Volvo Penta "Forward Drive": A Sign of the Times


The fastest-growing water sport these days is wakesurfing, a natural evolution of wakeboarding. The critical difference is, of course, that in wake surfing the person on the board riding the wake is not being towed and is relatively close to the stern of the boat, sliding down the wake toward the boat’s transom. That is why, heretofore, virtually all wakesurfing has been done behind inboard-powered boats where the prop is under the boat and not protruding behind the stern where an accident might occur. 

This reality has all but shut the door on conventional sterndrive boats for use in the newly-popular sport of wakesurfing – until now. In February Volvo Penta unveiled its latest engineering masterstroke called the Forward Drive which mixes the concept of the sterndrive with the forward-facing DuoProp configuration of an IPS pod drive. The result is props just below the transom and both under and forward of the lower drive unit. Volvo Penta tells us that this has effectively moved the spinning props 26” forward from where they would have been with a conventional sterndrive, as well as placing the large metal drive unit between the props and potential trouble.

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