In a wakeboarding world where V-drive boats continually steal the show in wake performance, the SV696 has gained credibility among our testers as one of the few direct-drive contenders in the wake department. This massive 23-foot-long, 102-inch-wide direct-drive has all the essential wakeboarding machine features. The SV696′s wide shape provides plenty of room for extra ballast as well as a V-drive-style wraparound seating pit, and its clean-looking tower and unique styling lines lend it an undeniable wakeboarding flavor.
Right out of the box with 1,100 pounds of factory ballast, the SV696 produces large, advanced-level wakes with excellent shape. These rampy wakes are trough-free, with long landing zones that are great for moves to blind. The double-ups had nice shape for a consistent launch.
We noticed a significant degree of performance enhancement compared to last year. The difference? The optional MerCruiser 8.1-liter, 370-horsepower engine. With this setup we had increased power out of the hole and the top-end speed was 4 mph faster. Considering the SV696′s beefy size, the engine upgrade is well worth it, especially for heavy-ballast wakeboarding sessions.
The SV696 is one of the most spacious direct-drives we tested, and this boat packs a lot of comfort into its 102-inch beam. Passengers will love the transom walk-through that opens onto a large integrated platform.
Base price: $56,600
Length: 23 ft.
Beam: 102 in.
Seating capacity: 12
Fuel capacity: 45 gal.
Test Prop: 13 x 13 3-blade
Test Engine: Horizon MerCruiser 8.1L, 370 hp
Top Speed: 47.9 mph 4,800 rpm
Accel. To 30 mph: 6.0 sec. 143.9 ft.
Accel. To 36 mph: 7.5 sec. 218.2 ft.
Noise Levels (db): Neutral 70 D 75 R, 36 mph 90 D 93 R