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There are hundreds of surf boats to choose from in today’s market. So, how do you decide which one is the best fit for you and your family?  

To help with your research, we will discuss what separates a traditional surf boat (or towboat) and a bowrider with surfing capabilities. Both types of these boats are built for performance and comfort. When deciding between a bowrider surf boat or a towboat, there are some aspects to consider. 

Who is Each Boat For?

When deciding between a towboat and a bowrider for your wake surfing adventures, it’s important to understand who these boats are built for. Since both can entertain most watersport enthusiasts, how can they be built for different people and families? 

Simply put, bowrider surf boats are typically built to perform very well in big waters such as the big lakes or oceans. Towboats, though they are capable of going in big water on calm days, are a better fit for inland lakes and Intracoastal waters with less chop and current.  

On average, bowrider surf boats are larger in length and occasionally in width as well. Bigger boats may require additional steps to transport and store them. Towboats are typically smaller in size making them easier to trailer and store.  

Is There a Difference in Performance? 

The separating factors that cause variation in performance can vary quite a lot based on the brand of bowrider and towboat. To elaborate on some examples, let’s look at the two brands that we carry – MasterCraft and Cobalt.  

The Motor 

To begin, the motor is our first topic of conversation. Many bowrider surf boats are built with forward-facing sterndrive motors. These allow for a high level of performance in rough conditions out on the big lakes or the ocean. Sterndrive motors are built with high horsepower to enhance performance. 

As for towboats, these are typically equipped with an inboard motor. Inboard motors are fixed under the boat and away from any swimmers or surfers that are near the boat. Inboard motors are also built to perform well with a lot of added weight and surf systems. 

Both of these motors are great for surfing, though they are different. Each is built to perform better in different situations based on the environment.  

The Hull 

Both a bowrider and a towboat have V-hulls. However, each of the hulls is crafted to perform at a high level in different water. Bowriders have deep V hulls meant to cut through waves and chop with ease. This design makes them lack sportiness and have more roll around corners. This hull allows them to cut through rough water to provide a smooth ride for everyone on board. 

Towboat hulls are built to deliver the best wakeboarding and wake-surfing waves. Therefore, each brand will have a slightly different hull that performs well for the specific boat. MasterCraft offers a different hull for each series of boats to deliver the best experience for the individual boat. This hull design allows for enhanced sportiness and smoothness in turns and on calm water.  

Surf Systems 

The surf systems between the two types of boats will vary. They vary majorly based on the manufacturer of the boat. The specific differences will be heavily reliant on the surf system that is built with the boat. For instance, Cobalt boats have a different surf system than MasterCraft boats. 

One main difference found between bowriders and towboats is the ability to customize your wave. Since bowrider boats are typically very deep boats, these tend to throw very steep waves. Towboats are often more customizable when it comes to the size of the wave. Meaning you can mellow out of the wave for a beginner.  

Interior Features 

The interior of the boat is very dependent on the brand of the boat. For example, a Cobalt looks much different than a MasterCraft on the inside. Both are built with luxurious features and accents all throughout the boat, they are just different.  

Typically, the helm will look different between the different types of boats to complement the overall design of the boat. To research specific differences, I recommend checking these boats out for yourself. Each is built to be comfortable and deliver the best experience for those who want to enjoy watersports.  

What is Price Separation? 

There are several reasons that the price between a bowrider surf boat and a towboat will vary. Each is built with high-end features meant to give the best performance in its specific segment of the industry. Both are equipped with innovative technology and high-quality features.  

For example, let’s look at the difference in starting prices when looking at a surf-ready Cobalt and a MasterCraft. A Cobalt that is equipped with surfing capabilities is $136,900 or $1,045/month*. A MasterCraft starts at a price of $119,900 or $915/month*. 

The Cobalt that is priced above is a 23-foot that includes a surf-safe sterndrive motor. However, it does not include the surf package with the surf system and additional ballast. The MasterCraft that is priced above includes the surf system on a 20-foot boat.  

Is a Bowrider or a Towboat Right for Me? 

With the separation of these two types of boats, it’s time to decide which is best for you. No matter which boat you choose, both boats are built to deliver a great experience on and off the water. It all comes down to personal preference and where you plan to boat.  

The last step to deciding which is right for you is to test-drive both. If you’re not sure which is better for you and your family, we’ll help you get out on the water in both. This will help you to see the difference between the two of these boats.  

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