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buying very first Malibu .. any advice, tips, tricks?? (2003 Malibu Wakesetter 21' XTi)

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Hey Malibu Family,

I'm buying my very first Malibu boat, and I'm excited to join the fam. I'd love any advice, tips, tricks, thoughts, etc. 

Thanks in advance!



My life:

We live in Brooklyn, NY, and spend summers on Lake Martin, Alabama. It's me, my wife, and two kids: 5yo boy and 3yo girl. My nieces and nephews (8yo – 13yo) are also close and love to ski/wakeboard. 

I slalom ski (have done so since 5yo) and sometimes wakeboard. Haven't tried wake surf yet, but my brothers swear by it, as do most kids these days. I'm sure I'll get into it. 

I'll be tubing kids a lot, teaching them to ski and wakeboard, and hopefully doing some wake surfing. I'm looking into all the things I need to do to set it up for wake surfing. (e.g. extra ballast bags, buying something like the Mission DELTA 2.0 Universal Wakesurf Device, etc.)


The boat:

2003 Malibu Wakesetter XTi 21'

Mansoon 325 HP Inboard

Well maintained and garage kept with like new interior.

Bimini top, full boat cover, stereo, cruise control, wake board tower, perfect pass module in gauge, wedge, water ballast system, 37 gallon fuel tank, 2-wakeboard ballast bags with pump system. One 600lb bag in center under floorboard.

21' trailer with disc brakes. Trailer Manufacturer Association affiliate of NMMA. Model A-60 Trailer # 86996.

Buying for $26K

Here are pics:




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Excellent looking boat! Clean. Go for it! 

EDIT - If you want to surf, this boat won't be ideal. This is the ideal slalom ski boat. You will be fighting a losing battle trying to make this work for surfing. 

Edited by Raleigh
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That is a super clean boat.  The price seems reasonable for the year/condition.

I also have a young family: 3 kids, ages 6-12.  My wife and I are on our 4th boat since we've been married (not counting my brief affair with a Sea-Doo.  Don't judge).  Here is what I have learned about boating with a family:  floorspace is king.  If you don't have ample space for your crew and gear, you will be always fighting the fight.  I have limited exposure to the XTI, but here are my thoughts:

  • It will be very difficult to set this boat up for surfing.  I'm sure others have tried/done it and can advise you, but it will be an uphill battle.
  • This boat would be comfortable for 5 people.  if you add more people and gear, you will be all over each other
  • Based on the ages of your kids, you will outgrow this boat in 2-3 years.

Not sure what your experience boating is, but I'm assuming this is your first boat.  With your first boat, there will be mistakes, and mistakes with inboards are very costly, both in dollars and downtime.  My advice (as if you asked for it) is to start with something like this https://www.boattrader.com/boat/2011-reinell-207-lx-7428131/.  Put a tower on it and you are skiing and wakeboarding.  Repairs and maintenance on an I/O boat are typically less money than an inboard.  After a few years, you are trying to sell a 15 year old Reinell instead of a 22 year old Malibu XTi.  

These are my thoughts if I were starting over in boating with the experiences I've had.  For comparison, my boats have been:

  • 1974 Fiberform 17'
  • 1995 Bluewater Eagle
  • 1999 Ski Centurion Elite V
  • 2006 Malibu 23LSV

I guess my bottom line is that your boating needs will change quickly as your kids get older.  Get a boat that works for you today, but realize that you will be in the market again in a couple years, so get a boat that will keep its resale value so you don't wind up upside down.

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I would hold out for a v-drive boat. I have never been in an XTI style boat but it doesn't look like a comfortable layout. Resale is also going to be much better with a v-drive.

  • Like 1
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What's with the rust on the engine?  And the mold on the hatch?  And that cover - needs to be replaced - has mildew.  Not trying to be a killjoy, but I'd go over that thing with a fine tooth comb.  Price is a tad high comparedto others, but reasonable.

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