For those searching for thrills – and occasional spills – on the water, a PWC pretty much ticks all the boxes. They offer great performance, good manoeuvrability, sharp handling and can go places a lot of boats can’t. And provided they are driven responsibly, especially on crowded waterways and close to beaches, they are a great source of fun for boating families.
In terms of versatility, the Wake stands out in the Sea-Doo PWC line-up. It is primarily built for towsports enthusiasts, hence its name. But it is much more than a fun-themed beast of burden. As far as family fun on the water goes, it is arguably the best all-rounder in the range, offering adequate performance for both novices and experienced riders, whilst also boasting plenty of tow-and fun-friendly features for the more adventurous.
So, armed with a tow tube and a car full of teenagers, we headed for the beach and on a relatively calm day spent a few hours towing squealing kids behind the Wake. As the wind picked up later in the day, our repertoire expanded to include a bit of wave jumping for some added thrills and the occasional spill.
TOWING THE LINE
Primarily what sets the Wake apart from other models in the Sea-Doo line-up is the tow pylon mounted at the rear of the seat. While other PWCs are fitted with eyelets to hitch a tow line to, the Wake’s dedicated pylon offers a number of benefits. Firstly, it’s a sturdy item, that provides the strength to handle the constant strains imposed towing one or more people, plus it keeps the tow rope up high so that it’s not dragged down into the wake and is unlikely to be sucked into the jet inlet.
It also provides a secure handhold for the rear-facing observer, with two handgrips ensuring they are not distracted from keeping an eye on the other end of the ski rope. When not in use, the ski pylon retracts into a slot in the rear deck. Observer comfort and stability is enhanced with moulded footrests.
A removable board rack, which locks into mounts on the port side, is a handy feature for when you need to cover some water to get to your favourite ski spot.
Another feature of the Wake that will be particularly appreciated by serious wake boarders and skiers is the Ski Mode throttle function, which has five preset throttle curves to suit a variety of situations. It basically alters initial take-off power delivery and subsequent speed settings to make for a more consistent launch and tow speed.
Other performance modes on offer include Sport, which delivers sharper throttle response and higher speed; Cruise, which is similar to cruise control on most cars and maintains a constant speed; and Eco mode, which cuts down on fuel consumption when the rider is not in ‘fun’ mode.
One feature I particularly liked, and one that is available throughout the Sea-Doo range, is the iBR braking and reverse system. It enhances rider control and safety via a small lever on the left-hand handlebar. When squeezed, it stops the craft much quicker than simply releasing the throttle and also makes manoeuvring around boat ramps and jetties a breeze with its reversing function.
Sea-Doo’s Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) system also enhances rider control. It provides an electronic, rather than cable, connection to the engine, and also allows the craft to be started in ‘neutral’, so that it doesn’t engage the jet drive when started.
Carrying capacity is pretty good, too, with a large ‘trunk’ at the front providing plenty of space for stowage of things like PFDs and even fishing gear, if you’re so inclined. There’s also a compact compartment in front of the rider for smaller items.
The Wake 155 is powered by a three-cylinder Rotax four-stroke engine, which features a sealed cooling system so that corrosive saltwater doesn’t find its way inside the engine.
While there is plenty more power on offer in the more performance-orientated models in Sea-Doo’s range, I found the 155hp of the Wake more than adequate for most situations. It certainly delivered good initial punch for towing and in Sport mode provided good acceleration for a spot of wake jumping. But those with a more extreme need for speed would probably want to look further up the range amongst the more high performance models.
We had no complaints in terms of rider and passenger comfort, and I was particularly impressed by the Wake’s ability to handle choppy conditions with relative aplomb. On our second day out, Port Phillip Bay was stirred with a strong south-westerly resulting in metre-plus waves and more than a little ‘air’ for the more adventurous PWC riders.
On more than one occasion, and with a passenger aboard, we managed to soar more than a metre off the top of the waves, the resulting landing being well-cushioned by the Wake’s forgiving hull. It also proved to be relatively stable, including during a couple of ‘offs’ when the rider and two passengers had to remount after some spirited ‘stunt work’. The fold-down boarding step was appreciated here.
Overall the Wake 155 proved to be an accomplished all-rounder. It is a rider/passenger-friendly craft that forgives mistakes and in experience, while delivering more than enough performance when asked.
Recommended retail for our Wake 155, as provided by the friendly folks at Melbourne Sea-Doo, was $18,300, including trailer. ¿