By: Kevin Smith

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Kevin Smith had enough fun on the Sea-Doo 230 Challenge to warrant a fresh pair of undies. However, he's pleased to discover it's as attractive to families as it is to speed freaks.

Sea-Doo 230 Challenge

FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #280, April 2012



Anything to do with Sea-Doo means serious business when it comes to on-water performance. Riding these top performing PWCs is an adrenalin rush in itself, but if that's not enough, the  range has mind blowing motor configurations right up to 510hp - and in supercharged versions, no less.

While it might sound like these things are built specifically for hard-core adrenalin junkies, that's not completely true. There's actually a lot more to these boats than merely driving one like you stole it.

The big brother of the Sea-Doo range is the 230 Challenger, which could be classified as the family boat of the Sea-Doo clan. It's 7.16m long, 2.67m wide and seats 12 passengers, so there's certainly no lack of space. And with supercharged twin 255hp motors there's no lack of horses pushing this baby either. The 230 swanks the usual classic lines, and has a bucket-load of onboard features to boot.




Beneath the hood the 230 has a twin set-up of 255hp, 1.5lt injected, supercharged Rotax 4-TEC motors. To put that into perspective, it basically has two of those lightning-fast PWC motors inside, which gives you a fair indication of what could go on when you knock the hammer down.

The throttle control is synchronised to the motors, so you have one lever to lock into gear, and the other to knock down for acceleration. I wouldn't say that the 230 has holeshot, rather missile-shot to say the least. When you knock the hammer down there is sudden crackle from of the motors as they launch you to a top speed of around 109kmh (58.86kts) at 7700rpm, which is shunting on water - especially for a boat of this size. Thank goodness for the large windscreen, otherwise I would've had to have corrective surgery afterwards to get my cheeks back to their original position.

As well as being fast, this boat is super comfortable to drive and has extraordinary handling capabilities. Unlike conventional outboards with props and skegs, Sea-Doos have axial-flow jetpump systems which significantly change the manoeuvrability and handling of a boat. Combined with the unique hull design this boat can be thrown into full-lock turns at the kind of speed associated with white-knuckles and a change of underwear, if you know what I mean.

In addition to its exceptional performance, there is actually quite a mellow and elegant side to the 230. It's not just a purposely built craft for hooning, but can be used just like any other boat for recreational purposes.

When driven in a civilised manner the Sea-Doo 230 Challenger maintains a smooth ride with above average stability, and feels very safe indeed on the water. As previously mentioned the seating capacity is 12, and with this kind of power and performance I'm confident it could handle a full load.




Throughout the boat there is generous, comfortable seating with heaps of storage space below. And because it's a bowrider there's access to wraparound lounge seating in the bow and also in the stern. The 230 Challenger is a very social boat, and the overall finish is guaranteed to draw attention. The gelcoat is top class, and when it comes to colour coordination there are a number of options available to suit all. These boats also have a good number of standard accessories built into the hull and deck, control station and cockpit area.




The 230 Challenger typically has better features than its predecessor and includes a few highlights such as additional engine options in supercharged or supercharged high-output, optional weedless system, combined analogue and digital gauge systems with more features, optional waketower and a better overall finish - just to mention a few. What else can I say? I love it.



On the plane...

Exhilarating performance
Huge family and entertaining layout
Super modern trim and design


Dragging the chain...

Takes some time to get used to slow manoeuvring






RRP: $74,099




Type: Jet-propelled family boat
Material: GRP
Length: 7.16m
Beam: 2.67m
Weight: 1558kg (dry)



People: 12
Fuel: 200.6lt
Max. HP: 510




Make/model: 2 x Rotax 1503 4-TECs
Type: Inboard jetdrive



Brisbane Jetski and Sea-Doo
239 Zillmere Road
Zillmere, Qld, 4034
Tel: (07) 3633 0123


Originally published in TrailerBoat #280


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