Wake and surf boats are hot on the boating market, with buyers seeking out top-notch fun and thrills. Wake and surf models deliver massive wakes that boost wakeboarders into the stratosphere while letting a massive legion of surf fans ride the endless wave, no ocean required.
The tricks of the wake trade? Hull design and ballast. The more water the boat can displace, the bigger the wake that trails behind it. Additional modifications like movable tabs and plates make sure that the wake has an ideal shape to please recreational riders and pros alike. Surf-specific mods emphasize and clean up that wake face on either side of the boat, delivering the push that riders require to surf without a towrope. While V-drive models have long dominated the wake boat market, they’re no longer the only show in town. Manufacturers who embrace Volvo Penta’s Forward Drive or jet propulsion have also found they can produce a wake or surf boat with surprisingly good wakes and no prop close to the rider.
Ready to air it out, or catch a wave? Here’s our roundup of the top wake and surf boats of 2022.
- Super Air Nautique G23
- Malibu Wakesetter 21 LX
- MasterCraft NXT24
- Tige 22 RZX
- Axis Wake T25
- Regal LS2 Surf
- Centurion Ri230
- Yamaha 255XD
- ATX 20 Type-S
Super Air Nautique G23
The Super Air Nautique G23 has long been one of the premier wake and surf boats on the market. They maintained that reputation with their 2022 redesign that introduced a new look, more amenities…and yes, an even better wake.
The G23 is clearly influenced by Nautique’s flagship G23 Paragon, with faceted hull sides above the waterline and smooth riding, deep-V entry below. Surf/wake amenities include 2,200 pounds of subfloor factory ballast; Nautique’s tooled-into-the-hull Surf System featuring actuated transom plates that move outward to disrupt water flow and create a surf wake; the Nautique Configurable Running Surface (a large transom trim tab that can adjust the running attitude to further control the shape of wakes for both wakeboarding and surfing); the Nautique Surf Pipe that directs exhaust emissions underwater; standard folding wake tower; and the intuitive LINC Panoray touchscreen helm control.
In the plush cockpit, look for wraparound seating (total capacity 16), with a rear-facing transom seat and flip-up bench backrests to take in the action in the wake. New for the 2022 season, the Super Air Nautique G23 has expanded tower options and an optional supplemental ballast option that adds two midship, adding 1,450-pounds.
You can find Super Air Nautique G23 boats for sale here.
Malibu Wakesetter 21 LX
In 2022, Malibu launched the Wakesetter 21 LX, a brand-new addition to their line with an innovative hybrid bow, combining the likes of picklefork and V-shaped style design elements. Nestled in the ergonomically designed bow seating area, passengers will find functional accommodations such as cup holders and handles, while filler seats can be added to create a "playpen" space upfront. A plush lounge wraps around aft allowing passengers to spot their friends being towed or wake surfing behind.
Tech features on the 21 LX are equally impressive to its accommodations. At the helm, drivers have full touchscreen controls and can blast tunes from multiple speakers. Surfers are sure to enjoy Malibu's wrist-controlled Surf-Band system dictating the characteristics of wakes and waves, as Surf Gate and Power Wedge III systems are able to produce mellow to raucous waters as chosen. The folding G5 tower comes standard— it has board racks, built-in speakers and a bimini sunshade.
You can find Wakesetter 21 LX boats for sale here.
MasterCraft’s NXT24 promises big-boat thrills — like 16-passenger capacity and the wake-boosting potential of the flagship X line — but at a more value-oriented price point.
The interior is classic MasterCraft, the bow cockpit benefiting from a picklefork design for added room and seating ringing the perimeter of the main cockpit. A convertible rear seat turns aft to focus attention on the wakes. Below nearly all, spacious storage awaits, including a pass-through port console. Overhead, the standard ZFT2 watersports tower can be outfitted with an optional Bimini.
MasterCraft’s Gen 2 Surf System includes 2600 pounds of factory ballast, combined with custom wake-shaping devices (unique to each model) at the transom and the software to tie it all together presented in an intuitive form on a 4.3” LCD color screen at the dash with a simple five-button interface. Use it to fine-tune wakes from mild to wild for both wakeboarding and wakesurfing, or customize it to the individual rider’s liking.
You can find 2022 MasterCraft NXT24 boats for sale here.
Tige's RXZ line-up redesigned their RZX class this year, flashing bold designs and a wide, picklefork bow design. Largest in the RZX line, the 24' offers room for 18 passengers and all the comfort and upscale touches buyers have come to expect from the Tige brand.
Tige’s wake and surf performance starts with the Convex V hull, a patented design that gives a Tige hull the continuous rocker of a surfboard. Combined with the adjustable TAPS 3T trim plates at the transom — a central plate to affect running attitude, planing, and maneuverability and twin outer plates to pump up and shape surf wakes on a rider’s preferred side — TAPS 3T “trims” the hull to settle deep into the water for board sports, fine-tune wake shape for beginner to advanced rider, or even run more level for slalom skiing. The 24RXZ's Raptor power system is specifically designed to work hand-in-hand with the Convex V hull, allowing the boat to run at a lower RPM, increasing fuel economy, and providing myriad other benefits. The massive, 11” Tige Clear touchscreen display, with convenient GO presets and cruise control, simplifies all settings. Watersports performance is likewise optimized through the Alpha M2 tower, easily collapsible with swiveling board racks.
The 24' also has impressive storage capacity, 162.45 square feet spread throughout the boat. Cool feature? The surf locker, a trunk under the transom seats that will keep boards readily at hand.
You can find Tige 24 RZX boats for sale here.
Axis Wake T25
At 25', Axis Wake's all-new T250 is the largest boat in the brand’s lineup, offering Malibu’s familiar affordable quality build and features at a larger size while remaining nimble on the water. The freshly tweaked Wake-Plus hull is designed to ride softer and sit deeper in the water at wake speeds, naturally enhancing wake size.
The T250 offers space for as many as 18 passengers divided up throughout seating areas from its spacious, traditional bow to the stern seating accommodations. Stepping aft, passengers will find Sliding Skybox Seat, easily transforming bench seating into a wake stadium. Throughout, design touches like Axis Soft Grip flooring and 25 cup holders provide creature comforts.
As to that all-important wake, build and shape it to your liking with a choice of manual or Power Wedge hydrofoil and Malibu’s trademark Surf Gate. Surfers control these features with Malibu's wrist-controlled Surf-Band.
You can find Axis Wake T25 boats for sale here.
Regal LS2 Surf
V-drive boats may produce the ultimate surf wakes, but sterndrives often prove more versatile for all-around boating. The catch, of course, is that sterndrives locate the prop dangerously close to those plying the wakes in close proximity to the transom. Volvo Penta makes its Forward Drive surf-friendly by positioning counter-rotating props in front of the drive, tucked well under the hull. All while retaining another benefit of sterndrives — the ability to trim to compensate for load, water conditions, or achieve greater top-end speed.
Regal’s LS2 Surf is one of the best, most affordable Forward Drive surf boat we’ve tested to date. Regal tweaked the running surface to clean up water coming off the hull, then turned to Wake Worx for the wake-influencing tabs, modified to Regal’s proprietary specs. Add in 1,800 pounds of ballast split between aft storage compartments and the ski locker, the integration of a Volvo Penta touchscreen for integrated control, and yes, that trim to further boost and shape wakes, and the result is a surprisingly large, clean wave with plenty of forward push…
…all from a 22’ bowrider!
You can find Regal LS2 Surf boats for sale here.
Like other models, the Opti-V hull on Centurion’s new 23’ Ri230 is designed to displace more water with less weight, a key to wake and surf success— but this time, in a smaller package. Like predecessors, the R230's 20-degree transom deadrise smooths out its ride, while flat, triangular pads at transom corners promise symmetrical wakes. Yet, for all that chop-busting and wake-boosting prowess, it’s one of the most efficient models of its class. The proof is in the real-time fuel consumption and range readouts, incorporated into side-by-side 12” touchscreens at the helm.
The Ri230 locates ballast in as many as seven different locations, including two sub-floor tanks that can add 2,650 pounds of water in as little as 90 seconds. Total ballast potential is 5,400 pounds. Long-blade, QuickSurf Pro plates displace more water for improved surf wakes. Relaxation can be found in lay-flat sun-pad lounge seats. Overhead, a power Roswell DropZone tower is stylish, strong…and rattle-free.
You can find Centurion Ri230 boats for sale here.
Jet propulsion is yet another surf-friendly source of power, but jets aren’t typically known for their stellar wakes. Yamaha’s flagship 255XD could change that reputation by combining ballast and speed control with a unique wake-enhancing system tailored specifically to jet power.
The 255XD’s hull is designed to sit lower at the stern to displace more water and naturally boost wake size. To that hull Yamaha adds the WakeBooster system, integrated, electronically controlled plates that lower below each corner of the swim platform to influence water flow and both boost and shape the wake on a rider’s preferred side. A total of 1,600 pounds of ballast further augments wake size. Fill and empty the ballast, control the WakeBoosters, and set speed and acceleration preferences via a massive 12.3” Connext touchscreen at the helm.
Other highlights? A unique paddle system on the steering wheel controls forward, neutral and reverse during docking or other slow-speed maneuvers. Yamaha’s Stadium Seating configuration on the swim platform is also ideal for coving or time at the sandbar.
You can find Yamaha 255XD boats for sale here.
ATX 24 Type-S
The ATX name may still be relatively new to the wake sports market, but the company behind them is one of its biggest players — Tige. That means models like the 24 Type-S feature many of the same features, construction and style that make Tige a perennial favorite, but at lower cost of entry.
The 24 Type-S boasts cockpit space and plenty of seating for 18 passengers. Crew forward benefit from a picklefork bow shape that maintains much of the boat’s 8’ 6” beam. Behind the windshield, scatter the rest along a wraparound perimeter lounge, with an abundance of storage space below. Sunpad seatbacks and reversible seating allow passengers to spread out and create their own conversation spaces or come together.
Type-S models feature Tige’s familiar Convex V hull, which naturally squats at the stern at board riding speeds to beef up the wake. TAPS 3T wake plates further increase the size and definition of wakes for both wakeboarding and surfing, but can also level the hull when it comes time to hand the towrope to that slalom enthusiast in the crowd. Other standout features include a gas-shock-assisted tower, Wet Sounds audio system, and a 7” touchscreen with simplified presets. For power, the 6.2L Indmar 400 Raptor Engine comes standard, although there are upgrades available. ATX offers their 20', 22', and 24' Type-S boats in special editions, such as the Ghost Edition, that come with a custom graphics package, additional amenities, and optional extras.
You can find ATX 24 Type-S boats for sale here.
Buying a new boat is an exciting process, and this year's crop of wake boats is the icing on the cake. With models delivering maximum luxury and sporting opportunities, plus a variety of unique features, designs, and propulsion units, you'll want to ride these wake boats straight into summer.