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Can You Wakesurf Behind A Sea-Doo?

Can You Wakesurf Behind A Sea-Doo?

Sea-Doo designs some of the most innovative seated jet skis in the world. While currently discontinued, they also have a selection of jet boats on the market. 

While a child or small adult can wake surf behind a Sea-Doo ski or boat, you’ll need to add at least 1200 lbs of ballast to get a big enough wake. Jet boats don’t create a quality wake because they have a shallow hull and an impeller, neither of which dig into the water as dedicated wake boats do. 

Sea Doos also don’t come with wedge attachments to concentrate water movement towards the wake. While it’s possible to stand up and maintain momentum on the wave, you’ll be disappointed if you expect any more than that, as you won’t easily be able to do carves, snaps or spins on such a small wave.

What type of surf wake can you achieve with a Sea-Doo PWC and a jet boat, and how can you increase the size and quality of the wake?

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Can you wakesurf behind a Sea-Doo PWC with added ballast?

The Wake 170 and Wake Pro 230 are Sea-Doo’s top tow-sport PWCs and are designed to create the best wake for a ski-sized craft.

Equipped with a ski pylon, swim platform, ski mode and wakeboard rack features, Wake Series watercrafts are the best options if you’re looking to make waves behind a jet ski. 

Sea-Doo’s ‘ski mode’ has a selection of pre-programmed speed options for riders to control and replicate their launches.

These personal watercrafts have a slightly wider and deeper hull than others, which helps increase stability while operating at a lower center of gravity, sitting deeper in the water.

The Wake Pro, with a 230 HP engine and fast acceleration to help with launches, when combined with ballast of at least 800 lbs at each footwell, is probably the best PWC options for wakeboarding / surfing. 

That being said, while the Wake Pro can create a wake that is big enough for a small rider, an experienced wake surfer won’t be blown away with the quality and size of the wake in comparison to a wake boat.

Sea Doo GTR PWC

The GTR PWC is part of Sea-Doo’s ‘performance’ watercraft category. With the driver’s weight and added ballasts at the footwells, it can create a ridable yet small wake for a light rider to surf on. 

This jetski is designed for comfortable speed and power on the water. However, adding two 250lb Sumo-Sac ballast bags at the footwell on each side of the PWC will dig the stern of the watercraft further into the water.

Secure the sacks with ratchet straps and drive at around 9.5 – 12 mph, and you’ll create a small peeling wake behind the ski.

Surfing behind a Sea-Doo PWC with a wedge

Surfing behind a Sea-Doo PWC with a wedge
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If you’re looking to increase the size of the wake behind a PWC and allow for an adult to surf on the wake, adding a surf wedge can help somewhat. 

A surf wedge attached to the side of the hull helps to push the PWC further down into the water. On the Sea-Doo Wake Series, a wedge can pull the back of the PWC as much as one third under the water, helping to displace a lot more water into the wake. 

Also adding ballast weight to the front of the watercraft will help weigh down the nose and better distribute the balance. 

While the wedge definitely improves the shape and size of the wake and allows for a small adult to ride comfortably, it also requires the driver to drive at almost full throttle to get the watercraft moving at 10 mph, increasing fuel consumption along the way. 

The fumes from this engine activity can also be quite unpleasant for the wake surfer riding downwind of the engine.

Can you wake surf behind a Sea-Doo jet boat?

Can you wake surf behind a Sea-Doo jet boat?

As of 2012, Sea-Doo has halted the manufacturing of their jet boat line. However, there are still a range of used Speedster, Challenger and Sportster boats to be found on the market.

Generally, jet boats don’t dig deep enough into the water to displace enough water to create a big wake. Instead, when driving at a planing speed, the walls of a jet boat are mostly exposed.

This is because jet boats typically have flat-shaped hulls with a shallow jet engine and impeller, instead of a deep V-shaped hull and inboard propeller system that help to hold the boat deeper in the water when driving at a surfing speed.

That said, many Sea Doo owners are able to create a small surf wake with the right setup.

Challenger 210 and 230

The Challenger 210 jet boat comes with a built-in 600lb ballast, while the Challenger 230 has over double the ballast capacity with 1400lb built-in

With this ballast capacity, augmented with some extra sacks inside the middle locker and under the seating on one side of the boat, you’ll able to list the boat and create a small but decent quality wake. 

The 210 and 230 have completely different shapes, with the 210 (20’6”) being 3 feet smaller than the 230.

While both have the same draft and engine type, The 210 has a deeper V-shaped hull and is designed as a dedicated ski and wakeboard boat, while the 230 is categorized as a bowrider

The 15 foot Sportster is one of Sea Doo’s smallest jet boats. Given its small size, with enough ballast and passenger weight, the stern of the boat digs deeper and can throw up a decent wake relative to the boat’s size.

Note that there is limited storage space and lockers in Sea-Doo jet boats, so adding extra passengers is always a good idea.

Helpful tips for riding behind a Sea Doo jet boat

  • Maintain a consistent speed just before your boat reaches a plane. By keeping the stern deeper into the water, you’ll be able to create a bigger wake.
  • With the bow so high in the air, make sure you have a spotter (preferably a smaller adult or child), looking out for any oncoming boats.
  • Get at least 3 adult passengers to sit on the back-bench to weigh down the stern of the boat.
  • Beware that adding too much ballast towards the stern of the boat can submerge the fuel breather. Make sure this vent is always above the waterline.

Can you wakesurf behind a Sea-Doo jet boat with a wake shaper?

Can you wakesurf behind a Sea-Doo jet boat with a wake shaper?

Even with something like a Delta Wake Shaper added to the opposite side of the desired wake, Sea-Doo jet boats plane with such a high draft that the wake shaper is physically unable to submerge under the waterline, which makes it useless.

Another issue is, the sides of a Sea-Doo hull have a curved shape which makes it difficult to securely attach a wake shaper or wedge suction cup.

Even if you manage to maintain speed with the wake shaper submerged, the jet wash pressure of the engine and impeller is often too high for a wake shaper to work, preventing the water from converging behind the boat into one solid wake. 

Final Words

While jet boats and jetskis don’t typically produce high quality wakes that are large enough to do snappy surf turns and spins on, it is possible to manipulate the ballast of a Sea-Doo jet boat to create a wake adequate for a small adult or a child. 

If you’re looking for a solid wake, your best bet is to find a dedicated wake boat that produces a sizable and clean wake vs a jet boat or PWC that will never produce more than a mediocre wave. 

This said, if your budget only allows for a PWC, the Sea-Doo Wake Series is going to offer you a small yet ridable wake for a significantly lower cost when compared to a dedicated surf boat such as a Mastercraft, Malibu or Moomba.

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Photo credits:
Featured image: “Thrill Ride” (CC BY 2.0) by *Muhammad*
(2) “Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by James Willamor