleep at night is better than making a of couple sales – I’m just happy I get both.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the 2016 Utah Wake Surf Fest, we are more than happy to go out for a surf session with your family.  Just give us a call, and we will set it up. I’m in as long as you can drive the boat while I take a set… or two.

Get out there and have some fun!

 

The 15 Categories Rated at the 2016 Utah Wake Surf Fest:

Clean Wake
Wave Height
Wave Push (Mid Pocket)
Wave Push (Back of Wave)
Lip Launching Power
Wave Adjustability
Surf Wave Quality
Skim Wave Quality
Pocket Length
Ballast Fill / Empty Speed
Regular / Goofy Switch Speed
Interior Storage
Interior Layout
Board Storage
Quality of Build
Overall Boat Appearance

 

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