Heyday WT-1 Review

The Heyday WT-1 is poised to broaden the towboat market.


This article originally appeared on boats.com. Reprinted by permission.


Much ado has been made of the high price of towboats in today’s market and that’s because, well, there is much ado to be made. If you want, you easily can spend more than $100K on a tow boat. If you try hard enough, you can spend over $200K on a tow boat. But the truth is that the appeal of watersports including wakesurfing and wakeboarding is far broader than the group of people who can afford a $100,000 boat. For buyers on the ground floor of the marketplace, there’s a new option called the Heyday WT-1.

The Heyday WT-1 started life as the Wake Tractor, the brainchild of former MasterCraft president John Dorton and his son Ben.

The Heyday WT-1 started life as the Wake Tractor, the brainchild of former MasterCraft president John Dorton and his son Ben.

We first wrote about the Wake Tractor two years ago, before the first hull had even been built. Fast forward a bit, and Brunswick Marine’s Bayliner recently acquired the Wake Tractor, re-branded it Heyday, and gave it the model designation WT-1.

Bayliner and Heyday President Keith Yunger explained that the WT-1 provides an entry level for buyers who might otherwise be priced out of the market for new tow boat market.

“The overarching theme is we’re basically putting a value product in the marketplace to compete against used products out there that might be five to 10 years old, with a full warranty, at a price point that goes after the broad base of the marketplace,” Yunger said. “If you think of a pyramid, we’re going after the base, more people, versus the premium brands going after the tip of the pyramid, which you get fewer people as the price goes up.”

Heyday keeps costs in check in a number of ways. One, Bayliner parent company Brunswick Marine enjoys immense economies of scale. Two, Heyday manufactures the WT-1 at the Bayliner facility in Reynosa, Mexico. Three, the boat itself was intended to keep costs in check.

For example, the boat only carries 1,200 pounds of ballast, but still throws robust wakeboard and wakesurfing wakes. How? By design. The WT-1’s transom is unique due to its reverse tumble-home design and the rounded corners. Most tow boats have either a vertical or tumble-home transom and harder edges. Yunger explained why those two design features are important.

“What this does is when it’s listed over for surfing right or left side, it actually helps shape the wave,” he said. “The rounded corner ends up doing two things: It accelerates the water to the center point to create some wave height with displacement, and it also smoothens out the water coming off the transom, so it’s not an aerated wave surface. It keeps it clean and green, as we like to call it.”

That decreases the need for added ballast—though the boat still comes standard with a 1,200-pound system—because the boat’s design creates the wakes necessary for surfing. Wakesurfing has become so popular because it allows a lot more people to get behind the boat, and the potential for injuries is minimized when compared with wakeboarding or even water skiing. Because the rider’s feet are not fastened to the board or ski in bindings, spills are less likely to tweak a knee.

Wakesurfing fun isn’t only limited to kids; thanks to a reduced potential for injuries, older people are also discovering how fun it can be to surf behind a boat like the Heyday.

Wakesurfing fun isn’t only limited to kids; thanks to a reduced potential for injuries, older people are also discovering how fun it can be to surf behind a boat like the Heyday.

Heyday also keeps the WT-1 affordable by keeping it simple. It has what you need to get the job done, but not one shred more. It comes with a trailer, pop-up cleats that won’t snag tow ropes, and nonskid decking. It also forgoes an expensive onboard operating system in favor of a tablet-based dash system that pairs with the boat through an app or Bluetooth. The WT-1 comes with a dash mounting for a 10-inch Android tablet.

“We know our place in the market. We’re a value brand,” Yunger said. “We want to broaden the marketplace, attract more people to it, and then give them an enjoyable experience to where if they stay in a Heyday, fantastic. If they say, ‘I really like this activity and enjoyed it, but I want to get a little bit more premium product,’ that’s OK, too. So it’s a nice fit with us and the other premium brands in the market space.”

Base MSRP for a Heyday WT-1 is $39,999, which includes a trailer and a 350-horsepower 5.7-liter Crusader V8.

Other Choices: Shoppers looking for a dedicated wake surfing boat in this price-point category might also look at the Supreme S202 which bases under $60,000. Most other “value” priced wake surfing boats will break the $60,000 barrier.

For more information, visit Heyday Boats.

 

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