By Zenon Bilas
Formula boats are known for intelligent design, quality construction, excellent ride and superior handling. While models range from 24 to 50 feet in length, the smaller models–the 240 BR, 270 BR, 290 BR, 310 BR and 310 Sun Sport–are also ideally suited for families who want to enjoy wake sports, such as wakeboarding, water skiing or tubing. These five models offer standard features and available options that enhance the wake sports experience for the person in tow, but also for the driver and passengers. Adding the following wake sports options will make your Formula boat more versatile.
Wake sports require collaboration between the driver and the person behind the boat. Formula builds in features that make driving easier and more efficient. The steering is smooth and precise, which helps keep the boat path straight and allows the driver to turn quickly and safely to pick up a fallen skier/rider. The throttle and shift operate seamlessly, letting the driver put the boat in gear, accelerate smoothly and maintain a precise speed. Having an exact speed helps the person in tow, and GPS speed is standard on the dash of all Formula boats.
Formula includes as an option a Cipa 180 degree mirror that mounts to the Samson Razor wakeboard tower. The mirror gives the driver a panoramic view of the person in tow. The driver can focus on the waterway in front of him, glancing in the mirror to observe the person in tow without having to turn his head.
For towing wake sports, Formula includes a tow eye on these boats, at the transom just above the swim platform. However, it is desirable to have a higher tow point. This keeps the line above the water when the boat turns, makes it easier for the skier/rider to be pulled out of the water during the start, and gives a rider more potential air time when jumping the wake and doing tricks. Formula provides several excellent options: A removable 15 ½ inch or 40” high pylon that mounts on the boat’s swim platform, a Samson Razor wakeboard tower that mounts to the gunwales of the Formula 240 BR or 270 BR or a sport arch that mounts to the gunwales on all five models.
Pylons, wakeboard towers and sport arches are typically made out of aluminum. However, again displaying a commitment to quality, Formula has opted to make theirs out of solid stainless steel, making them extra sturdy for a firm, consistent pull. The tow point on the pylon, wakeboard tower and sport arch is designed to swivel. This provides a smoother pull and minimizes line fraying.
Stern drive power on these Formula boats features twin counter-rotating propellers, with plenty of acceleration to quickly pull a wakeboarder or slalom skier out of the water. A deep V hull provides 20 or more degrees of deadrise at the transom. This hull design creates a flat, non-turbulent wake when the engine is trimmed all the way down, ideal for water skiing. At wakeboarding speeds of approximately 20 mph, the hull rides deep in the water to create a wake perfect for jumping, or even doing aerial spins and inverts. Aftermarket Fat Sac bladder ballast can be placed in the below floor locker’s abundant storage to increase wake size for wakeboarding.
The boats are designed for convenient wake sports fun. Passengers can easily view the action behind the boat from Formula’s comfortable wraparound cockpit seating. A spacious step down head/changing room offers privacy for getting into dry clothes. Formula’s deep hull allows ample storage including below floor storage midship that easily accommodates water skis and a wakeboard, getting them out of the way for convenience and safety. Formula also offers an optional board racks for the wakeboard tower to store wakeboards.
Additionally all models have a 12-volt receptacle with an optional pump to inflate tubes. A transom shower is a nice addition to rinse off when done and is optional on the 240 BR and 270 BR and standard on the other models.
The wide transom walkthrough makes carrying a wakeboard from the cockpit to swim platform effortless. An optional extended swim platform is a perfect spot for slipping in your feet into the bindings of a wakeboard or skis. A ladder retracts and folds into either swim platform for climbing back into the boat. The extended swim platform also offers an optional step. A final option for wake sports families is the Plasdeck faux teak flooring on the swim platform. The soft synthetic material provides a secure grip even with wet feet and keeps the bottom of the wakeboard or skis from scratching.
These Formula boats allow you to combine wake sports with a day of cruising and socializing, offering something for every family member. When you are finished having fun behind the boat, trim up the engine and cruise in the upper 40 to upper 50 mph range, depending upon engine option. And that is truly the best of both worlds.
For boaters who want to wake surf, Formula offers the Mercury and Volvo Penta forward facing stern drives as an option on the 240 BR and 270 BR models. These stern drives feature counter-rotating propellers on the forward side of the outdrive instead of propellers mounted on the aft as found on a traditional stern drive. This keeps the propellers safely tucked under the boat away from the wake surfer.
The Formula 290 BR features either single or twin stern drive power options. For wake sports, the single engine on the 290 BR creates the smoothest and most uniform wake. The most powerful engine option is recommended for the strongest acceleration.
The 310 BR and 310 Sun Sport feature twin engines with either stern drive or outboard power. For boaters who want to enjoy wake sports on the outboard version of the 310 BR or 310 Sun Sport, the 40” tall pylon or the sport arch is a wise choice to keep the line well above the outboard engines.
Zenon Bilas is an 8-time USA barefoot water ski champion. As a coach, writer and speaker, Zenon promotes wake sports throughout the world. He continues to barefoot competitively and was recently inducted into the Ukrainian Sports Hall of Fame.