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Wakeboarding and wakeskating are cool, but not everyone – especially the typically younger demographic that enjoy the two sports – can afford the necessary towboat, nor the fuel they consume. What’s an aspiring boarder on a limited budget to do? Sea-Doo hopes the answer is the WAKE 155, a GTI-based model that tosses in some wake coolness…and just may be a better alternative than a boat for certain tasks.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Better than a boat, a much larger craft that hauls more passengers and puts up a better wake to launch oneself skyward? In some cases, yes. Riders into sliding, grinding, and jumping obstacles will appreciate the WAKE’s smaller wakes, which won’t rock those contraptions anchored in the water. A PWC’s maneuverability also makes it easier to get in close to these items, and quicker and easier to get back to a rider after they fall. And then there’s the fuel issue to consider. Gas consumption per session is likely to be far less than it is on a boat. PWC are also cheaper to buy, easier to trailer with almost any vehicle, and easier to store at the end of the day.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the Sea-Doo WAKE Pro 215
Plus, when you’re not towing the line, they’re a heck of a lot of fun to ride just by themselves.
Still, they need some assistance to reach their true potential. Sea-Doo provides that assistance in several ways, the first of which is a tow pylon. Yes, it may provide a tiny bit more air when jumping the wake, but its primary purpose here is to lift the towrope up and out of the jet wash to provide a more satisfying, predictable pull. That pylon also aids those on board the WAKE. Dual, chest-height grab handles offer a handhold for a rear-facing spotter that, when combined with angled footrests, provide a secure and comfortable perch for keeping tabs on the rider behind. It’s certainly a far more secure feel than reaching down for the seat’s stock grab handle. The pylon itself can lower when not in use. The WAKE also gives you a gunwale-mounted board rack. Boards slip into a notch at the base, and are secured by bungee straps. The rack lets you carry a board along to your ride spot without cluttering up the footwells or worrying about banged ankles and toes. The rack is secure, but easily removable should you want to get all wild and crazy solo.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155
Towing assistance is also provided by taking advantage of the WAKE 155’s electronic throttle. In addition to normal cruise control and no-wake modes, which lock in speeds without requiring constant adjustments to the throttle trigger, and two distinct accelerating profiles (touring and sport), Sea-Doo gives the WAKE a speed-based SKI mode. It allows the operator to choose from one of five separate acceleration profiles aimed at tow sports. Use a gentler acceleration for wakeboarding or tubing; get more aggressive for pulling an adult out of the water on a slalom ski. Drivers simply peg the throttle at the start. The WAKE’s onboard computer brain takes care of the rest, bringing the craft up to speed as requested, and then holding it at the rider’s preferred MPH setting. SKI mode makes it far easier to be a good towsports driver, eliminates any surging, and allows the driver to focus more on what’s happening on the water without distraction. It even has a memory, enabling you to pick up right where you left off after a fall.
And though it won’t make you a better driver, or your rider a better skier, wakeboarder, or wakeskater, the WAKE also gives you a little edgier appeal. Bold red-and-black graphics replace the more conservative approach of the typical GTI 155.
Yes, below all the wake-oriented touches, the WAKE 155 is still just a GTI 155 at heart. That means it gets a fun-loving, predictable hull design that features a gentler deadrise (16 degrees) than GTX models. That shallower angle makes the craft a little more playful feeling, but its overall design can still lock things in for those that want to carve aggressively. The engine providing the power is the familiar Rotax 4-TEC. Without a supercharger and intercooler, it’s arguably a better choice for towing duties, as the engine is easier to maintain at a set speed, and more fuel-efficient to boot. The 155 version, however, is undoubtedly more punchy than the 130, meaning you’ll have more low-end punch to haul riders out of the water.
VIEW: Read all of our Sea-Doo reviews
Extras? Don’t overlook the fact that, like all Sea-Doos, the WAKE 155 comes with Intelligent Brake and Reverse. The system provides real stopping power out on the water, and proves quite beneficial when maneuvering around a downed rider, or avoiding a yank of the rope as you stretch the line taut before that rider gives you the okay to accelerate. iBR is also fantastic around the dock or launch ramp. It allows the WAKE to start in a neutral mode without forward or backward movement, and then be shifted into forward, reverse, or neutral as desired.
You’ll also get electric trim, which can lower the bow for better acceleration when pulling a rider from a deep-water start, or just tailor the ride to your passengers and water conditions.
Beyond these bigger items, there are more hits, as well as at least one miss. Positives include a theft-prevention lanyard system, with a second lanyard that serves as a speed-limiting device; wide-angle mirrors that prove truly useful for keeping tabs on the rider in your wake; and a fold-down boarding step to get your skiers and riders back aboard. Perhaps a miss is the lack of handlebar tilt. The fixed position may make taller riders feel cramped when standing above the saddle.
All in all, however, the WAKE 155 hits its target. Watersports types get the extras they desire, while everyone still gets a fun PWC to play and ride on when a towrope is not part of the equation.
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