Is your family investing time to find the right tow boat? Is the surf wave a major factor in your tow boat?

Meet John and Diane Locke; they currently live in East Tennessee with two kids aged 10 & 14. Over the years, John and Diane have been seeking a summertime activity with their family but haven’t landed on anything yet. The Locke Family always wanted to boat in the summer but didn’t know where to start: the type of boat, boat length, or a particular brand. John and Diane have recently reached out to multiple friends who own tow boats, asking them about their experience boating and whether their kids love the watersports. A close friend raved about his boat, saying, ” We absolutely love our boat!!!! The kids are constantly begging me to surf, which eliminates the family sitting in the house on their devices. We spend a majority of our weekends on the boat, which has allowed our family to spend quality time together; it’s great!!”

After some family meetings and discussions with friends, the Locke Family decided to start investing their time to find a family towboat 😎

The Locke’s started their quest by establishing how they would spend most days on the water? And what three components matter most in their boat?

The Locke’s Family will spend a majority of their time: Having the whole family wakesurfing and occasionally anchored in a cove enjoying the day! ☀️

The Three Components:

  1. Surf wave
  2. Drivability / Handle of the boat
  3. Plenty of storage for all water accessories

For most families getting into a tow boat, the surf wave has a major role in what boat they pick!! You might be wondering why?

Throughout the years, the water-sports scene has been dominated by the popularity of waterskiing and wakeboarding. In 2013, the tides began to change when wake surfing was introduced to water sports. It’s the fastest growing water-sport we’ve seen in the towboat industry.  How does it sound to surf an endless wave with the music playing and your crew cheering you on to throw in the rope? It sounds like never-ending smiles!! It also has gained traction through its easy learning curve, making everyone feel confident and comfortable to get behind the boat!

If families desire to surf all summer, how are these tow-boat manufacturers designing their boats to make these incredible waves? Well, there are a few components throughout the boat that make a surf wave…

  1. Hull DesignThese towboats have the design of a deep V hull bottom, which will displace the water making the surf wave you need! The reason for deeper towboats allows for ballast placement in the hull, creating an enormous surf wave

2. Surf System

a. Ballast– A key ingredient to forming a surf wave begins with adding more weight to the boat. Every tow-boat has ballast tanks or bags allocated all over the boat in which, they will fill up to weigh the boat down to make a surf wave. Some tow-boats will have more stock ballast than others depending on the manufacturer and the model within the lineup

b. Wake-Shaping devices– The surf tabs/gates are allocated at the boat’s transom, usually under or aside the swim platform. These surf tabs divert water flow at the back of the boat and adjust the wave’s amplitude when deployed!

c. Software- Most software’s are integrated into a user interface screen in the boat’s helm (captain’s chair)!! The software has the responsibility to fill the ballast, set the tabs, and set the speed when the user selects the profile or wave shape in the software!!

d. Speed– Depending on the profile or wave shape you select, the speed will vary! Most wakesurfing speeds are around 10.5 to 11.5 mph! Many of these tow-boats have cruise control.. so you can throw the throttle lever down!!!


In the industry today, every tow-boat manufacturer has its well-established hull design and surf system. Each hull design and surf system have the same purpose of forming the optimal surf wave… but each one has a different design and functionality. For instance, Malibu Boats offers their Surf Gate System, which consists of tabs deploying outwards of the hull; meanwhile, MasterCraft Boat Company offers their SurfStar System having surf tabs that deploy downwards under the swim platform. Many manufacturers will emphasize how they have the most outstanding surf system and the best surf wave throughout the industry… we’re here to tell you they all perform great!! As wake surfing continues to manifest, manufacturers continue to develop their surf systems by adding new technology and adding more and more ballast in the boat!! The constant innovation and changes of the surf wave have taught the industry a crucial insight…

Wave ADJUSTABILITY & CUSTOMIZATION matter in a surf wave ✅

Heading back to the Locke Familythey are currently down to two different brands of tow-boats and are fixing to demo the boats. They intend on having the whole family surf to figure out what wave suits their family better!! On one demo, John noticed one particular thing… how close his kids were to the swim platform when wakesurfing. His son, Ethan, was quite frustrated and exhausted by the end of his surf set by mentioning, ” My right leg is exhausted dad (back leg surfing), and I’m scared to hit the swim platform.”

Scenario 1: John Locke will probably ride a different wave than his wife Diane

Scenario 2: Ethan will most likely ride a different wave than John and Diane

Wave ADJUSTABILITY & CUSTOMIZATION matter in a surf wave  A kid will most likely surf a more mellow wave while his father might ride a more steep wave!! Use a mellow wave when you have a kid, light-weight rideror a beginner; use a steep wave for an experienced rider or a rider who wants more “push” (surf wave’s forward energy). There are other factors to weigh in when making the surf wave your way, like the right wakesurf board, water depth, and boat speed. But, having the versatility to adjust your wave to a certain weight, age, style, or level of rider will get everyone wakesurfing behind your boat!! Just think the whole crew will be surfing without the rope before you know it 👍

The Locke’s time spent trying to find a tow-boat was an adventure… they learned more about the functionality of the tow-boats, the surf systems, the interior features, storage availability!! In the beginning, Locke’s top priority was the surf wave which remains the same. But, they’ve redefined this top priority ” A surf wave that provides the most adjustability for their family.”

So how does the MasterCraft Boat Company surf system function? How do they attain adjustability and customization in their surf wave? Does the MasterCraft surf system have everything for the Locke Family?

A new era of a MasterCraft surf system has arrived with SurfStar!! 🌊 Let’s say we are excited to share it with you and your family, but before anything, let’s head back to 2009 when MasterCraft introduced the first surf system to the boating market!!! GEN1 stormed the tow-boat market by creating the first-ever wake shaping devices to create a surf wave. MasterCraft continued to evolve and develop a new surf system by adding more ballast, creating specific surf tabs for every hull design, updating the software, and creating a more consistent wave on both sides! In 2013, MasterCraft launched the GEN2 surf system!!!

Brand. New. For. 2022. MasterCraft delivers SurfStar!! This SurfStar System gives you a surf wave your way!! It doesn’t matter who you have in your boat; this SurfStar system can customize any wave for any rider 😀 Whether you are brand new to wakesurfing or have already mastered your 360, there’s a wave for you! So how do you customize the wave for any rider? The reinvented software in SurfStar features a user-friendly interface that makes life easier on you when setting up the surf wave. SurfStar offers an effortless and unique experience with RAPID SURF on every XT, X, and X-Star model, which utilizes a sliding scale from 1-7. It’s that simple; slide to your number whether you want more of a mellow wave (1) or a steeper wave (7)!! Soo, what’s your number?

If you start to feel more confident with wakesurfing and want to customize your wave, even more, you should explore Custom Surf!! Take full command of your surf wave by setting your ballast, surf tabs, and speed to your liking!! The Custom Surf option provides upwards of 30 profiles that you can save and name to your MasterCraft!! Let the brainstorming of profile names begin, “Big E,” “Papa John,” “Splashley.”

Also, MasterCraft has updated their surf actuators that help deploy the surf tabs when wakesurfing!! Welcome in Military-Grade Actuators from Parker, giving you the maximum amount of strength and durability! Each actuator has 3,000 pounds of lift, leaving doubt that you’ll have a consistent, clean, and reliable wave🌊

Do you want to surf the wave you love every set? Well, SurfStar features new integrated sensor technology making quick minor adjustments with your surf tabs! This new technology will give you consistent wave with every wakesurf set!

Over a few months, the Locke’s finally picked out their dream boat (MasterCraft XT25)!!! 😀 John and Diane have now gained quality time with their family because they’ve carved out time to go on the boat and wakesurf together!!! Diane has countless pictures and videos of the kid’s wakesurfing, which has created endless memories to look back at one day!!

Nothing beat’s spending time with your family; we understand that! But what better way to spend quality time with your family in a MasterCraft!

We are excited about MasterCraft’s SurfStar System and what it has to offer to your family on the water! If you have any questions about SurfStar or the MasterCraft lineup, reach out to us or visit us at American Boat Center!!

(The Locke Family is not a real family in this blog)

Kevin Conn