Jun 12

Adjustable wakes

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve become aware of the various wake enhancement devices being introduced by wake boat manufacturers. First on the scene was Tige with their VX deal. We’d seen the unmodified Z3 wake and it needed a semi-truck mud flap to even be surfable, the froth and wash was so miserable. The VX seems to have been borne out of correcting that hull issue. Regardless, it’s a static device and we hear all manner of jibberish about the weight it takes to surf it. We’ve calculated close to 4,000 pounds and it has to be loaded so that you’re shifting bags or lead or people when you want to switch sides. So that technology, really seems dead before it got started. Plus it’s the standard pumping water into the 3K or so ballast throughout the boat. Takes time.

Surfgate allows side to side switching rather quickly, but again is filling up a bunch of ballast through pumps. From what we’ve seen, you still need extra ballast to make it work, so that is a sort of wannabe fix/system. The NSS from Natique is similar to the Surfgate system, load the whole boat down and engage the NSS. Side to side is fast, but it still works with changing the flow of water off the transom. Remember all of our “no push” discussions. Wake power comes from sinking the side of the boat. Sure you can make a surfable wake, but it’s less powerful that when you sink a side. ALL of the power comes from lifting forces, if both sides are the same depth, some of that power is lost to the offside in useless froth. So the Tige approach is more in keeping with the theorethical ideal than these two systems.

So now steps in Centurion and they have introduced 3 “products”. One is ramfill. It’s a scoop on the bottom to load the internal tanks, which we’ve heard amount to 4,500 pounds! YIKES hopefully that’s not needed an only 2,250 is needed per side. At speed, you’d guess that would fill quickly! Hands down beats the other three systems in terms of loading ballast. Their video also shows shifting it on the fly, it’s not as fast as surfgate or the NSS switching, but instead of whatever time it takes to fill the ballast originally, it’s certainly saving overall time. And of course the Tige concept isn’t even competitive here.

They also have an adjustable fin, to allow the boat to sort of dog-leg. They call it CATS, who knows what the acronym stands for. Just think of the leading tracking fin turning like a rudder. Our good friend Ed Sullivan experimented with removing the tracking fins altogether (wow 5 years ago?) and it does clean up the wake amazingly well. So here is the concept, the boat rather than going straight, like the other three systems, is tracking slightly to one side at wakesurf speeds. Not turning, but a very minute side slip. BUT here is the amazing part, it’s adjustable. In aircraft terms, it’s a YAW adjustment.  So you have control over the shape of the wake at that point. You’ll remember us decrying the Enzo wake as crap because of the huge trough and crappy shape. This device, once mastered, should eliminate that or at least make it more manageable. You can still have that crappy shape, but you can also shape it to how YOU think isn’t crappy.  So the static directional devices, are certainly going to be less capable here.  With the pitch, roll and yaw adjustments, it’s very possible to tailor a wake just the way you like it and NOT be forced to settle for a too steep Tige/Natique wake or a too weak Surf Gate wake.

Then Centurion says they have some odd trim tab. We’ve seen the wings and stuff, but we aren’t really significantly impressed with that, but perhaps in concert they are all amazing?

We’re mostly impressed with the dog-leg ability, because we’ve experienced that first hand and wake faces become super clean, plus it allows adjustability to the transition. The other systems simply don’t have that. They can effect side to side and bow orientation, but not the boats tracking. We have experienced that and it does work and no other manufacturer is offering it.

Speed of loading ballast, that isn’t a must have for us. It’s nice, but not a MUST have, it may be for you. The CATS device, is certainly innovative in this arena and the ability to tailor a wake on three different axis, is going to be where we see wake adjustment heading.

Hats off to Centurion for this. Adjustablity is certainly the “wave” of the future and Centurion certainly seems to be leading the way. We’re looking forward to getting a pull behind it.

Here is the YouTube video from Centurion, it’s ridiculously long and an advertisement, but stick with it for the use segment.

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Here is a promotional picture from Centurion, the adjustable tracking fin is in the lower right corner.

centurion wake

If you back away the uber-hype from the good folks at Centurion, being able to adjust in those three dimensions, makes sense. The tanks fill quickly and still allow the best method for wake making with a list. Trim tab gives height adjustment and the dog leg factor cleans it up and can help with transition shape. Winner winner, chicken dinner the others will be playing catch up, now.  Maybe it will allow riders from other makes and models comfortable in competitive scenarios, rather than just the riders who were accoustomed to the quirky Enzo wake of old?  Will we see non-centurion riders throwing a surf style big spin?

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