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powbmps

Malibu Advice

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powbmps

Just got into skiing and am planning on picking up a boat in the next couple weeks (for slalom, not worried about wakeboarding or surfing). Looking at three older Malibu's (under $8K):

1995 Response

1995 Echelon

1999 Sporster

All are closed bows. Just looking for some pro's and cons of each model.

Thanks!

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Woodski

Pros: All great boats to start. Echelon and Response will have the best slalom wake of the three as they are virtually the same (both ride on the SV23 hull), Echelon will have more features/creature comforts as it was at the top end for price point in '95 and the flagship model for Malibu at the time. Echelon and Response both were AWSA approved tournament towboats, and pulled the US Open several times, so top notch slalom wakes for that era. All three are fully composite construction, no rot issues. Sportser will handle like a go kart as it is smaller / lighter than the other two. All three are excellent, but the Sporty is the best barefoot boat if that is a consideration.

Cons: Sporty will have the hardest wake of the three (Narrower hull), so I would demo at least the Sporty and one of the other two for wake comparisons (the Response and Echelon will be the same). If the Echelon has a Computron, expect it to either not work or fail on you, and no replacement parts are available. If the '99 has the HDS system, there have been issues with that system, review threads on this site for info (not sure if the '99 Sporty had it or not).

For slalom use, my selection would be either the Response or Echelon and condition / price would be the decider as both boats offer great wakes.

Check the Resource section on this site as there is lots of information available to review (boat and engine brochures, specs, etc).

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tvano

sporty will have very little storage

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Baddog

I am partial, but take a look at and ski behind a Sunsetter. A little taller wake but still very nice to ski, but the addition of the Open Bow gives much more room for extra people.

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TCdave

Our group skis the course behind a 2012 response, a 2004 sunsetter, my 99 sporty and sometimes a hydrodyne, outboard. I prefer the response or hydrodyne but many of the other guys prefer the sporty. The sunsetter is nice, it drives like a Caddy, the sporty is more like a sports car.

My sportster is the open bow version and is completely stock except for the OJ prop. It does not have a wedge and I have heard that it can alter the wake even in the up position due to the extra weight on the transom. It tows very easily since it only weighs about 2300 lbs.

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powbmps

Thanks guys. I appreciate the responses. So far I only took a ride/drive in the Sportster. Hopefully checking out the other two this weekend.

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Slayer

Pros: All great boats to start. Echelon and Response will have the best slalom wake of the three as they are virtually the same (both ride on the SV23 hull), Echelon will have more features/creature comforts as it was at the top end for price point in '95 and the flagship model for Malibu at the time. Echelon and Response both were AWSA approved tournament towboats, and pulled the US Open several times, so top notch slalom wakes for that era. All three are fully composite construction, no rot issues. Sportser will handle like a go kart as it is smaller / lighter than the other two. All three are excellent, but the Sporty is the best barefoot boat if that is a consideration.

Cons: Sporty will have the hardest wake of the three (Narrower hull), so I would demo at least the Sporty and one of the other two for wake comparisons (the Response and Echelon will be the same). If the Echelon has a Computron, expect it to either not work or fail on you, and no replacement parts are available. If the '99 has the HDS system, there have been issues with that system, review threads on this site for info (not sure if the '99 Sporty had it or not).

For slalom use, my selection would be either the Response or Echelon and condition / price would be the decider as both boats offer great wakes.

Check the Resource section on this site as there is lots of information available to review (boat and engine brochures, specs, etc).

Heed the advice of Woodski. He knows of which he speaks very well.

I am partial, but take a look at and ski behind a Sunsetter. A little taller wake but still very nice to ski, but the addition of the Open Bow gives much more room for extra people.

I had a Sunsetter LX. As Baddog says, the wake is a little taller, but it's still relatively soft.

All that said, If I were you, skiing was my primary concern, and I didn't have a crew of more than 3 including the skier, I'd be all over the response or the echelon. I ski two different sportsters regularly and they are great boats. I find the wake behind them to be pretty good as long as you're not skiing at -22. -15, or -28 and deeper and it's a non-issue. Given the choise however, I'd be looking as close as possible to the response first, echelon second. The only reason I put them in that order is due to the computron.

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Baddog

Thanks guys. I appreciate the responses. So far I only took a ride/drive in the Sportster. Hopefully checking out the other two this weekend.

Make sure you SKI behind any boat you are considering. These are all good choices and good advice here, but you may find something about a particular wake that you dislike and after parting with the cash is the wrong time to realize that.

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ahopkinsVTX

Pros: All great boats to start. Echelon and Response will have the best slalom wake of the three as they are virtually the same (both ride on the SV23 hull), Echelon will have more features/creature comforts as it was at the top end for price point in '95 and the flagship model for Malibu at the time. Echelon and Response both were AWSA approved tournament towboats, and pulled the US Open several times, so top notch slalom wakes for that era. All three are fully composite construction, no rot issues. Sportser will handle like a go kart as it is smaller / lighter than the other two. All three are excellent, but the Sporty is the best barefoot boat if that is a consideration.

Cons: Sporty will have the hardest wake of the three (Narrower hull), so I would demo at least the Sporty and one of the other two for wake comparisons (the Response and Echelon will be the same). If the Echelon has a Computron, expect it to either not work or fail on you, and no replacement parts are available. If the '99 has the HDS system, there have been issues with that system, review threads on this site for info (not sure if the '99 Sporty had it or not).

For slalom use, my selection would be either the Response or Echelon and condition / price would be the decider as both boats offer great wakes.

Check the Resource section on this site as there is lots of information available to review (boat and engine brochures, specs, etc).

This. :plus1:

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footndale

If you do look at Sunsetters, make sure it is the LXI Sunsetter. You want to slalom, you won't want the other Sunsetter options.

What is your budget?

If I was a slalom only guy, I would go for the Response.

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powbmps

I'm cheap. The three boats I'm considering range from $6,500 to $7,600 (asking prices). The only boat I've skied behind is a 1990 Ski Supreme, so I'm thinking (hoping) neither of the three would be a downgrade.

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Slayer

I'm cheap. The three boats I'm considering range from $6,500 to $7,600 (asking prices). The only boat I've skied behind is a 1990 Ski Supreme, so I'm thinking (hoping) neither of the three would be a downgrade.

Anyone of the three from your original post will be better than the Supreme.

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Baddog

Anyone of the three from your original post will be better than the Supreme.

Agreed, plus don't forget, we are here to help spend your money on your new baby to get it just right.

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Rednucleus

It's a MUST to ski behind it before you buy! Everyone has different tastes in the wake - kind of like beers or scotch. You wouldn't buy an expensive case of scotch w/o trying a bottle first - the same goes for you new boat. I have free skied and course skied behind many brands//models. My personal preference is my buddy's Sportster as a boat that has a non-existent wake for me. And with the open bow and a cover it has alot of storage for a entry level small boat.

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powbmps

Thanks for the tips. Drove a 1990 Nautique, 1995 Echelon and 1995 Response today (drove the 1999 Sporster last weekend). The 310 hp in the Sporster was enticing, but I ended up bringing this one home:

Boat.png

Taking it out for a ski in the morning. Psyched.

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Rednucleus

I like it - same teal & grey as my old Sanger. Have a great ski tomorrow!

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Baddog

Nice looking boat. The trailer could be spiffed up a bit but it is only a trailer. Let us know how it skis.

What made you choose this over the others?

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Slayer

Congrats! Please report back.

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asnowman

Where in Maine/NH are you going to be skiing? We considered the one you bought and that sporty.

We're on Sebago all summer, and always glad to see more skiers around.

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dlb

Congrats on the choice! Enjoy your morning!

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powbmps

Best combination of price/performance/condition of the boats I looked at. The Sportster and Echelon were very nice as well. For the most part, I don't know what I am talking about so it wouldn't be a good idea for me to say too much.

We go out on Pleasant Lake in NH. Easy access and no traffic makes for some nice, quick, pre-work skiing. The marina I picked it up at gave me a temp. plate for the trailer and registered it on the spot so I was able to drive it right home and put it in the water this morning. Weather was pretty lousy, but we went out briefly. Boat pulls strong, and I see what people mean when they talk about a softer wake. Already can't wait for next summer!

LAKE.jpg

Edited by powbmps

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Rednucleus

Scary rocks in that pic!!

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dlb

Nice boat and very tempting water......

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powbmps

Wanted to pretty up the trailer a bit, so I pIcked up three cans of teal Rust-Oleum (left over from the 90's?) and a couple sheets of sand paper. Not bad for $20 and less than two hours time. Just don't get too close :lol: . Replaced the tires as well. One of the mismatched car/truck tires on there was made in 1979. No wonder it blew out. Luckily it was on the boat ramp at the time.

A little before/after....

Before%20and%20After.png

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powderjay

Nice looking boat and a great purchase. Maybe lose those feet though..?..

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