Boat Buyer's Guide 2014
Author: Alan Jones
Very few companies are old enough to have their birthday read by Willard Scott on the “Today Show,” but Larson celebrates its 101st birthday this year, and if the new Super Sport 23 IO (aka SS Sport) is any indication of what the company’s second century will bring, it’s clear this centenarian hasn’t lost its touch. The early Larsons had some serious attitude, and the Super Sport 23 follows suit with a bold design that caters to skiers while giving spectators a comfortable ride.
Our test boat is fitted with the optional wakeboard tower, and it’s not just there for show. At 2000 rpm, the SS Sport ran at 21.8 mph, creating a well-formed wake for your launching pleasure. At around 30 mph, the wake flattens to assist slalom skiers in their slashing exploits. Powered by a huge MerCruiser 8.2L, which produces 380 hp, it had plenty of attitude. Larson uses a patented Duo Delta Conic VEC SofRide hull, which reduces stern squat and helps the SS Sport ride very level with reduced bowrise on launch without even using trim tabs. It got on plane in 3.4 seconds and reached 30 mph in only 7 seconds. Top speed was an impressive 58.2 mph with the 8.2L engine, but owners can save more than $10K by dropping down to the 350 MAG, which produces 300 hp and should still provide plenty of thrill factor. The VEC hull is built using a closed-molded method, and the process is automated to provide the ultimate in consistency and strength while giving you a lifetime structural hull warranty. The ride is far softer than you would expect for a boat with a moderate 16 degrees of deadrise at the stern, and its hull felt incredibly solid crossing over the waves.
Stretching 23 feet long, the SS Sport has plenty of room aboard for 10 passengers to sit on the stern bench, in the bowriding section and on the pair of high-back adjustable captain’s buckets. The stylish interior features a carbon fiber-look upholstery that compliments the hull graphics, which announce its attitude from afar. The extended swim platform sits low to the water and is surfaced with a soft gray mat for comfort and offers exceptional grip for wet feet. Because Larson knows how you roll, the SS Sport comes with a standard color-coordinated painted trailer with chrome rims.