If you have $100K to spend on a new surf and/or wakeboard boat, there are certainly many options available to you, but finding the boat in that budget that has the best wake or wave is not an easy task.
Of course, any $100K boat will typically be great, but which one you choose depends on your goals, e.g. surfing vs wakeboarding vs size vs comfort… There are tradeoffs associated with any brand and any model.
Always keep in mind that $100K – $115K boats can often be had for well under $100K – demo models, trade shows, leftovers etc. Make sure you demo as many as you can. Also make sure you have a brand dealer close to you.
See also: what is the best surf boat under $30K ?
What to look for in a boat < $100K
Below are some important things to consider when buying a boat under $100K.
Boat size & engine
Boat owners typically recommend choosing the biggest boat you can find for your budget. Second and third boat buyers often want a largest boat than the previous.
New buyers will sometimes choose a 21 footer because of budget but later will repeatedly go for 24′ boats for improved room, better wake and wave, and higher resale value.
Note that a 23-25 foot boat can typically hold 13 people or more, easily accommodating friends and family. A 21 footer, on the other hand, may work for 6-7 people on the boat.
If you main goal is wakesurfing, then an inboard is the only way to go because the propeller and drive unit are located inside the hull, eliminate all risk of hitting the propeller – see can you wakesurf behind any boat.
You may also be able to surf or wakeboard behind a jet boat, however you generally won’t get a good quality wave/wake due to the shallow jet engine and impeller (see wakesurf behind a Sea-Doo)
No matter what the boat dealer says, a jet boat will never match an inboard for wakeboarding and wakesurfing, although it can be a great option for other boating aspects.
When buying a $100K (or cheaper) boat, you often need to balance performance and tech such as extra speakers and touch screens. Some buyers prefer to stay away from touch-screen and camera technology as they’re weary about maintenance after several years.
Thus, savvy buyers sometimes choose to forgo additional tech bells and whistles and instead focus on getting the best engine for the boat for their money.
Many boat owners argue a boat’s resale value depends more on the condition of the boat than the brand name. The latter, however, will still affect a $100K boat’s resale value.
For example, Moomba boats often have good resale value as they are a relatively affordable investment in the first place. They do incur significant depreciation in the first year but later tend to hold their market value.
Thus, if you plan to resell your boat after 4 or 5 years, a Moomba can be a good choice as you will lose less than with other brands.
If you’re about to invest in a $100K surf boat, your goals likely include a good surf wave for you or your kids to ride. While you can typically surf behind all the new surf/wake inboards, some boats will produce a much better wave/wake.
Boat owners generally tend to agree Centurion has for years been making the best wakesurfing boats.
While Malibu is the company that invented the surf gate, and Supra, Nautique, and Tige also make excellent surf boats, Centurion remains the undisputed leader in terms of pure wakesurfing experience.
Centurion, Nautique, and Supra are considered to make the best surf boats. Tige is also a pioneer of surfing, offering some of the best surf wave for the budget. Supreme also makes specific surf-focused boats.
Deep V surf hulled boats tend to produce a very large and nicely shaped surf wave with less weighing compared to a flatter bottom.
Wakeboarding is different, however. Deep V surf boats tend to have a very hard transition in the wakeboard wake, and require high speed to clean up.
Deep V hulls also need significant weight and surf tab adjustments compared to flatter bottom hulls, and are more sensitive to side-to-side weighing for both surf and wake. These are well-known cons of deep V hulls.
#1 surf boat under $100K: Moomba Mojo
The Moomba Mojo is one of the few 23-foot surf boats you can get under $100K. It’s a very good all-around boat including for both family fun and for serious wakesurfing.
The Moomba brand revolves around simplicity, reliability, and proven technology, perfect for buyers who plan on keeping their boat for a decade or more.
Although an entry level line, the Mojo has features similar to those found in higher-end boats such as the Mastercraft XT. In terms of interior, the Mojo is often considered to have slightly better fit and finish than the Axis A24 or Mastercraft NXT.
In terms of surf wave and wakeboard wake, the autowake (and G6 ballast system) is very easy to use.
The Mojo or Mojo Pro can be had under $100K and provide great value for the money. Some buyers have even snatched new Mojos equipped with full Wetsounds system for under $90K.
While the Raptor 440 engine an extra $5000 over the Raptor 400, buyers often argue they are both the same engine except for computer flash. The 400 gets on plane with 4000 lbs of ballast.
#2 surf boat under $100K: Mastercraft NXT22
Mastercrafts are great boats, but a budget under $100K will get you an economical model. The NXT 22 offers a great ride and a wave with great push including for a heavier rider.
The 22′ boat has seating for 14 people, which is great for accommodating friends and family.
While Mastercraft was a pioneer for surf systems, many of their older boats are more wakeboard than surf focused – with the bow rising very high.
Mastercraft boats are amazing boats but they do not necessarily offer the best surf wave. That said, if your goal is to get a quality all-around boat for under $100K, the NXT 22 can be a fantastic choice.
The NXT series are affordable and great for relaxed wakesurfing during a family day out on the lake, even though they’re slightly narrower than the X-series and a bit less less upscale.
#3 surf boat under $100K: Centurion FI 23
A Centurion FI 23 can be had new for under $100K provided you select the right set of options. Some $100K versions can often be found at boat shows with quite a lot of options.
As mentioned, Centurion boats offer some of the best surf waves on the market, namely thanks to their deep V hulls that produce long, big waves with a great pocket, with relatively low extra weight.
While shaping the best wave of these boats may not be as easy to dial in as others, one of the great things about the FI23 is that you can quickly switch from water skiing to surfing to wakeboarding at the push of a button.
The deep V hull of the Centurion, however, may not be the best choice if your primarily goal is wakeboarding instead of surfing. Like the FI23, the RI257 makes a very big but abrupt wake with a narrow landing zone.
#4 surf boat under $100K: Super Air Nautique 210
The 21′ Nautique 210 may be a bit small for some buyers, but for others it may be roomy enough as it can easily fit 6 or 7 people on board. This boat can be had for $100K fully equipped with the ZW409 engine.
The 23-foot Nautique 230, on the other hand, will take you well over that $100K budget.
Nautique boats are very reliable and durable for many years. Unlike Mastercraft, you don’t pay as much for the brand name.
Nautique boats also offer a very good surf wave, although it can be a bit steep for beginner riders and not easy to dial down in length and height.
#5 surf boat under $100K: Tige R23
You may be able to find a new well-equipped Tige R23 for $90K – $95K including the TAPS 3 surf system and options like Wetsounds systems, bimini top, an upgraded Raptor engine, and swivel board racks.
By shopping around and negotiating with dealers, it’s also possible to find a Z3 for under $100K .