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Slalom Frog

Help with wakeboard boat "necessities"

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Slalom Frog

Hi Crew-

I have a good friend that would like to buy a wakeboard boat for his family (two teenaged children) and he has asked me for some help. Seeing that I am more geared towards skiing, I thought that the crew could provide some valuable insight. Basically, what features/options would suggest, regardless of brand. This boat will not/does not need to be top of the line, just a good all around family oriented wakeboard boat. Some of the areas of consideration:

  • What is the minimum hp the engine should be?
  • What is the minimum amount of ballast the boat should hold?
  • What version of speed control?
  • If it's a Malibu, which style wedge?
  • Anything else that I may be missing.....

Thanks,

Mike

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jetskipro550

Many answers to your questions and they depend on lots of things.

1. Depends on the size of the boat, if its a new/newer it should have at least 300HP IMO

2. Doesn't really matter if it doesn't have any ballast, more important question is their room for ballast (ie v-drive) fat sacks can be added easily by your friend or a dealer. A cheap solution is just buying bags and a pump or two and not plumbing it all in.

3. PP, zero off, or Malibu cruise...depends on make/model/year

4. Depends on the hull and year. They all get the job done, some give you more options (power and free floating)

5. If they want to wakeboard make sure they are getting a v-drive.

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Bill_AirJunky

We had a lot of fun behind a 1994 MC 205, riding wakeboards & foils. It kicked up a nice wake with only 700 or 800 lbs of ballast & a 265 hp engine. The Malibu equivalent would be the Sunsetter made in the mid - late 90s, which is available with the Wedge.

If the budget is the driving force, both these boats would be great for anyone. It won't have the monster wake but will be good & not cost you a bundle to run.

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MalibuTime

I would stick to EFI, and avoid carbs. I am sure that there are lots of folks out there that have flawless carb operation, but, just my .02.

Speed control is a must, but can also be added if it is missing.

A good, solid tower. I have seen the shakey Tige tower video, and people talk about problems with the Tuna towers, I'm sure there are more bad ones out there. If its not a Bu, post on Onlyinboards or Wakeside to ask about other brands.

Agree with 300+ HP Most late model V-Drives will have 310 or more.

Test drive. Don't buy anything without an on the water test. Get a friend that wakeboards to board behind it.

Low hours. THere are lots of well cared for boats with 500 hours, but there are also so many used boats that I doubt I would buy anything used with over 200 hours. There are lots of nice boats families buy, don't get out much after the first year or two, and could be 5,6,7 years old and low hours.

Tandem axle trailer w/brakes.

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Intense
I would stick to EFI, and avoid carbs. I am sure that there are lots of folks out there that have flawless carb operation, but, just my .02.

Speed control is a must, but can also be added if it is missing.

A good, solid tower. I have seen the shakey Tige tower video, and people talk about problems with the Tuna towers, I'm sure there are more bad ones out there. If its not a Bu, post on Onlyinboards or Wakeside to ask about other brands.

Agree with 300+ HP Most late model V-Drives will have 310 or more.

Test drive. Don't buy anything without an on the water test. Get a friend that wakeboards to board behind it.

Low hours. THere are lots of well cared for boats with 500 hours, but there are also so many used boats that I doubt I would buy anything used with over 200 hours. There are lots of nice boats families buy, don't get out much after the first year or two, and could be 5,6,7 years old and low hours.

Tandem axle trailer w/brakes.

I disagree on the hours (but I'm biased). You could find a boat with 100 hours that would poorly cared for or you could find one with 1000 hours that has always been maintained. Personally, I'd take the 1000 hour boat. These Chevy engines are stout motors. As long as they're well cared for, there's no reason they can't go 1000+ hours. My motor is just shy of 900 and she still runs strong.

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Brodie

The first question that needs to be answered is what kind of budget are we talking about?

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SCOTTDOMINE
I would stick to EFI, and avoid carbs. I am sure that there are lots of folks out there that have flawless carb operation, but, just my .02.

Speed control is a must, but can also be added if it is missing.

A good, solid tower. I have seen the shakey Tige tower video, and people talk about problems with the Tuna towers, I'm sure there are more bad ones out there. If its not a Bu, post on Onlyinboards or Wakeside to ask about other brands.

Agree with 300+ HP Most late model V-Drives will have 310 or more.

Test drive. Don't buy anything without an on the water test. Get a friend that wakeboards to board behind it.

Low hours. THere are lots of well cared for boats with 500 hours, but there are also so many used boats that I doubt I would buy anything used with over 200 hours. There are lots of nice boats families buy, don't get out much after the first year or two, and could be 5,6,7 years old and low hours.

Tandem axle trailer w/brakes.

I disagree on the hours (but I'm biased). You could find a boat with 100 hours that would poorly cared for or you could find one with 1000 hours that has always been maintained. Personally, I'd take the 1000 hour boat. These Chevy engines are stout motors. As long as they're well cared for, there's no reason they can't go 1000+ hours. My motor is just shy of 900 and she still runs strong.

I agree w/ your disagreement :unsure: A well maintained Bu w/ more hours would always be a better option for me. I'm a stickler for maintaining my stuff and would put my Bu (w/ 985 hours) up against almost any Bu of the same year in terms of reliability and condition. And the motor is still going strong!!!! JMO though! I would just be sure to make positive that the boat I was looking at is well taken-care of. One thing that I always look at when buying something used from people is not only how the Bu seems to be maintained, but how their other things seem as well. Does their yard appear to be well manicured and neat? Is their garage tidy? Are their vehicles shiny and clean? All of these are good indicators of someone that takes pride in the things that they own. If they take pride in everything else they have, then I'm sure they take pride in their boat as well.

Edited by SCOTTDOMINE

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Slalom Frog
The first question that needs to be answered is what kind of budget are we talking about?

I believe the budget to be flexible. Basically, that's what I'm trying to help him with, what are things that are "needed" in order to have a nice, family oriented wakeboard boat. I believe that the budget will be developed from this list, there is no hard budget. To some people, a top notch sound system is a necessity, not in this case.

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Brodie
The first question that needs to be answered is what kind of budget are we talking about?

I believe the budget to be flexible. Basically, that's what I'm trying to help him with, what are things that are "needed" in order to have a nice, family oriented wakeboard boat. I believe that the budget will be developed from this list, there is no hard budget. To some people, a top notch sound system is a necessity, not in this case.

For a wakeboard boat, start with an EFI powered (preferably PCM or Indmar) v-drive that has tracking fins (it sounds elementary but not all have them). From there it is all subjective. Most necessities can always be added later, such as Perfect Pass, board racks, tower speakers, etc. Most newer v-drives when properly weighted will satisfy most riders, but each model has it's unique advantages and disadvantages-mainly handling and wake shape, and this is where the buyers need to really look at and drive the different brands.

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Bill_AirJunky
The first question that needs to be answered is what kind of budget are we talking about?

I believe the budget to be flexible. Basically, that's what I'm trying to help him with, what are things that are "needed" in order to have a nice, family oriented wakeboard boat. I believe that the budget will be developed from this list, there is no hard budget. To some people, a top notch sound system is a necessity, not in this case.

Well in that case, the necessities others have listed are an absolute.....20' - 21' v-drive, EFI, Perfect Pass/Malibu Cruise, 340 hp., good tower, rear ballast of at least 500 lbs, mid ship ballast of 500 lbs.

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SacRiverRat

Beyond what is already mentioned.. I think a swivel drivers seat is necessary. And one that doesnt' jam up against the arm rest when you turn. Not all boats have this, or have one that functions well (malibu's is great)

Having driven boats that don't swivel, it is a huge pain to talk to your rider, by turning in the chair..

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MalibuTime
I would stick to EFI, and avoid carbs. I am sure that there are lots of folks out there that have flawless carb operation, but, just my .02.

Speed control is a must, but can also be added if it is missing.

A good, solid tower. I have seen the shakey Tige tower video, and people talk about problems with the Tuna towers, I'm sure there are more bad ones out there. If its not a Bu, post on Onlyinboards or Wakeside to ask about other brands.

Agree with 300+ HP Most late model V-Drives will have 310 or more.

Test drive. Don't buy anything without an on the water test. Get a friend that wakeboards to board behind it.

Low hours. THere are lots of well cared for boats with 500 hours, but there are also so many used boats that I doubt I would buy anything used with over 200 hours. There are lots of nice boats families buy, don't get out much after the first year or two, and could be 5,6,7 years old and low hours.

Tandem axle trailer w/brakes.

I disagree on the hours (but I'm biased). You could find a boat with 100 hours that would poorly cared for or you could find one with 1000 hours that has always been maintained. Personally, I'd take the 1000 hour boat. These Chevy engines are stout motors. As long as they're well cared for, there's no reason they can't go 1000+ hours. My motor is just shy of 900 and she still runs strong.

I agree w/ your disagreement :unsure: A well maintained Bu w/ more hours would always be a better option for me. I'm a stickler for maintaining my stuff and would put my Bu (w/ 985 hours) up against almost any Bu of the same year in terms of reliability and condition. And the motor is still going strong!!!! JMO though! I would just be sure to make positive that the boat I was looking at is well taken-care of. One thing that I always look at when buying something used from people is not only how the Bu seems to be maintained, but how their other things seem as well. Does their yard appear to be well manicured and neat? Is their garage tidy? Are their vehicles shiny and clean? All of these are good indicators of someone that takes pride in the things that they own. If they take pride in everything else they have, then I'm sure they take pride in their boat as well.

I didn't say there weren't good boats with lot of hours. Just that, for me, "there are also so many used boats that I doubt I would buy anything used with over 200 hours" Hours also related to wear and tear and sun exposure to everything else. In general, the higher the hours, the higher the risk of a failure of any component or material.

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IceMelted
I would stick to EFI, and avoid carbs. I am sure that there are lots of folks out there that have flawless carb operation, but, just my .02.

Speed control is a must, but can also be added if it is missing.

A good, solid tower. I have seen the shakey Tige tower video, and people talk about problems with the Tuna towers, I'm sure there are more bad ones out there. If its not a Bu, post on Onlyinboards or Wakeside to ask about other brands.

Agree with 300+ HP Most late model V-Drives will have 310 or more.

Test drive. Don't buy anything without an on the water test. Get a friend that wakeboards to board behind it.

Low hours. THere are lots of well cared for boats with 500 hours, but there are also so many used boats that I doubt I would buy anything used with over 200 hours. There are lots of nice boats families buy, don't get out much after the first year or two, and could be 5,6,7 years old and low hours.

Tandem axle trailer w/brakes.

I disagree on the hours (but I'm biased). You could find a boat with 100 hours that would poorly cared for or you could find one with 1000 hours that has always been maintained. Personally, I'd take the 1000 hour boat. These Chevy engines are stout motors. As long as they're well cared for, there's no reason they can't go 1000+ hours. My motor is just shy of 900 and she still runs strong.

I agree w/ your disagreement :unsure: A well maintained Bu w/ more hours would always be a better option for me. I'm a stickler for maintaining my stuff and would put my Bu (w/ 985 hours) up against almost any Bu of the same year in terms of reliability and condition. And the motor is still going strong!!!! JMO though! I would just be sure to make positive that the boat I was looking at is well taken-care of. One thing that I always look at when buying something used from people is not only how the Bu seems to be maintained, but how their other things seem as well. Does their yard appear to be well manicured and neat? Is their garage tidy? Are their vehicles shiny and clean? All of these are good indicators of someone that takes pride in the things that they own. If they take pride in everything else they have, then I'm sure they take pride in their boat as well.

I didn't say there weren't good boats with lot of hours. Just that, for me, "there are also so many used boats that I doubt I would buy anything used with over 200 hours" Hours also related to wear and tear and sun exposure to everything else. In general, the higher the hours, the higher the risk of a failure of any component or material.

I've had boats on both sides of the hour discussion, and I think that most important is the maintenance and proper care. I bought my first Malibu (97 Response LX) as a second owner boat, and it had about 1100 hours on it when I bought it. It ran great and I never had a single problem with it. Sold it four years later for $250 less than I paid for it. Now I've got a 05 V-ride with less than 50 hours on it, again, I maintain it just like any other vehicle I have and expect it to last just as long as the Response. I just don't see how someone would prefer a high hour boat over a low hour boat. Just because I dont get 100+ hours a year doesn't mean I don't take care of the regular maintenance.

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jetskipro550

We just sold our boat with 612 hours and it ran like it was brand new. The engine and transmission were both in perfect condition and I would bet they would easily last another 600 hours. I wouldn't be afraid of high hours so long as the boat was well taken care of.

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Slalom Frog

Thanks to everyone for their input. It helped me come up with a good "base" list without forgetting some items.

Mike

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