By Go Boating
Sea-Doo Speedster Wake: Jet Boat Review
Sea-Doo Speedster Wake is a compact jet boat that makes wakeboaring rocking good fun.
One of the main attractions of jet-driven boats is that they’re a blast to drive. Their low-horsepower-to-weight ratio gives them wicked acceleration, which means awesome holeshot and mad cornering. But there are those of you who like to spend as much time popping wakes as you do planted in the driver’s seat cranking out G-force turns. The Sea Doo Speedster Wake has got your back.
The Sea Doo Speedster Wake essentially takes the Sea Doo Speedster, a bodacious little jet boat, and adds a number of features typically found on specialty wakeboard watersports boats. “We’ve combined all the premium features of a wakeboard boat with all the advantages of a jet drive,” said Sea Doo representative Tim McKercher. Sea Doo isn’t going after MasterCraft, Tige, Malibu or the other watersports boat big dogs with the Speedster Wake; it’s just taking what it does well, jet-driven excitement, and adding a fierce amount of amplitude in terms of watersports fun.
The most obvious watersports feature is the tower, which comes standard with wakeboard racks and a set of Infinity tower speakers that belt out some serious decibels. If you’re the know-it-all water jock pro, and what posse doesn’t have at least one, you’ll be thankful for the PA system so you can point out the young greenhorns’ failings while they’re trying to master their first trick. The PA system works off the tower speakers independent of the boat’s stereo system, so you can chime in without disrupting the tunes. Speaking of tunes, the Speedster Wake comes standard with a Clarion AM/FM CD stereo. The tower can be collapsed quickly for easy storage in a garage.
Another important element of the “Wake” in “Speedster Wake” is the craft’s ability to punch it up for high-flying behind-the-boat fun. First, you have the ability to pump in 600 pounds of ballast, which will enable you to push the hull in the water and plow out a monstrous wake without having to load the whole neighborhood in the boat. The tank is located in a locker above the keel near the middle of the boat. That means the ballast sinks the entire boat down, which allows you to increase wake amplitude without losing visibility over the bow (which can be a problem with ballast positioned only in the stern of the boat).
The other element of wake manipulation is the Speedster Wake’s PerfectPass cruise control system. This allows you to dial it in right at the speed you want to achieve the wake size and shape you’re looking for. Between the ballast and the precision speed control you have an infinite amount of wake-molding possibilities. The PerfectPass also allows you to save up to eight different speed settings, which will allow you to go back and visit that wake you like so much.
Another nice watersports feature is the pop-up ski pylon, which is also found on the Sea Doo Speedster. Dump the ballast and dial the PerfectPass to about 28 or 30 mph and enjoy a solid slalom set.
Last, you’ll be glad to see what you can see thanks to the rearview mirror. Of course, you’ll always have a spotter keeping a close eye on the action aft, but a big rearview mirror will let you catch a glimpse of the action now and then as well.
We tested the Sea Doo Challenger 180 last year and had plenty of fun, and it only had a single 215 hp jet-drive motor. Our Speedster Wake was fitted out with twin 155 hp jet drives for a total of 310 ponies (and a total weight of only 2,960 pounds). So we had no illusions about how sporty of a drive we were about to enjoy.
We had two people aboard for our test and about a quarter tank of fuel (10 gallons or 62 pounds). Our twin motors were spinning 165 mm 4-blade stainless steel impellers. The test took place on Biscayne Bay in the waters near Miami. We found a relatively calm stretch of water with only a slight amount of chop.
The craft jumped out of the hole and onto plane in less than 3 seconds and posted a 0- to 30-mph time of 5.5 seconds. We topped out at 52.7 mph at 7,300 rpm, which is right where the four-stroke 4-TEC motor likes to sing. Peak-speed range will be about 80 miles. We found our most efficient cruising speed of 35.4 mph at 5,500 rpm, yielding a cruising range of nearly 100 miles, which is just fine for a small day-boat like this. We’re used to high levels of noise from jet-driven boats, but the Speedster Wake was just slightly higher than many stern drives we’ve tested recently with a peak-speed level of 94 dBa and a cruising speed level of 88 dBa.
When it came time to evaluate the craft’s handling the first thing we did was fill up the ballast and dial the PerfectPass to about 18 mph. We were rewarded with a nicely shaped wake with an attractive face and slightly crumbling lip. Heaven for a wakeboard nut. Then we quickly dumped the ballast and did what we were itching to do since we climbed aboard: crank that bugger into a fury of high-speed curves and turns. Needless to say we had a ball.
It’s important to note that the Speedster Wake is also available with a pair of 215 hp four-stroke engines — we can hardly imagine the face-peeling ride that setup would deliver.
The Sea Doo Speedster Wake offers large amounts of two kinds of fun many boaters can’t get enough of. If you like the punchy performance of a jet boat and the ability to take it to the next level on the wakeboard, then this boat belongs on your list of considerations.
The craft we tested lists for $37,899, and the 430 hp package goes for $41,899 (both include a trailer). That’s not cheap, but considering how much value all the wakeboarding and watersports features bring to this craft, we think that’s a fair deal for a boat that delivers almost too much of two of our favorite kinds of fun.
Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP)
10101 Science Drive
Sturtevant, WI 53177