Which surf boat brand creates the best wakes in the world? — a simple question with an objective answer.
The best surf wake for you is different from another person’s ideal wake. Someone who’s only learning how to ride waves might find aggressive ones very challenging. Meanwhile, these kinds of waves are just the perfect cup of tea for most advanced riders.
With this in mind, determining the best surf boat brand depends on who’s being asked. In this article, we will categorize the most popular wakesurf boat brands according to their specializations, including their most innovative models as of date. Let’s get started!
Which boat brand makes the best wakes in the world?
Surf-focused boat brands have their own specialties when it comes to their wakes. For instance, Nautique is the most recommended brand for riders who prefer steep waves with a short and hard lip on top. Mastercraft and Malibu<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, on the other hand, are best in creating long, smooth waves with mellow transitions and sizeable wave lips.
But if you’re looking for a boat that can create any kind of wake, then the 2022 Ri265 from the brand Centurion should be right up your alley. This high-performance surf boat is from the same series that produced the ‘World’s Best Wakesurfing Boat’, which is its predecessor, the Ri257.
The 26-foot Ri265 features the Opti V-hull for maximum water displacement for rough rides while maintaining its fuel efficiency. Boasting a total of 5,850 lbs, it also has the largest factory ballast capacity among its competitors. The hull combined with the ballast makes for balanced or asymmetrical waves with a clean face.
In addition, its Ramfill ballast enables the Ri265 to customize wakes from mellow to aggressive ones midsession, so riders who have thrown in the rope can enjoy more thrilling wakes. Other features of this surf boat include the Touch Revo HD Screen that displays real-time fuel consumption and the lay-flat sun pad lounge seat for that extra fun and refinement.
Top 8 Best Surf Boat Brands
Here are our top picks for the best surf boat brands according to their categories. This list is in no particular order.
- Nautique – Best for Long Surf Wakes
- Mastercraft – Best in Luxury and Performance
- Centurion – Best in Customizable Wakes
- Sea-Ray – Best Recreational Boat
- Malibu – Best for Wakeboarding and Wakesurfing
- Axis – Most Affordable
- Tige – Most Versatile
- Moomba – Smartest Wakesurf Boat
Since 1925, the company of Nautique has been developing and manufacturing inboard boats for watersports such as waterski, wakeboarding, and wakesurfing. Ninety-seven years in the industry, and they still remain undisputed. Until today, they remain one of the three biggest surf boat brands in the world.
Aside from being the ‘Official Towboat of the New Zeland Tournament Waterski Association’, Nautique has also gained mass recognition for their awards. Their S-Series models, S23 and S21 won the ‘Leadership Award in Watersports Innovation’ for their aesthetic and high-performance hull design that’s unlike any other. In 2021, they were also granted the ‘Dealer of the Year’ recognition.
Nautique’s boats include revolutionary features, and one of them is the Nautique Surf System with Waveplate. This award-winning technology that’s included in all of their Super Air Nautique boat models enables the drivers to redirect the water flow and create well-defined and long wakes with just a touch of a button. With the tuned wakes, riders of any skill level can surf on either side of the boat effortlessly.
Nautique also collaborated with Pleasurecraft in creating the Marine engines. This innovation enables their customers to customize their boat’s engines, on whether they prefer diesel or gas. An electric-powered engine is also available, which is what they used for their 2021 ‘Boat of the Year’ —the Ingenity Nautique GS22E.
Nautique also developed wakesurf boats that can be used in saltwater. Their Coastal Edition lineup is made from corrosion-resistant materials that protect the body and the engine of the boats.
Aside from performance, this boat brand is also about entertainment. Another cool feature they have is the WakeSub Rider-Focused Subwoofer Technology which provides the best boat sound system that includes tower speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers.
Finally, their program Nautique Cares is what really sets them apart from their competitors. They are the few ones that organize projects for Earth Day, as well as volunteering initiatives in non-profit organizations in Puerto Rico.
As one of the ‘Big 3’ boat brands in the watersports industry, Mastercraft leads among others with their luxury and high-performance models. Founded in 1968, this surf brand from Tennessee stands behind the quality of their products. Mastercraft is the only brand on this list that has a 7- year engine warranty (or 1,000 hours), and a 5-year factory warranty for repair on damages and replacement on broken parts. This ensures their customers that they will be well-taken care of without added costs after purchasing their boats.
The surf boats of Mastercraft feature the Gen 2 Surf System that creates customizable wakes using the dashboard’s controls. Meanwhile, the Dockstar Handling System — winner of the 2017 NMMA Innovation Award — enables revolutionary steering control. This enables easy navigation and maneuvering of the boats in tight waterways.
One of Mastercraft’s most iconic boats is the XStar, which comes with a 2007 variant model that can be used in saltwater. Its boat’s engine is fully enclosed with the Ilmor cooling system and corrosion-free aluminum nodes, with refined materials that can also withstand brackish water.
Apart from their powerful engines and ballast systems, Mastercraft’s boats also feature the best sound system in the boating industry. This surf brand is in exclusive partnership with Klipsch, a company with over 70 years of expertise, to give you the best auditory experience you could ask for.
Similar to other watersports brands, Mastercraft builds their name by sponsoring world-class athletes. Included in their roster are Austin Keen from ‘Celebrity Surf Series’, Steel Lafferty, Harley Clifford, Freddy Krueger, and Taylor Garcia.
The Centurion brand is for the most thrill-seeking wakesurf enthusiasts. Their high-performance Ri series became the official towboats of the 2017 World Wakesurfing Championships, including the 2018 and 2021 IWWF World Wakeboarding Championships.
Founded by Rick Lee in 1976, this surf boat brand focuses on water displacement in order to create the best possible wakes. Their surf system, hull design, and wake plate work together to shape the water mass to asymmetrical and clean waves with a lot of push. This makes wakes that are suitable to ride for both beginners and pros.
With a ballast of 5,550 lbs, Centurion’s boats offer the largest water displacement capacity among the most popular brands. Their Ramfill system with two subfloor tooled-in tanks can fill up 2,950 lbs of water each in just 90 seconds, allowing you to adjust the wakes mid-session.
Another Centurion features worth mentioning are the QuickSurf Pro which will allow the boat’s driver to move the surf wake from left to right (and vice versa) in just 1.8 seconds. There’s also the Touch Vision Dash that allows controls from the helm.
For quiet and sound rides, Centurion boats are made with Quiet Ride technology and unibody construction to eliminate engine vibration. The Patented Silent Stinger wake plate exhaust system also helps to achieve an 86.5-decibel engine sound that’s no louder than a window-type AC.
For the manufacturers of Centurion boats, attention to detail matters. Their surf boats are upholstered with Comfort Strong Marine Vinyl fabric that’s stronger and more durable. Of course, there’s also the Centurion gel graphics, which is the best in the industry.
Established in 1959, Sea Ray consists of naval architects, engineers, and designers who ensure that the boats they produce have undergone testing protocols highest-quality construction possible. They’re one of the largest manufacturers of recreational and lifestyle boats, and although they advertise themselves as a luxury surf boat company, their patrons see them more as an upper-middle tier brand.
Sea Ray is known for their durable, responsive, and timeless boats. They were the very first brand to use fiberglass in their boat’s construction.
Their latest wakeboard model, the SLX 230, features the Mercury Marine V-drive propulsion system combined with a deep V-hull and 2,000 lbs of ballast to create the perfect wake for riders of any skill level. Its Mercury Marine Joystick Piloting allows easy docking in any water condition. This boat also enables quick spins so the driver can easily pick up fallen riders. Great for parties and small gatherings, the SLX 230 can accommodate up to 13 guests.
A lot of perks come with purchasing a surf boat from Sea Ray. There’s the 5-year warranty that comes with their Surpa5s program. Apart from the bow to stern coverage, there’s also the Limited Lifetime Structural Hull or the deck’s warranty to the original owner. You also get access to the Sea Ray Owners Club, wherein you can join exclusive events and meet other Sea Ray owners in various parts of the globe. With this, you also get premium benefits and incentives that only this brand’s clients can have.
Sea Ray has over 80 dealerships worldwide, and with their countless dealership awards won, you can be sure you’re in good hands!
If you’re into wakeboarding as much as you are in wakesurfing, then you should look into the surf boats from Malibu. This brand makes high-performance towboats meant for shredding and carving.
Malibu has been in the business of boating industry for over 30 years. They were the ones who developed the Monsoon engine, an award-winning technology that’s built for performance, reliability, and fuel efficiency. Some of their boats also have a surf remote feature that allows their riders to control the size of waves while they are surfing behind the boat. It’s a hassle-free and truly innovative feature that you can’t find anywhere else.
Malibu’s boats have a quad hard-tank that fills up 5,000 lbs of ballast capacity. Their boats also include the ISP or the Integrated Surf Platform that produces sizable wakes with a crisp face. The ISP also enables you to create and customize hundreds of wave options. Along with that are the Surf Gate which allows you to generate and control the wave and the Hydraulic Power Wedge II which creates clean waves.
All these features are accessible and can be controlled in the Maliview touchscreen, a high-resolution 12-inch display that acts as the command center of the boat. Here you can also choose from the various rider preset options.
The Malibu 23 LSV is the best-seller and possibly Malibu’s most well-known wakesurf boat. This model won Boat of the Year twice in a row for its versatility. Not only is it good for surfing, but it’s also suitable for water skiing.
The 23 LSV features the GX Tower that’s capable of raising and lowering the tower in just 9 seconds. It also includes the cool and innovative mister to help you cool down in hot summers.
For powerful boats with more affordable prices, Axis is your best option. Established in 2009, this brand offers larger boats with Malibu engines, considering they are both from the same company. But while Axis is a ‘lower-level’ brand compared to Malibu, that doesn’t mean their boats don’t pack some serious power.
The Axis brand is one of the producers of the best wakesurfing waves — clean face, with long and steep pockets. These waves have a length that ranges at 28 ft and a height of 4.2 ft. With Axis’ Performance Surf Package, riders can also control and customize their wakes depending on any length, size, and shape they want.
Aside from generating big surfs, the Axis brand is also known for their incredible ballast capacity. Their massive boats integrated with the Wake Plus Hull can easily fill up 1,000 lbs of ballast and can accommodate additional 1,800 lbs more with its Plug n Play system.
The A22 model is Axis’ best-selling boat of all time. This large boat is surprisingly compact and can easily fit in garages. With its premium dash and display controls, you can also control and maneuver this boat in tight waterways and channels.
This boat’s engine is powered by the Malibu Monsoon M5Di developed by Malibu Boats and Axis Wakes. Not only is it quiet, but it also saves fuel. Speaking of that, the A22 can also work with 87 Octane to 10% Ethanol. That said, you can conveniently fill up this model in any of your local fuel stations.
Finally, all Axis boats come with a 5-year full factory warranty that covers issues with the powertrain, audio, upholstery, and gel coat.
If we’re comparing Tige to car brands, then this one is definitely a Lexus. Established in 1991, the Tige brand is known for their boat’s versatility and high resale value.
This surf boat brand was founded by Charlie Pigeon, who owns and manages the company for over 30 years. Tige is known as an upper-tier class brand, which also shares the same team and factory as the ATX Surf Boats.
The first-ever boat that Pigeon created was the 2000 SLM. It was named ‘Rookie of the Year’ by a prestigious water sports magazine, and since then, Pigeon and his team continue to develop boats that can be used for water skiing, wakeboarding, and wakesurfing.
Tige has developed a lot of innovative features that set the pace for the other surf boat brands. Among the ones they invented and patented are the TAPS (Tige Adjustable Performance System), the Convex V-hull, and the Go System. They were also among the pioneers of using fiberglass construction for their boats’ hulls.
Tige’s latest model, the 25ZX, is one of the best wakesurf boats you can find in the market today. Along with its thick fiberglass hull and Indmar Raptor engine, this premium boat generates the most powerful wakes.
The 25ZX features the third generation of the TAPS, wherein there are three hydraulic tabs under the boat’s transom for effortless cruising and adjustment of wakes. This boat also includes the Tige Clear, which features an 11-inch touch screen control — the largest among its competitors. Meanwhile, its head-turning Alpha E3 Tower is an intuitive feature for towing, attachment of audio system, and storage for wakesurf boards.
Every Tige boat is inspected and overseen by a quality control auditor. They are also backed by the Tige5 warranty, even if you’re a second owner. The hull comes with a lifetime replacement. (In their 30 years of business, Tige claims to not have replaced even a single boat hull.) While the engine, system, and electronics, come with a 5-year factory warranty.
With their 30+ years in the industry, Moomba has established 89 dealerships and manufactured over 250 boat models to accommodate the needs of extreme wakesurf enthusiasts. They’ve also been the recipient of the NMMA Customer Satisfaction Index awards for 16 consecutive years.
Moomba is all about engineered power and torque, with boat engines that can withstand any water condition. They also lead among their competitors with their smart specifications. Moomba’s Patented Auto-Wake technology automatically adjusts the ballasts of their boat models. Combined with the Autopilot feature, this provides easy cruising and stabilized wakes for wakesurfing or wakeboarding.
Moomba also has the Smartplate feature that customizes and shapes waves. This, including the Flow Surf System, can be accessed and viewed on their boats’ 7-inch touchscreen display.
Another smart feature of the latest Moomba boat models is the multi-sensor technology that calibrates weight distribution. It also senses the passenger movements, the wave setting, and the water displacement so it can adjust itself accordingly. There’s also the Go Home Leveling preset that ensures stable rides when you’re ready to dock.
Moomba boats come with their own Protection Plan. There’s the Lifetime Structural Warranty for the hull, deck, and construction, and a 5-year warranty for the Indmar engine and body parts.
Depending on your wakesurfing style and preference, there’s a surf boat brand that will suit your needs. If you’re looking for high-performance boats, the best options will always be the ‘Big 3’ — Nautique, Mastercraft, and Centurion. Because of the powerful wakes their boats generate, these brands are the official towboats of wakesurfing events and competitions.
Are you looking for wakesurf boats under 50k? You might want to read this article here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who makes the cheapest wakesurf boats?
The Axis brand makes affordable, high-performance surfing boats. They are from the same manufacturer as Malibu, so their boats also utilize Malibu’s Monsoon engines.
G’day, my name is Rach Taylor and I’m the proud Founder of Surf Hungry. I am a former Australian Olympic athlete and Australian representative surf sports athlete. I’ve worked in the surf industry and lived at several of Australia’s best surf spots, sparking a life-long love of the ocean and a passion for surf sports which has now well and truly rubbed off on my two young sons, both little Aussie surf-stoked groms!