2024 Cobalt R33 Surf

Boat Reviews

Boat Review by: Richard Crowder


Cobalt’s luxurious R33 Sterndrive series model was first introduced last year. The new R33 Surf, the largest in its six model Surf family series starting at 23 feet, is new for 2024, and at first glance is virtually indistinguishable from its Sterndrive sibling.

While the R33 Surf may look like the R33 Sterndrive, there is one major difference - the sterndrive power itself. The Sterndrive series models are, depending on size, powered by the normal aft-facing single or twin Volvo Penta or MerCruiser sterndrives. All Surf series models are powered by Volvo Penta’s relatively new Forward-Facing DuoProp sterndrives which were introduced in 2015 to great fanfare and industry accolades. In fact, this new R33 Surf is Cobalt’s first-ever model powered by twin engine FWD sterndrives with Joystick control.

Cobalt offers four choices of Volvo Penta FWD sterndrive power for its R33 Surf. You may choose a pair of 5.3 L V8 power in either 300 or 350 horsepower each or a pair of 6.2 L V8 power in either 380 or 430 horsepower each. All four choices feature cast aluminum blocks, heads, and oil pans, along with variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, closed pressurized freshwater cooling systems, plus amazing water-in-oil and water-in-bellows sensors with alarms. Electronic Vessel Control (EVC) and Joystick Control are standard with every choice, as is Powertrim Assistant (PTA), cruise control, and a trip computer. Autopilot and Dynamic Positioning System (DPS) are optionally available.

Forward-Facing DuoProp sterndrives place the counter-rotating propellers beneath the hull of the boat over two-feet further forward than normal aft-facing sterndrive propellers. This places the propellers much further away from wake surfers or other watersports participants, and thus adds a considerable margin of safety. Because the propellers are ahead of the sterndrive “leg” and operating in clean water beneath the hull and “pulling” the boat rather than “pushing” the boat, a FWD drive is not only more efficient but steering is improved and noise is reduced. Its trim capabilities help form better wakes, too.

Full surf control of the FWD drives is exercised via the standard Garmin dual 8610 Glass Cockpit touchscreens. You may optionally upgrade to dual Garmin 8612 touchscreens. GPS-based speed controls are standard and include Water Sport Control which allows you to customize your priorities for wakesurfing, wakeboarding, or waterskiing simply by personalizing speed, trim, and up to 21 personal individual wake settings.

Tow Mode is part of this system and is ideal for wakeboarding and tubing. You simply provide full throttle and the boat automatically accelerates to your pre-set engine speed (RPM) without exceeding it and compensates for changes in load which will occur when the boat or the skier turns sharply. You can use the touchscreen to increase or decrease your RPM (speed) as desired while you are in motion.

Combined with all of the above is Cobalt’s Custom Wave Technology surf system which starts with Surf Gate™ which incorporates high-speed hydraulic actuators mounted on each side of the transom below the water line to create your choice of size and shape of a surfable wave on either side of the boat. It accomplishes this by effectively lengthening one side of the hull. The personalized settings will include size, shape, and left or right-side preferences for each rider and can be altered at will. This is all in concert of course with the Volvo Penta FWD sterndrives.

I have not yet mentioned ballast tanks. Almost all surf boats have fillable ballast tanks and filling and emptying them appropriately to create the customized stern wave of choice is incorporated as part of the touchscreen automatic personalized setup. However, due to the physical size and weight and twin power of the R33 Surf, it is one of the only “surf” boats that does not require ballast tanks to create waves most desired for your choice of watersports. As a starting point for setting up your wave, Cobalt has incorporated into the system two starter profiles: Mellow and Steep.

As mentioned at the outset, Cobalt’s R33 Surf, aside from the Volvo Penta FWD power and the Surf Gate™ technology, is virtually identical to its “twin” sibling R33 Sterndrive model. As with other Cobalt models, the all-composite construction utilizes Kevlar reinforcement in the hull and with its Deep-V twenty-one degrees of deadrise, the ride will be silky smooth even in the rough stuff.

Full surround bow seating with stretch-out lounging with fold-down armrests is standard with storage beneath the seat cushions as well as an ice chest. A bow center cushion and portable table are optionally available. A bow walk-thru door is standard. Within the portside passenger console is a sizable head compartment complete with Porta-Potti and sink console. A VacuFlush head is available. Within the starboard side helm console is a cuddy cabin with L-shaped seating that converts quickly to a full-beam queen-size berth. A storage cabinet is provided as are USB-C charging stations and cup holders. A built-in 22” smart TV is optional.

Beneath the composite helm eyebrow above the dash are the dual Garmin touchscreens. A custom leather-wrapped stainless steel tilt steering wheel is standard, as is a digital compass, a depth and water temperature gauge package, hour meters, and USB/USB-C receptacle charger. A VHF radio, wireless charger, XM radio, and radar are available. The extra-wide helm seat with flip-up forward bolster adjusts electrically. A fold-down footrest is optional. The standard stereo includes six speakers, iPod, USB, and MP3 ports with dash remote.

The extra-wide passenger seat with forward flip-up bolster also swivels to allow the occupant to be part of the cockpit goings on. Aft of this seat is a huge L-shaped lounge seat which continues the length of the port side of the cockpit and across the wide stern to the starboard side walk-thru to the swim platform. A built-in 36-quart cooler is provided. Aft of the starboard side helm seat is another but smaller L-shaped seating area. This seat may be optionally replaced with a galley unit consisting of a freshwater sink, refrigerator, and storage cabinets. An electric grill is optionally available.

Aft of this on the starboard hull side is an optional opening boarding door. Across the transom is a dual sundeck convertible lounger which provides both forward and aft-facing seating be it upright or full out lounging. Beneath the aft portion of this sundeck is access to Cobalt’s available Splash & Stow inflatable island or mat. This entire lounger is hinged to lift electrically for access to the engines.

Additional standard equipment includes Sof-Trac Mat on the swim platform which itself features the center Cobalt flip-down swim step. An electric forward-folding arch with rotating sunshade and with Roswell T2 wakeboard racks with clamps is also standard. Bow and aft shade sails are available. You may also want to choose the hardtop with the arch and with or without an electric awning.

You probably want to add bow and/or cockpit tonneau covers and/or a complete mooring cover. Make the swim platform hydraulically operated for even greater watersports enjoyment or make it teak instead of fiberglass for a richer look. Docking lights, underwater lighting, transom lighting, transom tilt switches, and a cold-water transom shower are all available as is a transom stereo remote if you upgrade to the Premium sound or the Harmon Kardon Platinum sound systems both of which provide additional arch and transom speakers.

You may want to choose Sea Grass, Sof-Trac Mat or even teak flooring in selected areas of the interior and different choices of trim packages and throw pillows. A cockpit dinette table is available as is cockpit heating. DC air conditioning is available for the cabin and head compartments. You likely want shorepower, an electric anchor windlass with chain and thru-hull anchor, Zip Wake trim tabs, a Roswell rearview mirror, and an air compressor with holder. If you regularly run in rough water, you may want the exceptional Seakeeper 2 gyroscopic stabilizer. Your guests will thank you.

The Cobalt R33 Surf may look outwardly like its sibling R33 Sterndrive, but if particular watersports fun is a priority in your boating lifestyle the R33 Surf will create a stern wake to satisfy the best of the bunch as well as delivering the best in luxurious cruising enjoyment.

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Length: 33'4" 10.16 m
Beam: 10'6" 3.2 m
Dry weight: 11,793 lbs 5,349 kg
Fuel Capacity: 150 gal 568 L
Base Engine / Drive: Twin Volvo Penta FWD Sterndrives
Engine HP: 300, 350, 380, 430
Fuel Type: Gas
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