A fun and sporty surf boat that produces nice, crisp waves for watersports while minimizing maintenance chores and ownership costs.
Community 06:00 AM by Craig Ritchie Muskoka Life
If your family is like most, you probably have a couple of kids who are crazy about wakeboarding and wakesurfing, and who would like nothing more than to have a second boat in the family that’s designed specifically with watersports in mind. It’s tough to blame the kids – with their aggressive, forward-looking styling and internal ballast systems, modern watersports boats are carefully designed to deliver ideal wakes for boarding or surfing, while still offering comfortable accommodations for the friends who cheer them on. They’re today’s party boat, where the whole gang can come and get in on the fun.
The problem with purpose-built, inboard-powered watersports boats is that they tend to be pricey, with most starting at six figures and quickly getting even more expensive once the option list comes into play. They’re not exactly what most parents think of when they consider getting a second boat for the kids.
Enter the Heyday WT-1 – a unique, purpose-built, inboard-powered watersports boat that’s specifically designed to generate nice, tight wakes for surfing and wakeboarding. It’s a small and lightweight craft that’s easy to drive, and can be easily towed with a smaller vehicle, or stowed in a standard garage. Best of all, the WT-1 is designed to be affordable, starting at somewhere around $60,000 – a figure sure to raise eyebrows among anyone who’s ever gone shopping for a purpose-built tow boat.
“If you want to face aft, you can simply insert a removable seat back cushion into the forward end of the seat base.”
In order to meet those aggressive design criteria, the Heyday WT-1 follows a philosophy of focusing on creating a great wave and eliminating everything else that isn’t deemed absolutely essential.
Stretching 17 feet, 11 inches in length and with an eight-foot beam, the WT-1 utilizes an unusual centre console layout with the helm positioned far forward, directly along the centre line on top of what would otherwise be the bow deck. The driver sits straight behind it on a single seat, and directly in front of the inboard engine. With this single seat and long nose, and the boat’s high, straight gunnels and clipped bow and stern, the overall look is just a bit reminiscent of a personal watercraft. It’s an appealing look, and a functional design that really makes the most of this boat’s compact footprint.
The key advantage to the forward helm position is to give the driver a better view forward when the bow is pushed up during watersports, while keeping their weight on centre and toward the front for better balance. The fuel tank is also positioned far forward – under the helm, in fact – for the same reason. Remember, this is a 17-foot, 11-inch boat with an inboard engine and 1,200 pounds of ballast. You need some weight up front to keep it from standing on its tail.
Heyday’s concept of eliminating everything unnecessary extends to the helm console itself, where owners are expected to bring their own 10-inch Android tablet to serve as a dashboard. The only instrument installed on the boat is a multi-function gauge showing the tach, fuel level, speed and volts – everything else streams via Bluetooth to the Heyday app on a user-supplied tablet. The tablet also functions as the boat’s sound system, streaming its music to the Wet Sounds sound bar located overhead on the folding Xtreme wake tower – both standard. A neat toggle switch array at the helm accommodates electrical systems, such as the lights and the ballast pump.
If you want to have a permanently mounted touch-screen display in lieu of bringing your own tablet, then that’s available as a factory option. Also available as an upgrade is a Zero-Off digital speed control, which is definitely worth having. Also worth considering is the digital depth indicator, since shallow water does not really make for good surf wakes.
The helm seat rides on an adjustable slide, so it can be easily configured to accommodate drivers of varying heights. The seat cushion includes an integrated flip-up bolster as well, which is a nice touch. A rear-view mirror with a convex ski mirror mounts to the windscreen, and comes as standard equipment. Also standard is a sport custom steering wheel with a tilt adjustment. LED courtesy lights provide added comfort and safety when heading out early or late in the day.
Flanking the helm console on the front deck are a pair of rectangular slots equipped with flat seat cushions, rear-facing seat backs and grab handles. In keeping with the boat’s design philosophy of being extremely easy to clean and maintain, the seat cushion is removable and straight-forward in its design, with combing restricted to just the back rests. It’s called “hot tub-style” seating, and it’s an apt description because with the seat cushion sunken into the boat as it is, the feel is not unlike you’re relaxing in a hot tub.
The inboard engine of the WT-1 is concealed under a tall, doghouse-style engine cover that’s mounted on the centreline between the driver and the transom, and topped with a large flat cushion to form a sun pad. The hot tub rear seats are positioned on either side of this structure, with forward-facing seat backs mounted against the transom. If you want to face aft, you can simply insert a removable seat back cushion into the forward end of the seat base.
Although rated for nine passengers, this boat works best with five adults on board – one in each of the corner hot tub seats, plus the driver at the helm. While it’s possible to fit two people in each corner, the hot tub-style seating means you’ll have to have them sit in tandem as if riding a motorcycle, with one person wrapping their arms and legs around the other. It’s fine for kids (they will probably love it) but not so much for adults.
The WT-1 can accommodate up to 1,200 pounds of water ballast in order to really accent the wave and give it extra depth. Rather than using traditional tanks or fat sacks, in the WT-1 this ballast pumps directly into the bilge. While this arrangement makes it impossible to load one side more heavily than the other, it simplifies the entire process and goes directly to the boat’s low-maintenance design criteria.
In keeping with its modern look and feel, graphics on the WT-1 are applied in the form of a vinyl wrap instead of traditional gelcoat. The benefit here is the ease with which one can change the look of their boat. A new wrap can be easily applied, and completely changes the boat’s personality. The aft swim platform is removable, further allowing users to change the boat’s appearance.
Although the Heyday may not offer the most luxurious onboard accommodations or the most complete list of amenities, it doesn’t scrimp on what it was designed to do, and that is provide a nice wake while still hitting a $60,000 price tag. Standard power is a 350-horsepower, 5.7-litre Crusader PCM Challenger V8 engine, which works well with the boat to create a surprisingly nice wake for a boat that’s less than 18 feet long. Available engine upgrades include a 6.2-litre, 320-horsepower Mercury package or a 5.7-litre Crusader Coastal Edition.
Looking for a tow boat so the kids can go surfing? HeyDay’s WT-1 is a fun and sporty surf boat that produces nice, crisp waves for watersports while minimizing maintenance chores and ownership costs. For many Ontario families, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
Length: 17’ 11”
Dry weight: 3,150 lbs.
Ballast: 1,200 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 133 L
Passenger capacity: 9
Maximum power: 350 hp