The Regal LS4 Surf is a sport bowrider that the builder has positioned to the thrill of tow sports and the acrobatic excitement of wakesurfing. The boat has ample, versatile seating in the cockpit and bow area, large lockers, a stereo system, a stepped hull, and a sleek profile. To that Regal has added a water-ballast system and a Volvo Penta Forward Drive propulsion system to increase the appeal to wakesurfers, in addition to waterskiers and wakeboarders.
|Length Overall||24’ 2'' / 7.37 m|
2.36 m (max)
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.5 sec.|
|0 to 30||8.4 sec.|
|Load||2 persons, 3/5 fuel, no water, no gear|
|Climate||82 deg., 86 humid; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: 0|
1 x 350-hp Volvo Penta V8 350 FWD Catalyst
1 x 300-hp MerCruiser 6.2 300 DTS Catalyst
1 x 350-hp MerCruiser 6.2 350 DTS Catalyst
1 x 300-hp Volvo Penta V8 300 DP Catalyst
1 x 350-hp Volvo Penta V8 350 EVC Catalyst
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Contents of Report
Regal Marine’s engineers designed the LS4 Surf to be a luxury wakesurf boat that offers optimum passenger space and stowage in a boat that targets serious wakesurfing enthusiasts who want the luxury and amenities for which this Orlando-based boatbuilder is known. The surf designation also gives owners a broader choice of graphics and colors to give the boat a snazzier look.
Forward Drive. Forward Drive is Volvo Penta’s forward-facing DuoProps on the lower unit of a sterndrive. The result is that the props are 26” further forward than where they would be if they were facing aft on the lower unit as they are on conventional designs. This means that the props are 26” further away from a surfer and that there is the lower unit housing between the surfer and the props. The result is a relatively safe design for wake surfing – something that should never be done with a conventional sterndrive or outboard.
Increased Space. The LS4 Surf has 11 percent more seating space, according to Regal, with a 6” (15.2 cm) wider interior space and 31 percent more storage capacity than previous models.
PowerTower. The watersports tower folds down with the push of a button, but what sets it apart from others is that it does so in a position that lets the captain still drive the boat.
Four Forward-Facing Helm Seats. Double-wide seats with bolsters are placed at the helm and on the port side, something that is unusual in this type of tow boat.
Removable Ballast System. 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) of ballast can be added to rubber sacks that can also be pulled out quickly if cruising is the order of the day.
FASTRAC Hull Design. Regal says this single-step bottom improves efficiency, ride, and overall performance. While in tow mode, the stepped hull makes no difference, but when the boat is in “sportboat” mode, top speed and fuel efficiency will become more important.
Wakesurfing is as much a social activity as it is an athletic pursuit so Regal made it a priority to provide as much interior space as possible. The cockpit has port and starboard lounges with forward and aft convertible backrests for maximum versatility. The aft backrests can be set so passengers can face aft to watch the action on the water or face forward for the cruise to the restaurant for dinner.
The helm and companion seats have the same type of backrest, and between them are long lounges that have space for an adult to stretch out facing aft or a crowd can pack the cockpit with passengers facing inboard. The gap between the cockpit lounges is 34” (.86 m) wide.
Outboard on each side, the gunwales have padded bolsters, plus stainless steel grabrails, cupholders, and speakers. Another focal point for Regal on the LS4 Surf was an upscale feel and that’s evident in the upholstery details with contrasting-color piping, top-quality French stitching, and a textured diamond pattern. Overhead, the tower is 6’7” (2.0 m) off the deck, is equipped with LED lights and Fusion speakers to go with the Apollo stereo.
Cockpit stowage is primarily located beneath the lounge cushions on each side in the cockpit. The cushions raise on gas-assist rams to provide hands-free access to large lockers. The bottom cushion on the companion seat also pulls out to make it easier to get to accessories at the front of the compartment. In the starboard compartment, there’s a 25-quart cooler and a battery with plenty of leftover space for gear.
Surf features in the form of rubber ballast bladders are housed in some of the lockers. In the center of the cockpit deck, the ski locker has a 1,000 lb. (454 kg) bladder and there are two 500 lb. (226.8 kg) sacks under the aft lounges.
The Engine and Lower Unit
The aft lounges and walkthrough can be raised on gas struts to provide a look at the Volvo Penta 350 V-8 catalyzed engine, which is matched to the Volvo Penta Forward Drive. This engine block is made by GM and comes with direct cylinder fuel injection which is generally more fuel efficient than most multi-port intake manifold injection systems on the market. Volvo Penta marinizes these engines and works with each builder to ensure proper installation.
Volvo Penta’s Forward Drive uses a forward-facing, contra rotating dual-prop configuration similar to what the company used on its IPS pod-drive system used on larger boats. Volvo Penta says the forward-facing propellers get better performance in clean water. The setup on the LS4 Surf positions the propellers even farther from the stern area where swimmers and wake-sports participants may be but is still trim-able to some degree.
The obvious disadvantage of the forward facing props is that they cannot be tilted out of the water as with conventional, aft-facing prop units. This means that while they are fine in freshwater, in saltwater they should be hauled out after use and not be left in the brine for extended periods. Also, since they are forward facing, the lower unit will not bounce up harmlessly if the bottom is hit.
While it may seem as if by tilting the front of the unit down, it might create greater wake, this is not the case. The unit operates just fine at normal trim angles.
Moving aft from the cockpit, there’s a 14” (35.6 cm) wide passage between the two aft “UltraLounges” to the LS4 Surf’s swim platform, which is a 12” (30.48 cm) step down to water level. The platform is 2’3” (68.58 cm) long and spans the width of the boat. The walkway and platform on our test boat were covered in SeaDek foam.
To starboard are the stereo remote and trim switch and to port there’s a stainless steel grabrail. Of course, there are twin speakers on the transom. There are recessed cup holders for each aft lounge and outboard of the port lounge is a pull-up shower.
The helm is equipped with a pair of displays that preclude the need for traditional analog gauges. Located on the upper panel of the helm dashboard, these two touchscreen displays can be set up to display course, engine functions, and/or towsports functions. The dash panel is recessed beneath an upholstered brow that cuts some of the glare and gives the helm an upscale feel.
To port of the tilt steering wheel is a stowage compartment, and to starboard is an accessory switch panel. On the starboard bulwarks, the digital shift and throttle control has settings that make it easier to maintain consistent speeds for surfing. The seat has a fold-up bolster and is double wide so a companion can join the driver. To port, the companion seat is the same width and has a glovebox forward in the dash.
The passageway to the LS4 Surf’s bow is 22” (55.9 cm) wide. The area is set up for forward-facing travel with comfortably angled backrests built into the forward ends of each of the consoles and are equipped with fold-down armrests on the inboard sides of the seats.
There is 20” (50.8 cm) of space between the seats and Regal provides a filler cushion to turn the area into a playpen or sunlounge. As we saw in the cockpit, there are cup holders, grab handles, and speakers in the gunwales. There’s stowage under the lounge cushions outboard on each side, plus an anchor locker in the foredeck.
Foredeck hardware is well executed with a latching locker door, flip-up navigation light, and a pair of beefy mooring cleats to either side. We wouldn’t mind seeing a hanger for the anchor, or a gas-assist strut to help hold open the anchor locker hatch. The bow tow ring is backed by a substantial stainless scuff plate.
The Regal LS4 Surf measures 24’2” (7.37 m) LOA with an 8’6” (2.59 m) beam, and is powered with the 350-hp Volvo Penta V8 350 matched to the Volvo Penta Forward Drive sterndrive unit. With two people, 38 gallons (144 L) of fuel and the ballast bags empty, our test boat had an estimated test weight of 5,198 lbs. (2,358 kg).
We recorded a top speed of 54.2 mph at 6000 rpm. Best cruise came at 3000 rpm, where we saw 22.6 mph and burned 6.2 gph, which translates to 3.6 mpg and a range of 184 statute miles with 10 percent of the boat’s 56-gallon (212 L) fuel capacity in reserve.
Wake surfing speeds of 11.6 mph came at 2500 rpm where the boat turned 5.4 gph and got 2.2 mpg, which means riders can surf for 109 miles before needing to gas up. Of course, this is with the ballast bladders empty. Fill them up with 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) of water and it will make a difference in efficiency.
In acceleration tests, the LS4 Surf planed in 3.5 seconds and ran to 20 mph in 5.9 seconds and to 30 mph in 8.4 seconds.
With calm lake conditions, we couldn’t comment on the LS4 Surf’s ride in chop, but she crossed another boat’s wakes smoothly. A dry ride is enhanced by the 3’5” (1.04 m) topsides height aft and 3’10” (1.17 m) forward. The weight of one driver only caused a slight lean that was easily handled with a touch of opposite tab.
With the Forward Drive, the handling response to turns is quick. The combination of drive trim, ballast, and trim tabs let the driver fine-tune the wake so this is a more versatile boat than an inboard version that can’t be trimmed.
The Regal LS4 Surf is a viable alternative to inboard-powered wakesports boats. The ability to add 2,000 lbs. (907 kg) of ballast, the Forward Drive, and trim tabs let the driver shape the wakes for myriad on-water activities.
When it’s time to just go for a ride, though, the ballast can be emptied and the boat will get up and run like a sportboat. It will take waves better than an inboard that can’t be trimmed and the LS4 Surf’s taller hullsides and deeper cockpit will provide a more comfortable ride for a family. Specialize inboard-powered tow boats are a one-trick pony – but the Regal LS4 Surf can tow, cruise, and do coastal work with confidence.