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Personal watercraft have proven themselves a versatile, affordable alternative to a full-size boat for watersports duties. But while all manufacturers tout their craft’s wake potential, only Sea-Doo offers a specific line tailored to the specific tasks. Two WAKE models offer additional features over the craft they’re based on, as well as exclusive looks. The most powerful offering of the pair? The WAKE Pro 215.
The obvious question for most buyers is why wake? Besides the exclusive graphics and colors (white and denim blue satin for ’16, with bright neon-green accents), the answer mostly comes down to the accessories. For starters, the WAKE Pro gets a removable tow pylon rather than a simple tow hook. The extendable, three-position pylon lifts the towrope up and out of the craft’s jet wash to deliver a better pull for the rider, in addition to adding a small amount of hang time thanks to the fact it doesn’t immediately pull the rider down on jumps as the tow hook’s location is prone to do. That pylon also has built-in handgrips for the rear-facing spotter, adding to their security while sitting backwards in the saddle.
WAKEs also come with a removable, gunwale-mounted board holder. It’s a welcome addition, as without it riders simply have to jam a board into the craft’s footwells where it inevitably bangs a shin or two. The rack positions the board above and outside the gunwale, securing it into a plastic nook with bungee-like retention straps. Should you want to ride without the rack, it easily removes from the craft as there are no bolts or permanent fasteners.
Next on the hit list is an enhancement to the electronic speed control. In addition to the tamer Touring mode and more aggressive Sport mode acceleration profiles, Ski mode offers five individual acceleration profiles of varying intensity, allowing the driver to select a gentler pull for wakeboarding or smaller riders or a more aggressive launch for slalom skiers or heavy dudes. (Yeah, odds are the WAKE will see some skiers, too.)
Further enhancing the boat’s acceleration for wake sports is high-performance electric trim. Use the trim to push the bow up to enhance the wake for board riders, lower that bow for skiers, or simply tailor the running angle to match the rider load or conditions.
One final touch not exclusive to the WAKE Pro are wide-angle rearview mirrors, but they’re a must for keeping tabs on the riders behind.
As to what separates the WAKE Pro 215 from its 155 sibling, power is one obvious difference, as is hull type. The WAKE Pro 215 is based on the GTX platform, specifically the GTX 215. It offers considerably more power than the 155 thanks to the addition of a supercharger and intercooler. On the positive side, that means a lot more pulling power and top-end speed. The Pro should top out around 63-65 mph depending on the conditions. The flip side, however, is that the added power makes the engine response a little more twitchy. Translation, it may be slightly harder to maintain a smooth speed. That’s what Ski mode is for, of course, but even with the speed control engaged the engine does respond with a little more aggression. Of course, for all those times when you’re not playing around at the end of a towrope, that’s a good thing.
The GTX platform is also larger and a little more plush. Both platforms ride well in rough water. The Pro also maintains an aggressive attitude when ridden for performance purposes, carving aggressive corners, and a comfortable attitude for cruising.
Like other Sea-Doo models, the WAKE Pro offers Intelligent Brake & Reverse. Improved for ’16, it offers stopping power when encountering an obstacle, but also allows the craft to start in a stationary neutral mode, as well as offering precise, heads-up reverse and forward control in tight confines. Other highlights include a hinged saddle for easy engine access, tilt steering, fold-down boarding step, removable watertight storage bin, digitally encoded security key, and full-featured information display.
Improvements For 2016
While the WAKE Pro 215 has been around for a number of years, there are several enhancement for 2016 worth noting.
Intelligent Brake & Reverse is quicker and smoother than in years past, with less of a lag between motions. The boat also gets the new Ergolock seat to lock in drivers more securely. This helps when towing, but more so when freeriding, transferring much of the stress of aggressive turns from the weaker upper body to the stronger leg muscles. Ergolock also offers advantages in rough water, as it allows the driver to better grip the craft.
One of the biggest former drawbacks – storage – has also been addressed. At 42.8 gallons, storage capacity is over three times greater than the craft formerly offered. I’ll also give the nod to the new palm rests on the grips. They make for more comfortable operation, but prove themselves even more so when towing, when holding a steady course can be more challenging, even monotonous.
The cost of waking up your GTX 215? Given that the GTX 215 is now only offered in a Limited configuration, it’s actually the more affordable option in this horsepower range. The price makes the boat deserve even more consideration than before…
…especially for those that enjoy spending equal time behind the boat, launching themselves off of those (lower-case) wakes.
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