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flyinfoil

Echelons

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flyinfoil

I am looking for some opinions on the Malibu Echelon, in general. My primary water activities are barefooting and slalom. Price that I am willing to pay and knowing there are other options, etc. aside....what is the summary on the performance and wake characteristics that some of you have experienced. That is all I am seeking. I do not want to sound rude, but I would really like to hear from those who have actually skied behind an Echelon. Thanks ahead of time.

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msuwaterski

One of my slalom crew has a '95 Echelon. Of the 3 boats I ski behind regularly ('01 Sunsetter LXI, '96 MasterCraft 190 Pro), it's my least favorite. Here is why: I'm a 28'-32' off skier in the course. I start at 15 off where the wake is small but firm. At '22 off the hump is like hitting a brick wall. At '28 off the wake problems go away but then spray from the boat becomes noticeable. At 32 off the spray can sometimes make it hard for me to see well enough to line up for my gates.

The Pro's are that it gets out of the hole like a rocket and handles very well. When you drop the wedge the firm wake becomes your friend as it gives great pop for wake boarding

This is my opinion and my opinion only. Those of you Echelon owners please don't lambast me for my opinion.

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jk13

Those of you Echelon owners please don't lambast me for my opinion.

Not at all.

A few years back we had an M4 national champion (and this year's M3 regional champ) free ski behind my boat and my brother's '91 PS190. His comments on both were "there really hasn't been much change in wake performance after these two boats. Other than speed controls and extreme shortline spray, they ski pretty much like the newer boats." Now maybe he was being nice given the casual setting we were in, and he was a very complimentary person in general, but if the boat is set up right (prop, weight, etc.) it goes along with what I've read elsewhere.

He's obviously a 34mph skier in those classes and his first pass is 28 off, so that's his full rope and the length he skied our boats.

I free ski 15 off at 32 and have no issue at all with the wake. Tiny double wake at that length and no problems crossing at all. Occasionally I do drop to 22 off and have not noticed anything detrimental there either.

I don't foot but I know JB-Foot does and uses an armada of Echelons. There are plenty others here that do too.

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Mackie 12

what kind of skiing you doing? Shortline and course or free skiing? I run a sportster which is essentially the same boat and love it. I am relatively new to skiing (4th year) and my PB is 22 Off @ 30 Mph hitting all 6 and cannot justify going from a $10G boat to a $50G boat all because of wake characteristics that someone at my level can barely notice. Now once I get better or have some spare cash lying around my opinion might change.

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flyinfoil

To be honest, I no longer ski the course and have had a blast just free skiing and knocking around on an HO Freeride. So serious shortline is no longer a priority. I would say that 75% of my water time is barefooting, so a somewhat hard wake is preferable. I had a Sunsetter (which I loved), but had to sell it a while back due to a layoff. I regularly ski behind a PS190, with mixed emotions. I have also slalomed and footed behind a Nautique196 - liked it for slalom and hated it for footing (too much spray outside the curl and a very soft table). I used to do a great deal of hydrofoiling, but had to sell my foil at the same time I sold my Sunsetter.....grrr. I do know that my preference is to stay with Malibu, but just have to find the right one. This 61 year old guy is not ready to be dry docked yet. At any rate, thank you for the input.

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Mackie 12

the only thing I cannot comment on is footing........I am too scared to try anymore. The fact that I am half your age and still scared to do it is making me think I am a big wimp now..........

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DIE2SURF

With your description of intended use, I would think an Echelon would be great for you. I imagine a Response would fit the bill just as well.

Perhaps take a look at the resources section to see the different hulls offered in different boats and years of production. I would think the diamond hull would be best.

Edited by DIE2SURF

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coldwater-echelon

I am no expert or a champion skier but I have been very happy with the wake off my Echelon LX. I regularly free ski and run the course at 15' off and 30 mph and it suites me just fine. I don't foot, but two fiends of mine do and are very happy with my wake. They usually foot with a 100' line at 35 to 40 mph. I can ask them what specifically the like or don't like about it when I see them next.

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UWSkier

If you liked your Sunsetter, you will like an Echelon even better. They're the same hull but the Echelon is lighter.

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flyinfoil

Thanks guys - you have been a great help. Mackie 12 - Give footing another try....it isn't as bad as a lot of people say and it will give you another arrow to put in your quiver. If you like adrenaline rushes, it's one way to get them. Coldwater echelon - I would be interested in what your friends have to say. I also ski in the 90-100' range between 36-40 MPH, depending on the need. UWSkier - Good point on the weight of the 2 boats.....

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flyinfoil

Die2Surf - You have confirmed what I have heard elsewhere concerning the hull - thanks.

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Rednucleus

We use my buddy's 98 Sportster for the course and he loves it for barefooting. I have run the course with several tournament boats and have never found a wake I liked better. Noticed two Sportsters for sale recently on EBay

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Woodski

@flyinfoil: just an additional opinion, IMO the Echelon / Response (basically the 20' SV23 hull) is one of the best slalom / barefoot combo wakes. On the barefoot side, other than OB's, the Echelon / Response is as close to a Sanger as you can get. Great table and dish. As for slalom, the wake is very good and can be improved by getting rid of as much weight at the transom as you can, the boat really responds well to that. Pull the seat, run low fuel and don't put anything in the back all which helps a lot. I focus on slalom (shortline & course) and barefooting only and don't see other options that would match that usage combination. Full disclosure - my boat is heavily modified which has improved the slalom wake but no change to the footing wake. I also recommend a pylon for footing, makes tumbles and some tricks better. Good luck on your hunt.

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flyinfoil

Thanks Woodski. My group of footers have also been using the extended pylon for a few years now and have come to appreciate the benefits of a higher pull. I also agree on your weight saving tactics.....good stuff.

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UWSkier

Full disclosure - my boat is heavily modified which has improved the slalom wake but no change to the footing wake.

Howso?

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waterskier23

I'm on my 2nd summer w/ a '95 Echelon LX and have really enjoyed it considering the perf. / value mix. I primarily free ski @ 34 and will go down to 32' off for fun (used to be a course skier, just don't have easy access to one anymore) and enjoy the boat. My ski partners have an '06 Response LXI and an '07 Nautique 206. I love all the boats I get to ski behind, but IMO would probably slot it between the two w/ the LXI having the best characteristics. My opinion only... your mileage may vary.

I've got the 454 in mine, and it is strong on torque and top-end, but I only foot off the boom w/ a 5' bridle, so can't comment on the wake and table. Hope that helps, w/ a little bit of color.

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Sethro

The Echelon would be a fantastic choice for your intended use. I'll add a little to what UWSkier said about being the same hull. It is the same wetted surface at skiing speeds, as the extra length is out of the water and the sides are flared from the bottom up giving essentially the same width in the water as the Echelon. So skiing the Sunsetter is like skiing an Echelon with a few extra people on board.

I have no problems with spray behind an Echelon at -32 and -35......msuwaterski, is the boat evenly weighted when you are experiencing spray problems at -32? I will say the Echelon is pretty sensitive to weight distribution in the boat.

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Woodski

@UWskier: I assume you are asking what the mods are? Lots of aluminum in the engine bay including heads, intake & exhaust manifolds, circulation pump deleted, lightweight 4" exhaust started as a hp project (400 hp). Carbon fiber platform & rudder access cover, fuel tank moved to ski locker & transom is a ski locker now, all the pumps components for shower mounted in forward part of engine bay. Weight savings = 325 lbs & CG moved forward ~12". Modified chines also. It has been a fun project with excellent results.

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UWSkier

@UWskier: I assume you are asking what the mods are? Lots of aluminum in the engine bay including heads, intake & exhaust manifolds, circulation pump deleted, lightweight 4" exhaust started as a hp project (400 hp). Carbon fiber platform & rudder access cover, fuel tank moved to ski locker & transom is a ski locker now, all the pumps components for shower mounted in forward part of engine bay. Weight savings = 325 lbs & CG moved forward ~12". Modified chines also. It has been a fun project with excellent results.

Wow. Nice! Did you post a thread with pics of that by chance? Sounds pretty wicked!

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Woodski

@UWSkier: Thanks, it is a pretty awesome ski tug, super flat wakes, goes like a rocket and is much more nimble. I have not posted a thread on it, although commented on it in various threads and answered questions when they pop up. Every winter, I make a list of things to do on it and try to accomplish as many as possible. This project in phase 1 was to bump the horsepower up and as that went along the weight savings really improved the wake. The next phase has been to make the slalom wake as flat as possible and to upgrade an older boat to rival (or beat:) the new boats. With an abundance of power and light weight, it pulls me footing at 2/3 throttle. As it gets older, it becomes easier to be more aggressive and easier to drill holes in it if needed!

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footndale

A few nice ones just became available in Wisconsin, plus a sportster.

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footndale

If I understand correctly, there isn't much difference between the closed bow and open bow as far as performance. I really need to foot behind one.

Right now my preferences would be:

1. Sanger outboard

2. Flightcraft outboard

3. Echelon LX - more family friendly.

I like the gas savings of the outboard, but most Sangers have old engines so there would be expense to upgrade to newer E-Tec.

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JB-FOOT

If I understand correctly, there isn't much difference between the closed bow and open bow as far as performance. I really need to foot behind one.

Right now my preferences would be:

1. Sanger outboard

2. Flightcraft outboard

3. Echelon LX - more family friendly.

I like the gas savings of the outboard, but most Sangers have old engines so there would be expense to upgrade to newer E-Tec.

Guess I need to "chine" in,,,,pun intended

I have skied and footed both of the versions of closed and open bow

both 454's and 350's

Closed bow has a better wake for footing and skiing....

Closed bow is quicker and faster

with the right prop, you will foot comfortably at 80-85 feet behind the boat and can cross the wakes with your eyes closed, yes I said EYES CLOSED!

For tournament footing, you would not like the wakes curl because it is not pronounced and would be hard to judge crosses. also it will not hold you outside of the curl like a pure tournament barefoot boat will, but for a recreational footer, the lack of hard curl makes it just that much easier to foot.

The right or starboard side of the boat will produce more spray in short line slalom in your face (i am guessing prop rotation and tenderness of the hull cause this)

look for a 454 MPFI 390HP or a Monsoon 350 MPFI 320HP and you wont be sorry....Pass on a carburated version and you wont look back or be "wishing"

As for the closed bow vs. the open bow, in my opinion there is more USEABLE space in the closed bow, especially if you plan on using a fly high and not a tower. that front cable just gets in the way of the narrow bow seating in the LX.

Closed bow has tons of storage under the bow...the open bow (LX) has virtually NO storage to speak of except for the space behind the drivers seat on the floor.

in either version, take the back seat out and leave it where it belongs, in your basement....LOL. more space, less weight, and easier to step over to get to the swim platform.

Don't get me wrong, both versions will foot well, just the closed bow will foot a little better.

As for slalom, the closed bow will ski quite a bit better in my opinion.

And the Closed bow is just a couple of mile an hour faster and quicker to plane.

You did say you want to foot and to ski, right, you did not mention room for the whole family, the dog and the neighbors....so Go CLOSED Bow... :whistle:

If you have any more specific questions or want to foot and slalom behind a 454 or a 350 monsoon, look me up! or PM me

Look at my various videos and see the wakes behind these echelons and also our Flightcraft Closed Bow Sportsters (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH A REGULAR MALIBU SPORTSTER)

Here is what the wake looks like from a footers perspective at 85' and 41 mph behind a 454 closed bow 1994 Echelon with an Acme 3blade 1257 13x14 0.135 cup prop (and yes props make a difference)

By the way, if ya wanna ski, I would pass on a tournament barefoot outboard boat...the curl is too hard for slalom but great for tournament footing...just my humble opinion.

Edited by JB-FOOT

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JB-FOOT

here is the wake behind a 1997 Closed Bow Echelon with a 350 Monsoon 320HP from the view IN the boat.

85' total line length and the original stock 3 blade SS prop...

the boat runs well and is smooth, the sound quality was the camera, not the motor...LOL

Edited by JB-FOOT

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JB-FOOT

Hull spray on a 1994 Closed Bow Echelon

with a boat load of guys with NO boom extension....do not need one on an Echelon (you do on a Response)

Hull spray on a 1997 Closed Bow Echelon

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