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Engine: Three-cylinder 1,494cc
Fuel Capacity: 15.9 gal.
Stowage Capacity: 27 gal.
Seating Capacity: 3
There’s been much said about Sea-Doo’s new flagship platform for 2018, but most of the buzz has centered on the GTX and RXT models. Those same features, however, are now also put to good use on the 2018 Sea-Doo WAKE PRO 230. In fact, with the platform’s added stability, new tow pylon setup, and existing performance modes, this may be the most watersports-specific craft yet.
Nearly any three-passenger PWC can cut it for basic towing, but for anyone who takes the sport seriously they come with inherent drawbacks. One, the towrope mounts low to the water where it gets trapped in the jet wash, occasionally yanks the stern around, and limits the height riders can get on wake jumps. PWC are also difficult to hold steady at wakeboarding speeds, and the sensitive throttles are prone to delivering a jerky ride. Finally, there’s simply no room to store the “stuff” – boards get jammed into footwells where they get in the way, bang into shins, or maybe even get pulled overboard during a turn.
The new 2018 Sea-Doo WAKE PRO 230 tackles all of the above and more. For starters, that towrope is elevated and secured to an actual tow pylon. Unlike the previous design, the new pylon adopts the “plug-and-play” approach of the new list of LinQ accessories (more on those shortly) that secure to the newly expanded aft platform. That lets the entire pylon be easily removed – literally in seconds – when not in use. The base connects to a socket in the platform floor. Twin support arms then pivot forward to secure the pylon tripod-style to the platform. Like the previous pylon, the new design has two handle grips to aid the rear-facing spotter, and can be lowered below the seat level when not in full extension. The difference in towrope attachment height may seem relatively minimal overall, but the added inches help the rope clear the whipped-up rooster tail of jet wash so that it doesn’t entrap the towrope. And yes, that added height adds height to a rider’s wake jumps, as it doesn’t immediately pull them back down toward the water the minute they leave the wake.
That newly spacious aft platform makes a good spot for gearing up when getting to ride. Boards stay tucked out of the way (and out of the footwells) thanks to gunwale-mount board racks as in previous years. The design lets a board easily slide in, then stand upright, tilted away from the footwells, and secured with a bungee-style strap. The final element that makes a craft a “wake” model is an advanced speed control. Like all Sea-Doos, the WAKE PRO features Touring and Sport mode, the former which tames the steepness of the power curve and the latter that provides the engine’s full stock potential. A third ECO mode is also available to gain maximum fuel efficiently. WAKE models, however, add a fourth mode – Ski. The setting enables drivers to choose additional acceleration profiles based on the task at hand and weight of the rider. Select the appropriate response, then simply pull the throttle fully. The craft will accelerate accordingly (say softer for a wakeboarder and harder for a large slalom skier), then level off at your desired speed.
Remaining WAKE-specific features found on the 2018 Sea-Doo WAKE PRO 230 are high-performance variable trim and wake-specific graphics.
Other features that enhance towing are standard to the platform. Underway, the new hull’s added stability resists some of the rider’s pull on the towrope, making the craft feel less tippy than before. It’s also more stable when deepwater boarding, allowing riders to comfortably board via the newly deeper-and-wider, spring-loaded reboarding ladder. The new direct-access front storage also makes it easier for the driver to retrieve items on the water. Rather than lean over the handlebars and attempt to access items in the deep bow storage used previously, the new storage “lid” (now the entire handlebar, glovebox, info display and mirror assembly) simply opens as a single hatch directly in front of the driver, allowing the captain of this ship to simply reach in and retrieve almost any contents while sitting comfortably.
The new LinQ system aft also makes it easy to bring along additional gear or necessities. Pop up the recessed cleats in the platform and you can add a cooler, gas caddy, or semi-rigid dry storage bag. And yes, like other models that share this design, the aft section of the seat is removable for even more space on that platform…but you’ll want to leave it attached when towing, lest you lose the perch for your spotter.
One really cool option that this target audience in particular will likely appreciate? A new 100-watt, waterproof Bluetooth audio system. It adds speakers below the mirrors, a simple touchpad control, and a designated watertight, padded phone box in the newly slim glovebox for the source of your tunes. If already installed, it adds only $700 to the bottom line. After the fact it’s still less than $1000.
Niche All Its Own
Behind the scenes, the 2018 Sea-Doo WAKE PRO 230 remains the 230hp variation of the GTX, using a Rotax 1500 HO ACE engine and featuring familiar highlights like Intelligent Brake & Reverse, cruise control, no-wake mode, tilt steering, and iControl learning key and security system. Expect a GPS-limited top speed of 67 mph in good conditions.
What else is out there to tow with? Again, only Sea-Doo takes such a specific watersports focus. Yamaha’s more powerful FX Limited SVHO ($16,899) does offer a tubing-oriented package including among other items a color-matched inflatable, inflator and 12-volt outlet, tube storage bag and lanyard to secure the inflated tube off the aft platform when underway. Models closer in price, but without tow-specific amenities, include Yamaha’s FX Cruiser HO ($13,799) and Kawasaki’s Jet Ski Ultra 310X ($15,299).
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