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Tow sports, specifically wakeboarding and wakeskating, continue to prove popular with PWC owners. As such, Sea-Doo continues to evolve its Wake series, a pair of craft that offer all the features of the GTI or GTX line while adding several notable tow-specific features.
The most affordable of the pair? The Wake 155.
What’s To Tow?
The primary reason any buyer would consider the Wake 155 over a comparable GTI model with a 155hp engine is the tow-sports influence. Looking at the boat, the most obvious additions are an aft tow pylon and a
gunwale-mounted board rack. Why opt for a tow pylon over the normal ski tow eye? A pylon gets the towrope up and out of the jet wash. That keeps the towrope from getting snagged in the craft’s whitewater, and delivers a more predictable pull for the person at the end of the rope. If you’re serious about skiing or riding, it makes a difference. The pylon also, however, provides a more secure spot for the rear-facing spotter. Rather than reach down to the seat or grab bar, the pylon’s handle grips are at chest level and inspire a little more confidence in what can be a precarious-feeling position on a PWC saddle. The pylon is mounted securely to the deck area below the saddle, and is retractable, meaning it can be stowed away when not in use. Footrests are well placed for the spotter and provide additional comfort and security.
The purpose of the board racks should be obvious. In the early days of wakeboarding, I often tucked a wakeboard into the footwell, a position that wasn’t the kindest on my ankles and occasionally resulted in the board flying out the back of the craft. Board racks allow you to securely position your board outside of the footwells, where they won’t get in the way. Boards slide into a groove in the rack base, and secure with bungee straps. Should you not want the carrier on at all times it’s easily removable. Will it stay on in spirited riding? Yes. While I didn’t go completely crazy, I carved plenty of hard turns with racks in place without a problem.
Possibly one of the best additions, however, is not so immediately obvious. Sea-Doo’s acceleration-profile modes should be familiar to anyone who has considered the brand in the last few years, but the Wake’s system goes one better. In addition to the gentler Touring mode, performance-oriented Speed mode, and fuel-efficient ECO mode, the new for ’12 speed-based Ski mode is designed to provide acceleration profiles aimed directly at tow-sports use. Drivers can choose one of five acceleration profiles to tailor the initial acceleration to a wakeboarder or skier getting up and out of the water, or even rider or skier weight. Just squeeze the throttle fully and the computer takes care of the rest, following the pre-selected curve up to the designated towing speed. Once underway, having speed control in effect eliminates the surges that often happen with a human hand on the throttle lever. Should the rider fall the system has a memory, meaning you won’t have to reconfigure everything each run.
What else does a Wake offer over a similar GTI? Graphics and color. The red-and-black combo is a little bolder than other GTI models.
Of course, underneath it all you still have a familiar boat, in this case a GTI 155 powered by a Rotax 4-TEC that produces (surprise!) about 155 hp. Expect a top speed of about 58 mph, and plenty of acceleration not just for those towing duties, but also to provide a spirited punch out of the hole. In the 155 guise it will not only prove more fuel efficient, but may also arguably be a better match for many towing duties, as the lower horsepower engine may be easier to maintain a steady speed.
With only a 16-degree deadrise the ride is a little gentler than the GTX series, meaning the boat can feel a little more playful when desired, but carve when necessary. I like the boat’s confidence and ride in a variety of water conditions, but be aware the hull can occasionally hunt if you’re stuck in a following wake. No handlebar tilt may also mean taller riders might feel a little out of sync when standing.
Sea-Doo’s Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR) system is featured on the Wake. It can slow the craft much faster than releasing the throttle alone, but also has benefits around the dock or launch ramp, where it allows the boat to start in a neutral position with no forward motion, and then be shifted between forward, neutral and reverse via handlebar levers. Also present are standards like the lanyard theft prevention system (a second lanyard can be used to limit top speed), wide-angle mirrors that provide a better view of the action in the wake, and a fold-down boarding step to make getting those towees back on the craft that much easier.
In summary, yes, the Wake really is two boats in one. It’s first and foremost a GTI 155. But the tow features truly give it a second personality.
If you’re the type who likes to have fun both on your craft — and in the wake behind it — this could be the boat you’ve been looking for.
Related Reading2012 Sea-Doo GTI Limited 155 Review2011 Sea-Doo GTX 155 Review2010 Sea-Doo Wake Pro 215 Review
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