Gallery: The “Bout Time” Barren River Lake, KY MTPWC Ride (Video)


We had only received our 2019 Sea-Doo Wake Pro 230 a couple of weeks earlier and frankly, hadn’t had the time to fully break-in the Sea-Doo’s supercharged engine. Per the manufacturer’s recommendation, the “Break-In Period” takes 10 hours before the watercraft can be operated at full throttle for a sustained period.

The occasional burst of speed is perfectly fine – in fact, during this period, it’s prolonged wide open throttle or even cruising speeds that are detrimental during the break-in period. Basically, you’re supposed to change things up quite often. Just don’t keep the engine at one speed for more than 30 seconds at a time.

Unfortunately, that was going to be a tall order to fill as we joined the Middle Tennessee Personal Watercraft Club for its ride on the Barren River Lake today. Joining a couple dozen others for the first ride of the season, we knew it would be the perfect opportunity to push our Sea-Doo Wake Pro past the 5 hours mark, allowing us access to full speed.

Sea-Doo limits its supercharged 230 and 300 series engines during the first 5 hours of operation. This is done by the engine management system to protect itself from immediate strenuous use. Once the Sea-Doo surpasses the 5 hour mark, engine performance will progressively increase, allowing the runabout to reach its peak top speed.

Since we were riding with a large group and with underage passengers, we kept the Sea-Doo’s Intelligent Throttle Control program in “Touring” mode. Sport mode would have to wait until we racked up the required 10 hours of operation.

Today’s forecast was less than appetizing as well; gray skies with low hanging clouds, cooler-than-normal temperatures and a lingering threat of rain leading towards thunderstorms later in the afternoon. While we donned our swimsuits, long sleeve shirts and hoodies were worn beneath our Slippery life vests.

Excited to explore Kentucky’s 10,100 acre Barren River Lake for the first time, we were impressed to see its water levels some 18 feet above normal, increasing its maximum depth of 118 feet closer to 130 feet.

At an elevation of 465 feet we weren’t much higher than our own hometown lake of Old Hickory. Following the pack of naturally aspirated and supercharged Yamaha FX’s and a lone 300-horsepower Sea-Doo GTX Limited, we ventured through the serpentine river valley, around its 3 islands and deep into its many fingers.

Although normally intended for pulling wake boards, skaters and the occasional raft, we opted to leave the retractable ski pylon that comes standard to the Wake Pro 230 at home, equipping the 4.2-gallon LinQ Cooler to the rear.

Stocked with snacks, drinks and ice, the 4.2 gallon (or 16-liter) cooler is molded short, so we went with smaller sized water bottles or sodas. We happily stopped for a granola bar or a handful of trail mix between longer stretches of our 80 mile excursion, enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with riding up to a deserted stretch of water.

After lunch at the Barren River Lake State Resort Park and later topping off our skis’ fuel tanks, we scampered off for a few more miles of exploration. Clouds had gathered overhead by this time and the smooth water we had enjoyed in the morning was starting to churn.

Although priced with an MSRP of $14,799, our Wake Pro gratefully came to us from Sea-Doo with the optional BRP Premium Audio System, allowing us to sing along to some of our favorite songs as we rode.

Sure, our signing leaves much to be desired, but the clear crisp sound coming from our speakers was music to our ears. As we’ve said before, if you’re planning on purchasing a new ST3-based Sea-Doo this year, don’t do so without the Premium Audio package. Seriously.

By this time, our group leader, Tom Hill had planned on navigating a path for us to see the lake’s dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers back in 1964, but the first drops of rain began to spatter down.

As we sped back so did the rain fall. Knowing our time was short (if not completely up), we circled around towards the launch ramp and began the process of packing up and strapping down our machines for the drive home.

With our Wake Pro 230 finally broken in, we know were ready to kick off the riding season in style. Once again, it was a real treat to join the Middle Tennessee Personal Watercraft Club for another one-day adventure and look forward to many more to come.

Additional photography provided by Middle Tennessee Personal Watercraft Club.

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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