Heyday, builder of the WT-1 wakesurfing boat formerly known as the Wake Tractor has been acquired by boatbuilding industry icon Bayliner Boats. Building a dedicated wakesurfing boat like this will be a first for Bayliner, which has previously focused on runabouts but also broke new ground in recent years with the introduction of the popular Element line.

With an unusual center console design and a pickle-fork bow, the WT-1 is ready to make some waves—for Bayliner Boats.

With an unusual center console design and a pickle-fork bow, the WT-1 is ready to make some waves—for Bayliner Boats.

The Element models cost significantly less than most other boats, have proved quite successful at attracting first-time boat-buyers, and the line has grown from its initial 16' runabout to include five different models up to 25'6" in length. So it makes sense for Bayliner to move into the watersports segment with another affordable offering. According to President Keith Yunger in an August 30 press release announcing the sale, the wakesurfing category “is an attractive and growing portion of the recreational day boat segment, and particularly for those seeking a more affordable way to enjoy these popular watersports, this action affords Bayliner speed-to-market with wakesurf models that were specifically designed to meet the performance expectations of wake and surf enthusiasts, but will retail at a more affordable price point, further contributing to the growth of this boating category.”

The exploding popularity of wakesurfing is no secret—major watersports brands have been building more and more surf-dedicated models like the MasterCraft X46Centurion Ri237, and the Supra SC400. But all of these serious watersports boats share one thing in common: an MSRP that puts them out of reach for many buyers. The WT-1 was initially conceived in response to this problem, and (at under $50,000) listed for half as much as many other dedicated wakesports boats.

The WT-1 is the brain child of the John and Ben Dorton father-and-son team, well known in the industry for their years at Bryant Boats. (And Ben Dorton is an accomplished wake surfer in his own right; see him strut is stuff in this Bryant 233X video). Fortunately, their expertise is part of the deal. Ben Dorton joins Bayliner as the Manager of Business Development, and John Dorton will consult with the Bayliner team.

The WT-1 is, of course, a single model. But according to Bayliner Brand Manager Michael Yobe, it’s also just a beginning. “The WT-2 prototype is being finished right now, as we speak,” he told boats.com minutes after the sale was announced.

For more information, visit Bayliner Boats.

And if you're interested in learning more about wakesports and wakesurfing, be sure to check out The Wonderful World of Watersports: All Things Towable.

Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld, boats.com, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.