Centurion T5 Thunder
Like its alter ego Comp, the T5 Thunder will feed the need for buyers looking for great water-sports fun on a budget. With direct-drive, tower, standard rear ballast, adjustable wake plate and USA Water Ski-approved rating, this boat is a pleaser. It brings the ski performance of the Comp to the table but with a crossover ability that beginning boarders will want.
The cockpit is arranged for comfort and ease of control, the mirrors are big for seeing all the action and blind spots, the engine compartment is bulky and the front storage area is deep and cavernous. The charcoal dash and 5-inch Faria gauges are sleek and sporty. Drivers will find the T5 Thunder great in the turns. And the power is great too – it gets up to speed quickly with minimal bowrise.
Although outfitting a tournament-approved ski boat with a wakeboarding package will naturally diminish the slalom performance, the T5 Thunder suffered little in the transition. Shortline spray was average and the wake only hardened a touch, but other than that, skiers will still love the wake behind this boat.
Even though direct-drives don't usually show up on the radar screen when boat buyers look for wakeboarding performance, the T5 Thunder can handle multisport fun for beginner riders wanting to break away from their parents' ski sets. It drives somewhat solidly through double-ups, with great responsiveness. With a tower and 250 pounds of factory ballast in the back, these wakes will hook young kids into the pursuit of even better and bigger wakes.
* Record-approved by USA Water Ski.
* Spacious storage; enough for a couple of skis and a wakeboard or two, and don't forget the lifejackets.
* Huge bow for a direct-drive, a one-piece windshield and a center-mounted swivel pylon.
* A little sensitive to weight distribution, but great in the turns with precision handling.
* Perfect entry-level boat for beginners who may want to go on to more hard-core action.