BOAT TEST: SUPRA SUNSPORT 20V

By: John Ford


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It ain't cheap, but, as John Ford quickly discovered, Supra's Sunsport 20V wakeboat will rock your world.

BOAT TEST: SUPRA SUNSPORT 20V
Supra Sunsport 20V

After I'd finished testing the Supra Sunsport 20V, the last line of my notes contained just one word, written in very large letters: "AWESOME".

Josh Sanders and his brother Justin import and manufacture the Supra brand from their factory in Nowra, on the NSW South Coast. Josh is a professional wakeboard champion who became acquainted with Supra while competing in the US. He says he was so impressed with Supra's products, he brought one to Australia for his own use. As interest grew, he started importing some for sale, before commencing manufacture under license.

 

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS



Jason describes the Sunsport as a crossover model, capable of towing the full gamut of watersports enthusiasts from wakeboarders to waterskiers, kneeboarders to (with a different prop) barefoot skiers. At first glance our test boat certainly looked the goods, with its industrial strength wake tower, board racks, red livery and go-fast graphics. Fitted with a booming Indmar 5.7lt V8, the boat turns out 325 good ol' Yankee horsepower, while the hand-laid fibreglass hull has foam-filled stringers and what to me seemed like a perfect, mirror-like gelcoat finish.

The Sunsport's hull has a deep keel and a sharp deadrise at the bow; this gives way amidships to a raised section of hull running to a rear planing plank and transom-mounted wakeplates. Supra claims the design results in superior handling and a great ride, with the deep bow cutting through the water and the rear section forming a higher concave area, where the hydrodynamic force equates to better stability at speed.

With seating in the bow, at the helm and in a wraparound rear lounge, the Sunsport 20V has a capacity of 10 people. There's a full-width sundeck at the stern, while the upholstery and every fitting ooze luxury and quality.

 

 

NO PROS REQUIRED



The design (and its abilities) place it squarely in the serious wakeboat category. But don't be scared off if you're not an expert wakeboarder, because the computerised, adjustable wake settings will cater for all levels of rider and driver.

The boat's "Supra VISION" system (Video Information System with Integrated Onboard Network) allows up to eight different skill levels and wake shapes to be programmed into the onboard computer. Simply move the throttle forward to allow the computer to deliver a programmed speed, wakeplate, and ballast setting - you can even pre-program the stereo volume! You just steer a safe path and look like a pro.

There's room in the bow for three people on ultra-comfortable seating with a removable centre infill, which can transform the area into a full-width sunbed. There is storage below and well placed drinkholders, plus a pair of MB Quart speakers. Access to the bow is through a walkway between driver and passenger and an opening screen. The floor has clip-out carpet and there is a central locker for boards.

The rest of the seating is somewhat unusual. There's a traditional bucket for the driver while the observer's seat is part of a "stadium" lounge with room for seven to watch the wakeboarders behind. The driver's seat, which can turn a full 360°, can become part of the cockpit lounge for socialising at rest. The cockpit seating can be swivelled around for more rear-view seating, or it can be lifted to form a backrest.

The actual driver position is comfortable and well laid out, with a bolster option. Vision is unrestricted in all directions and controls are smooth and easily reached. Steering through the hydraulic system is smooth and light and the electronic controls are finger-touch controllable, without being too light or likely to inadvertently over-rev.

The moulded dash has vinyl trim and the instrument panel is a tech-head's dream come true. There are analogue gauges for speed, tacho, fuel, oil and water temperature, while a digital monitor repeats the information and also displays ballast, trim, GPS data and full engine diagnostics. This readout forms part of the previously mentioned VISION system.

All available space is cleverly used for storage and there's a moulded glovebox that houses the DVD player. Drinkholders also abound - I counted two on the port side and four to starboard, but they seem to be everywhere.

At the stern the sunpad has a lifting section for access to the engine and a large storage space. At rest the swim platform sits just below the water, making it a great place to cool down while providing easy access for skiers, boarders or swimmers.

 

 

HANDLING AND RIDE



Based on a General Motors block, the Indmar V8 is a favourite engine for American watersports boats. With 340hp on tap there's a heap of power to pull boarders out of the water, even with full ballast tanks, yet it still runs on regular unleaded fuel.

Take off is flat and fast, the progression to plane so smooth it's virtually indiscernible. Top speed at 5100rpm is 37kts (69kmh). The Sunsport is no speed demon - instead it's set up to provide pulling power out of the water with wakeboarders in tow. On the flat reaches of NSW's Shoalhaven River, cruise speed was whatever I wanted it to be, but at 3500rpm the boat maintained 27kts (50kmh) - a sedate, economical pace. In sections of the river where there was some wind chop the boat sliced through the waves without any banging from the hull or shaking from any fittings.

Into turns the Sunsport also remained flat and stable. When thrown around into sharp turns it's a case of hang on tight as the hull bites in. The design of the hull's underwater section is such that the boat feels like it's being sucked into the water, delivering safe, predictable handling even over chop and into eyeball-watering turns that pull your face sideways. The uncharitable might call my reaction a "wraparound idiot grin"...

 

 

THE WRAP



The Sunsport 20V's quality and performance places it in the higher end of the market. What you get is a great-handling boat that will thrill you, your family and your friends for years to come. I stand by that final entry in my notes - it's awesome. No, make that: AWESOME!

 

 

On the plane...


Superb ride and handling
Innovative seating
Quality fittings
Computerised controls

 



Dragging the chain...


This level of quality doesn't come cheap

 

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS - SUPRA SUNSPORT 20V

 

 

HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $90,647
Options fitted: Mirror bracket, bimini, engine flush kit, weed trap
Priced from: $86,950

 

 

GENERAL


Type: Wakeboat
Material: Fibreglass
LOA: 7m
Beam: 2.41m
Weight: 1406kg (boat and motor)

 

 

CAPACITIES


People: 10
Rec. HP: 320
Max. HP: 340
Fuel: 128lt

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Indmar 5.7 Assault 330
Type: Fuel-injected petrol V8
Displacement: 5700cc
Propeller: 14.25in x 14.5in four-blade

 

 

SUPPLIED & MANUFACTURED BY


Ride Australia
10/10 Central Ave
Nowra, NSW, 2541
Tel: (02) 4422 4477
Web: www.supraboats.com.au

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #279

Find Supra boats for sale.

 


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