Pro Boat Shockwave 26 Brushless Review

6/9/2010 by Gary Katzer

Copyright:© 2010 Horizon Hobby, Inc.

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     Anyone who has followed our videos, articles or podcasts knows that I am a racer. Racing is what got me interested in this hobby and has kept me involved in it too. There are some days, however, when, while racing is fun, I just want to get some time behind the trigger and goof off a bit. Sometimes I don't want to worry about competition. Sometimes I just want to go out and have some fun. That's where one of the latest offerings from Pro Boat comes into play---the ShockWave 26 Brushless.

     When I first saw this latest ShockWave I was quite excited as it has a lot of innovative features to add to the "ShockWave Family Legacy". It is the first ShockWave to incorporate a brushless motor and speed control. It is the first ShockWave to include three different trim schemes right in the box. It is also the first ShockWave to feature Spektrum's 2.4GHz DSM2 Marine technology. With all that's new it's good to see proven features also make their return. This ShockWave, like the others, features a Deep-V hull design, stainless steel running hardware, comes out of the box ready to run and is sure to bring a smile to your face. With a batch of freshly charged Dynamite Li-Po batteries ready, it was time to hit the water and see if the ShockWave 26 Brushless could set the water ablaze.

Speed Specs
ShockWave 26 Brushless
Manufacturer: Pro Boat
Part Number: PRB3150
Vehicle Class/Type: Brushless Deep-V
Target Audience: Experienced Speed Boat Enthusiast
Kit/RTR/BND/Race Roller: RTR

Test Items Used
Dynamite 7.4V 5300mAh 2S 25C Li-Po, Hard Case: Deans (DYN5360D)
Dynamite Passport Ultra AC/DC (DYN4064)

Shoreline Notes:
     Before going out to run the ShockWave 26 Brushless, there were a few things I had to do to get the boat ready for action. First, I had to apply the decals, but this led to my first dilemma---what color should I make this boat? After some debating I settled on the "Spektrum Orange" theme, as I thought it would pop the best on the water for the camera to pick up for the video, plus in my personal opinion it had a little more aggressive look to it than the blue or yellow decal sets. Once the decals were applied, I took a minute to glue the antenna mount to the hull. You can use CA, Shoe Goo, Zap-A-Dap or even canopy glue to secure the antenna mount. Whatever glue you use, you'll want to make sure you give it plenty of time to set properly before hitting the water. The worse thing that could happen is have the mount come loose and have the antenna fall into the water because the glue didn't properly set, possibly affecting your radio reception. Beyond that, the only other things I needed to do were install the AA-batteries (not included), charge up the Dynamite Li-Po packs, load up the car and head to the lake.
     Getting to test a boat always makes me smile. For one thing, it means it's warm out and winter is a distant memory. For another, what is there to not like about running a boat? Before hitting the lake, I took a few minutes to perform a ground-range check. I normally don't do this but I was feeling pretty confident that I would really want to take this boat to the extremes and wanted to make sure everything was working as it should. The overall conditions were pretty good for the initial outing for the ShockWave 26 Brushless with temps in the low 80s, a bit of overcast and a slight breeze---all-in-all pretty close to perfect. I launched the boat into the water, blipped the throttle and prepared for an afternoon of fun.

Top Speed/Acceleration:
     From the first squeeze of the trigger, I had to pick my jaw off the ground because the ShockWave 26 Brushless has tremendous power out-of-the-hole and at top speed. It's a balance that was achieved here because with cars and trucks often you have to compromise between one or the other with the gearing. You don't have that as much with boats, as they depend on the power system and the prop to get the job done. This boat gets up and on-plane in no-time flat and eats up the water in a hurry. I was extremely impressed with the top speed of this boat!
     One of my favorite boats is the Formula FASTech which is a bullet on the water. But that boat has twice the voltage and more pitch to the prop. I've absolutely loved driving that boat each and every time I've been able to---but it had better look out because the ShockWave 26 Brushless is a serious contender. True, it doesn't have the same voltage surging through the motor system, but until I had gone out with the FASTech after I was done running the ShockWave 26 Brushless, I felt like the ShockWave 26 Brushless was just as fast. Now running the FASTech again did refresh my memories and it was indeed faster, however, the fact that I had the perception that the ShockWave 26 Brushless could even hang with that boat is a serious testament to the capabilities it has under the hull.

     The ShockWave 26 Brushless uses a steerable drive system that, unlike an offset rudder, provides a very direct feeling behind the wheel. It also provides a better balance of steering from left-to-right where an offset rudder can often provide more steering throw in one direction than another. Whether at low-speed or high-speed, the ShockWave felt very locked-in and stable. It never wanted to chine-walk at speed and really provided a very confidence-inspiring feel behind the wheel.
     As I mention in the video, I did feel like the boat had a slight cavation tendency out of the box which surprised me. Between runs, I did make a few tweaks to the boat to try to remedy this. First, and this was the easiest, I moved the Li-Po battery as far rearward as possible. This moved the majority of the weight bias reward to help as much as possible. While I was swapping packs, I did take note of just how light these packs are versus the Ni-MH that I used to run. I am sure that the cavitation issue came out of the use of a Li-Po and that the boat is setup out-of-the-box for the weight of a Ni-MH. After moving the pack, I also changed the prop height and angle via the adjustments on the stern. With these changes the cavitation was eliminated just as I had hoped.
     The ShockWave 26 Brushless is a joy to drive and will leave you with a goofy-lookin' smile on your face all day long. Whether you're jumping the wakes you've left behind you, doing doughnuts at-speed or just cruising around, this boat performs. Take some time and make sure you get your prop height and weight placement right based on the battery you plan on using and the ShockWave will respond.

     The one criticism I have had about the Formula FASTech is that when there's no throttle input, the boat doesn't want to turn very well. That is not the case with the ShockWave 26, and I am convinced that is due to the steerable drive system. With minimal throttle input I felt like I had total control over where the ShockWave was going, how fast or slow it was going to get there and more. Even when I cut power, the boat still felt like it was responding to my inputs without any fade or numbness that may occur when there isn't any water being pushed by the prop. It felt completely locked-in, and I was very pleased.

Stock Electronics:
     This is the first boat to include Pro Boat's own Spektrum DSM2-equipped transmitter. It definitely resembles other transmitters, specifically some Losi transmitters, but the internals are specific to this boat. What sets this radio apart is the fact that it does feature Spektrum's Marine Technology and it works perfectly in this application. I never had a single hiccup or issue with the transmitter or receiver all day, which was not a surprise to me.
     The transmitter itself isn't just a bare-bones (what I'll call a "typical" RTR transmitter) as it features honest-to-goodness throttle and steering endpoint adjustments in the base. It also has typical throttle and steering trim adjustments that you would expect. In the end this is a very good radio system that works well and is a good addition to this boat.
     I was a little shocked with the stock ESC for a few reasons. The biggest shocker was the first time I pushed the "brakes" and reverse kicked in! I clearly did not read the manual closely enough because I was not expecting reverse. I am very glad, however, that the ESC has this feature as I did use it a few times. The other shocker was just how smooth this boat is and how it delivers the power. It was a nice surprise overall.

     There's very little not to like about the ShockWave 26. I will say that I had so much fun with the ShockWave 26 Brushless…it's fast, fun, handles well and is a great addition to anyone's collection. I really can't say how impressed with the overall speed and handling I was. I was caught off-guard with how quick it was and, even though it wasn't, my initial reaction was that it was as fast as other boats I've run with twin battery packs. That was a very impressive feeling that I wasn't expecting. This is one boat I am certainly going to be spending a lot more time with. Thankfully, I have some quality time scheduled on a lakefront in the very near future to get even more running time behind the wheel of the ShockWave 26 Brushless.