I am 31 and would consider myself an advanced surfer coming from a 2006 Centurion Lightning C4. 250 pound rear locker tanks, with front tank, and we fill a 250 pound fat sac in whichever side we're surfing.We spent the last few months of the season here in Canada test driving boats to make a decision for next year. The Lightning was our first boat and by chance we lucked out without even a test drive. It was our first wakeboard boat and it was the last one they had in the shop. Now, I would never not test drive again but all I can say is the boat had been rock solid since day one. The only thing we ever had to do was replace a distributor cap. Still drives and sounds like new and surprisingly out surfs most boats on the lake.
We all surf in our family too. In the new boat we were looking for:
1. Surf Wake Quality (size, shape, power)
2. Faster ballast filling.
3. More space for our growing family.
4. Improved surf wake on the goofy side. (my side)
We had seen the Mastercraft X-25 for the past few years and the boat show and figured that would be our next boat eventually. After all it had tons of space, great finish, faster ballast, and the sales reps always boasted it had an amazing surf wake.
We finally got out on the lake with the dealer, filled the stock ballast and full trim tabs. I started surfing this wave and couldn't believe how bad it was. I was honestly shocked I could barely stay in the pocket. Dealer starts turning in circles to try to shape it better but same result. Never in eight years have we had to drive our Centurion in circles to shape the wake. After 5 minutes I stopped and the dealer fills up the 500lb sac in my corner. Helped for sure, but still garbage. Beautiful boat, huge nasty bow rise, and awful surf wake.
Dealer was convinced we should ride the X-10 so we went out the next week in it. Very similar boat with an improvement in wake but would never pay 100K for a wave still worse than our 2006 Centurion.
I should mention my brother in law surfed the regular side with the same conclusions as me.
Now we had to rethink everything. We test drove a Tige Z3 which the dealer insisted was still their best surf boat. Big improvement over both Mastercrafts waves but the tanks take soooo long to fill. They use a pass through in the rear lockers that fills though the fat sac and into the hard tank. About 13 minutes roughly from empty to surf ready. Wave was about the same as our Centurion. Still a 100K boat.
We didn't even have Centurion on the radar because we had been listening to all the other companies marketing at the boat show for years. We really weren't impressed by the boats in the Centurion booth. Fit and finish was behind Mastercraft, Tige, and Malibu. Called up our local Centurion dealer but didn't have a FX22 demo left. He did arrange to ride a customers FX22 he just took delivery off the week before. Actually the red and black 2014 on the Centurion page from their photoshoot. Equipped with quick fill, pro package, bow ballast. Basically this means 2 hard tanks in hull that open a port to fill in seconds. Bags in each rear locker, bags in each side seat and the bow. Each bag has a dedicated pump and can be controlled easily with the touchscreen filling system.
The first thing I noticed was the fit and finish of this boat. Massive improvement from what I was expecting. I actually like the seats better than Mastercraft because they're firmer. Every time you step on a Mastercraft seat it indents your footprint for a few minutes. MC still has the edge on board racks and glove box but very comparable. The 7" touchscreen was great. Easy to see, easier to use. You don't have to navigate through menus to access the tanks. Just touch the level and it starts filling. Filling the boat went from empty to surf ready in five minutes.
Now the owner of the boat went first. By the time we hit plane my father in law, brother in law and myself looked at each other with our jaws on the floor. This was the biggest, longest, cleanest wake I had ever seen! This guy was surfing 15 feet back no problem and he wasn't even a great surfer, on the goofy side too. Now I could hardly wait to get out there.
The boat ripped me up effortlessly and I had the rope in within 15 seconds. I couldn't believe what I was riding on the goofy side. I didn't think it was possible. The wave was so big and had so much power that I wasn't used to, it took a few minutes to adjust. It was shocking. 15 feet back no problem, 360's no problem. I could also ride way the heck out in the flat. I'm used to riding at 4-6 feet to keep enough power in the wake for 360's. I only rode for 10 minutes but that was all I needed.
So we were all pumped. Done deal for me. Didn't need to ride anything else. Went to the dealer the next week and signed the deal. Came to 84k, Canadian, fully loaded with speakers, led and all options except upgrading the trailer. We added the CATS fin which should make it even better.
What about RAM FILL? This was a big point of discussion in our family. I wanted it, father in law (engineer) not convinced. He wanted to see how this technology worked so we had vales from centurion and even talked to the head of Centurion for an extended time. Here's the thing about ram fill. The intake hoses are only connected with gear clamps and there is no bypass. This fitting is under constant force as the water is forced in. If that ever blows out you are filling you're hull with a 2" line and there's nothing you could do to stop it. It would sink your boat in under 3 minutes. Is it ever going to happen? Probably not, but with little kids on the the boat we didn't want to take that chance.
We also thought that you got more weight with Ram Fill which is not correct. It's almost 500 pounds less. Ram Fill does give you more storage space but its still limited. The hard tanks come right up under the side seats. You could fit a pair of skis or paddles but that's about it. Back lockers give you lots of space. The bag system when filled takes ALL space. To be honest this was our number two concern on the list but the wake was so amazing we decided we'd deal with it somehow.
What sealed the deal was the price. 84k all in compared to about 105k for the Mastercraft or Tige. After riding them all it was impossible not to go with Centurion again. If you wakeboard it might be a different story although, the Centurion wakeboard wake looked good too. If you only surf then honestly your search is over. You always hear that "there's no replacement for displacement." and I think what sets Centurion apart is their deep V hull shape.
Our boat is going into production in 2 weeks and it's going to be a long winter. We did get 10% off because Centurion was offering it. Basically they want to keep building boats all winter. No idea how long that will last. If you don't have a dealer you could call Absolut Water Sports in Calgary. Jeff is the owner and I sure he could arrange something. He talks to the Centurion management daily. Apparently they sell the most Centurions in North America.
Hope that helps.