There's no doubt about it, I'm a total adrenaline junkie, always looking to try something new and exciting, no matter how crazy and/or dangerous it might be. Skydiving, bungee jumping, ice climbing, extreme zip lining, trapezing, and more. You name it, I've probably done it. But one thing I've never done before is wakesurfing.
So when the folks at MasterCraft asked if I would be interested in joining them in Miami for a day of wakesurfing and boating fun, it was pretty much a no-brainer. A few days in paradise, soaking up the sun, ripping around Biscayne Bay on MasterCraft X24 and XStar boats, and learning a fun new water sport? Yeah, it's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it!
The only problem? I didn't even know what wakesurfing was, let alone if this 48-year-old body of mine was up for the challenge. But I'm all about pushing myself to the limit, and I figured that with water sports legends Austin Keen and Parks Bonifay on hand to teach me, I should be able to get the hang of it. And while I did, it wasn't nearly as easy as I had anticipated.
For those of you unfamiliar with wakesurfing, it's one of the fastest-growing water sports over the last several years. Unlike wakeboarding, where you're being towed 30 feet behind the boat with your feet strapped in, wakesurfing has you trailing a few feet behind a boat on a shorter board and riding the boat's wake without being directly pulled by the boat. After getting up on the wake by use of a tow rope, you toss the rope and surf through the boat's wake unassisted.
Sounds like fun, right? For me, the challenge was getting upright to begin with. Watching a few experienced wakesurfers go before me, they made it look easy, so I was fairly confident when it was my turn to jump in the water. They had me lie on my back, my feet spread apart on the edge of the board, with a firm grip on the tow rope. All I had to do was roll up onto the board when the boat started moving, get into a standing surfing position, adjust my feet on the boat, and ride the wave as long as I could. Easy peasy, right?
Not quite. For me, the biggest challenge was getting upright on the board. The boat would take off, and I'd immediately lose my balance, slamming into the water (ouch) and drinking a bunch of salt water in the process. Then I'd have to chase after my board and swim back to the boat for another go of it. We did this for about 20 minutes or so, and while I was starting to get the hang of it, I wasn't quite there yet. And I was exhausted. So I climbed back onto the boat for a bit of a breather and let some other people go.
After lunch, Austin had me get back in the water, giving me the same instructions that he gave me before. But for some reason, everything finally clicked for me, and I was able to get up right away, riding my first wave for a solid 2-3 minutes. Let me tell you, it was beyond exhilarating, and I had a huge grin on my face the whole time. I can now see why wakesurfing is one of the fastest-growing water sports, as it's so much fun, yet relatively low impact compared to other tow sports like wakeboarding and waterskiing.
Once everyone got their fill of wakesurfing, we decided to do a little water tour of the area so that we could check out the massive houses and such. I asked if I could take the wheel of the MasterCraft X24 that we were riding in for a bit so that I could see what this bad boy was all about, and the captain was only too happy to offer up his seat to me.
The MasterCraft X24 is the perfect blend of performance, power, refinement & sophistication. From bow to stern and beyond, this boat offers only the best — from the best wakes and waves on the market to the most premium comfort and quality you’ll find anywhere. With plenty of room for 18 people, an available supercharged 6.2L engine, plus an enormous 4,300 pounds of ballast, the X24 is loaded up to entertain, impress, and outperform on every level.
With 630hp and 665 lb-ft of torque, the engine delivers the most horsepower and the most torque in the market. I got the X24 up to 32mph (which might sound slow compared to cars, but it felt like 100mph on the open water), before having to back off a bit because of choppy waters. But it was super impressive, with effortless acceleration and a quiet exhaust. Not to mention all of the bells and whistles that our boat was equipped with.
Pricing for the MasterCraft X24 starts at $216,000, while the fully optioned boat I drove came in closer to $300,000. This is clearly not a cheap hobby, but if you are going to do it, do it right and go with a MasterCraft, as they've been leading the way in building reliable, comfortable, and high-performing boats since 1968. From industry-leading wakes and waves and the most comfortable seats to the most customizable towers and intelligent telematics capabilities, every detail is designed to deliver the absolute best on-water experiences.
If you don't necessarily need all of the bells and whistles, the MasterCraft NXT line is a great entry-level option, offering nearly the same quality wake from its boats, but with a price point starting at just over $100,000. It's pretty great that MasterCraft has Tow Boat offerings for all budgets, from entry level to mid to ultra-premium.
Needless to say, these boats are a smidge out of my tax bracket right now, but if things should change in the future, I'll definitely be looking to get myself a MasterCraft boat, along with a house with a dock, so that I can be all about that salt life.
The next day, I headed over to the Miami Boat Show for a few hours before my flight home, and that was really cool. While there were "normal" boats like the ones we rode in, there were also rows upon rows of multimillion dollar yachts parked next to one another at the marina, with tours being given to prospective buyers. I've never seen anything like it, and only wish I had more time there to check out everything else they had to offer.
All in all, it was a pretty amazing few days in Miami, soaking up some rays, wakesurfing under the tutelage of two watersports legends, cruising around in some seriously sweet MasterCraft boats, and seeing how the 1% lives. I'm officially hooked on wakesurfing now, and I'd suggest it to anyone who's looking to have some fun on the water. You won't be disappointed!
Photo credit: MasterCraft