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Is the 2024 Malibu 20 VTX the worst water ski boat ever?


Mark5522

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Mark5522
Posted (edited)

Today we went for our second ride in our brand new 2024 Malibu 20 VTX the so-called “king of the crossover”.  One of the main reasons we bought it is for its slalom waterski ability. Our custom ordered Malibu has a center pylon and a reverse tower for waterskiing. My wife is a competitive slalom water skier (prev ranked #16 on the East Coast.)

Today we had the owner of the multistate Malibu dealership in the boat with us. We took the boat out so my wife could slalom ski .

The wedge was up (we checked visually a few times) and the ballasts were completely empty. The fuel was 64%.

We tested it at 28, 30 and 32 miles an hour. At each speed the wake generated a nasty stiff lip which presented a formidable obstacle in crossing the wake while competitively slalom skiing  

My wife tripped on the wake twice. This is the person who has not fallen waterskiing in over 20 years of competitive slalom waterskiing and has never ever tripped on a wake until today. (Last weekend alone she did 48 slalom passes with her trainer.)

So what was the final recommendation from the owner of the multistate Malibu dealer? Weight is the enemy of the wake and that is the cause of our problems. So according to him to make a small wake:

1. We should not have any friends or spectators on the boat while we slalom to keep weight to a minimum. (No observer, only the driver??)

2. We should run the boat at a maximum of 15% fuel in the tank in order to minimize weight from the fuel.


So what do we think of our incredibly expensive, beautifully looking, brand new boat?

It’s USELESS in pulling a slalom skier. 

 

What are we doing this Memorial day weekend?

We are siphoning off gas out of our brand new Malibu to get the gas gauge down to 15% and then we’re going to go and run our slalom without any friends or family in the boat, all alone. Hopefully, we won’t run out of fuel. 

 

What a crappy experience.

 

This boat is really useless for slalom skiing.

Edited by Mark5522
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Nick55

Heck of a first post.  You should post pics of your new ride. We love new boat pics.  I have to ask though, did you water test this brand new boat before you ordered or bought one?  Because if you are so dedicated to a specific sport, I’d assume that you would test it out.  
As a side note, to ski behind my 23LSV, I do need some ballast in the front to make it decent (not excellent), but I’m not a tournament skier either.  

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Posted (edited)

I disagree with the advice (for my vdrive), I find the wake gets slightly better with more gas (mine is 30 gallons) and even some MLS (midship) weight; this helps bring the bow down and balance out the weight in the back (which should also lead to moving of the rooster tail).

But don't be confused, the I drives are better crossover boats inclusive of skiing.

I added a tab (ala mastercraft, centurion, moomba of the 2000s) seeking to spread the engine weight (and lower the bow)

Edited by smileysteve
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Do you guys do anything other than ski?  Surf, wakeboard?  If not, this is not the right boat for you.  The thing about a crossover is that it CAN do many things, but won’t be superior at any of them.

Good Luck.

 

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ahopkins22LSV

First, welcome. 
 

Second, take a look at this thread as I tried to detail our experience and setups as well as I could with our 2020 vtx. I found it quite skiable in multiple different setups. However, you can’t just expect to set the speed, line length and boat setup however you would in a true direct drive ski boat. You have to level set your expectations that it is a much bigger and heavier boat than a standard ski boat so you have to be selective with your setups. I found 34mph, 28-32 off from the center pylon to be near identical to our TXi. Aggressively open water skiing the vtx it absolutely possible. I don’t think it would track well enough in the course to ski it there. And I’m not a good enough course skier to ski those short of line lengths ;)

 

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Mark5522
35 minutes ago, smileysteve said:

I added a tab (ala mastercraft, centurion, moomba of the 2000s) seeking to spread the engine weight (and lower the bow)

What’s a tab?

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I tend to run about five to ten gallons of fuel in my 21' Sunsetter LX direct drive, with a driver only whenever possible.  One observer if we invite one more.

If we go out with guests I don't put much effort into slalom, but I will pull them all they want.

I'm not a course skier either, but I do know that the wake gets better with less weight in the boat (especially the rear).

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Posted (edited)

 It going to take some set up per the ahopkins22LSV thread.  I personally would never buy a v-drive for skiing, but I would also not claim it's unskiiable without doing my best to get the boat set up for skiing.  (I have spent many, many hours dialing in my direct drive because all boats require some tuning for the best ski experience).

Also, video of wake cross please.  It's a V-drive so she's gonna need to be stacked and balanced with some soft knees crossing the wakes.  If she's flat or unbalanced she's gonna bounce.  (And lots of very good skiers could use some work here, especially when the wake isn't ideal).

 

Edited by jjackkrash
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ztarum

I agree with the OP.  I have commented on this before, but we found the VTX to be undriveable in the course.  We did enjoy some free skiing behind it, but only within a very limited set of parameters (wedge in lift, 28 mph, 15 off, rear tow point - not center pylon).  Sell the boat and get something more appropriate.  We knew it was a compromise going in as we had skied behind one before purchase.  We had hoped to ski and surf with it, but ultimately found that the ski-ability just wasn't worth it.  It does surf quite well for it's size, but ultimately we traded for a dedicated surf boat (M220). 

I would still say the boat is a good "crossover" for someone who wants to do a bit of everything recreationally.  The ski wake is certainly still better than your average 20ft Inboard/outboard runabout, but I think anyone who is a tournament level skier will be in for some disappointment. 

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ztarum
Posted (edited)

Give this set-up a try.  Wedge in lift, 28 mph, 15 off or 22 off (try both), rear pop up tow point - not center pylon.  Try bow ballast up to 50% (experiment here).  Weight or ballast passenger side to level the boat at that speed/setup.  That was the best wake my wife and I found (with just the driver in the boat).  The wake looks a little big, but was very soft with that set-up and easy to ski.  Unfortunately that was really the only set-up we found to be at all tolerable.  We would have liked to have gone faster, but that doesn't work well in lift as the boat become unstable, and if we stowed to wedge it became too hard.

 

 

 

Edited by ztarum
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East Coast Flightcraft has a bunch of TXI's. Trade this one for a sweet ski boat!

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What were your rpms at ski speeds?  in my last Vtx, the reduction was so so much the prop was grossly incorrect. I think you’re gonna find it skiing speed you’re turning 42 to 4300 RPM. Swap it out for a much steeper, smaller prop. It should do wonders for the hardness of the wake

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Just when I start thinking describing surf settings is cumbersome, slalom guy shows up 🤣.  I’m betting you are able to dial it in to something your wife can be happy with.  It sounds like it’s a similar story with weight and passengers in dedicated slalom boats.  Lots of tuning, no passengers, etc.  At least with the vtx you have plenty of boat to do things with passengers when you aren’t slalom skiing.  Good luck! 

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It is a boat you can ski behind, not a ski boat.  I run 34MPH on a vapor freesking behind my 2012.   I do enjoy pulling a couple of my relatives behind my older VTX, they are mainly course skiers with Malibu/Nautique ski boats.  I enjoy it because they are used to everything being easy ;)  It is like taking a downhill ski racer off the hardpack course into the crud - different skill set that some need to achieve.

If you learn to ski behind a v-drive, you'll be able to rodeo through just about anything in a ski course;)

 

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Mark5522
1 hour ago, Steve B. said:

She did 48 passes shortly before?  Was she skiing behind a Nautiqe 200 or another slalom only boat. Or another V-drive? If going from a pro wake to a V's wake that would be a wake up call for any skier.

She was skiing behind her trainer's boat which is a Malibu TXI

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Mark5522
1 hour ago, 85 Barefoot said:

What were your rpms at ski speeds?  in my last Vtx, the reduction was so so much the prop was grossly incorrect. I think you’re gonna find it skiing speed you’re turning 42 to 4300 RPM. Swap it out for a much steeper, smaller prop. It should do wonders for the hardness of the wake

That's an interesting suggestion. Have you tried swapping the prop on a VTX? Do you have any recommendations for the smaller steeper prop? 

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Posted (edited)

Isn't course skiing, but obvious there is an extremely small wake. 

 VTX slalom

edit: I highly recommend she have the trainer work with her on this boat. She'll be fine, and when she goes back to the Txi she'll laugh at how small that wake is.

Edited by Steve B.
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ahopkins22LSV
3 minutes ago, Steve B. said:

Isn't course skiing, but obvious there is an extremely small wake. 

 VTX slalom

Ha! That’s our 2019 vtx. Had a thread on that one too. But the yup was improved for the 2020+ MY hulls. But yes, the wake was small and very skiable. 

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12 minutes ago, Mark5522 said:

That's an interesting suggestion. Have you tried swapping the prop on a VTX? Do you have any recommendations for the smaller steeper prop? 

It depends on what’s on it now and what kind of RPM that you’re seeing at her ski speeds.   Am I correct in assuming that the engine was screaming at skiing speeds?

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