Best Wakesurf Boat System: Getting the Perfect Wave

Know the Difference Between SurfGate, Gen2, and Centurion

Man carving turn on wakeboarding view from water
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Looking for the best wakesurf boat system but not sure where to start? Almost every new boat on the market now has some sort of surf system, designed to create the “perfect” wave for inland surfing or wakeboarding -- for people who have been inland surfing for years, these systems are a total revolution but may need further explanation and detail to determine what will work best.

The need for a surf system has sent many people back to the dealership to get the upgrade on their older model boats. What we find now, though, is that every boat company is touting their surf system as the best on the market, leaving consumers wondering which one really will give the perfect wave. Loyalists will stick to their boat brand no matter what, but if this feature seems too important to take a chance on, then here are the boat surf systems demystified.

Malibu SurfGate

Malibu Surfgate burst onto the scene in 2013 and the Surfgate system works just as the name implies. You have two gates on the back of the boat hull that turn left and right shifting the weight of the boat from one side to the other. The controls are so fine-tuned that you can make minor adjustments to get the wave cresting in the right sweet spot.

Remember though, that the depth and shape of the wave will mostly be decided by the amount of ballast in the boat. Don’t have the misconception that the Surfgate system alone will generate a tsunami; it ultimately helps you fine tune the wave you already have. But it does a really great job at it.

Centurion Surf System

Centurion has long been the undisputed king of wakesurfing boats, but it appears that the other manufacturers are seeking to steal the crown. Centurions surf system is based on one fundamental truth -- more displacement equals a bigger wave. This is the theory behind their power wedge which sits deep into the water with a shaped arc to create a perfectly massive wave.

Centurion also understands that the prop is going to shift the weight of the boat naturally, which, on standard drive props is great for regular footed riders, but leaves goofy footed riders in the wash. That is why Centurion created the Right Drive which allows the prop to spin the opposite direction, throwing the wave in the favor of goofy footed riders. The Centurion system is a tried and true surf system and still remains the choice of the World Wakesurf Championships; however, if you are seeking glitz and glam, then the system may not be quite there.  

Mastercraft Gen 2 Surf System

It seems that in the past Mastercraft has been pretty brazen with their marketing of their Mastercraft Gen 2 Surf System. Their website even criticizes the Malibu Surfgate for being a “one size fits all” system.  Mastercraft believes that a surf system should be completely customizable from all points, and so they designed the Gen 2 Surf System.

The Mastercraft Gen 2 system is one of the most thorough, well thought out systems out there. It all starts with what the customer is looking for and then the system is customized from there. That means your Mastercraft dealer is going to educate you on how the boat hull will affect your desired wave. Once a hull is selected, a ballast system is then implemented in the right zones for maximum displacement.

Finally, it’s all tied together with their ultra tunable software and a “wake sculptor” attached to the bottom of the boat. So far the tests have been amazing and the Gen 2 System has put up some solid looking waves. Mastercraft has certainly engineered a well thought out system that will give all the other manufacturers a run for their money.