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Advice on my first ski boat


david_quail
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Apologies if this general question has been asked a million times!

 

Looking to buy our family our first ski boat. A few things:

- We are just getting into it - but serious about getting better. Started last august and could barely get up on 1 ski. Finished 5 balls at 30mph after a week this year

 

- We have a cabin at a fairly large public lake (pontoons, surf boats, waves). So our ski time is in the morning.

- I'd like to spend ~15-30K

- I'd like to get a boat amazing for slalom ... but also one that won't submarine should a surf boat do an unforseen fly by (we'll be smart about taking it out and avoiding traffic / weather etc) but can only do so much.

 

Currently have it narrowed down to a 2002 Mastercraft prostar 197 or a 1997 Malibu Response. My assumption is that they are both great ski boats, and it would be a very long time before I noticed a difference from behind the boat. But that the Malibu would handle an open lake better?

 

Any advice or thoughts thoroughly appreciated!

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I should note that we are keeping our Bayliner for pulling the family around ... so the ski boat can be very simple / closed bow. We have a lift we store it on so really can be selective about when to take it out. Maybe I'm being paranoid about getting swamped. But water inside the boat at the same level as outside does not sound like fun.
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  • Baller
I ski both a 99 response Lx and a MC 197 regular. The 98 and later RLx is a better boat skiing and driving. The MC has a better trick/wakeboarding wake but you get a RLx with a wedge it will throw a big wake.
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  • Baller

For your budget you should easily be able to get an 03-06 Malibu lxi. Great skiing boat, lots of room (relatively) and has a modern fuel injected engine in it.

2006 LXI

 

This 2004 is almost identical to the one I ski the course behind most often. Although the open bowel is a feature I haven't heard of in a boat ;) (proof reading your ad is important)

2004 LXI

 

2003 with a tower so the kids can wakeboard

2003 LXI

 

As for the bow dipping - it happens and any ski boat is going to do it if you get in the wrong position. Heck I've done it to my VTX once (and the inlaws LXI a couple times). It won't sink, just make sure you have a working bilge pump and pay attention.

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  • Gold Member

Echoing the above, if the top end of your range is really $30k, you should be able to get yourself into a REALLY nice ski boat. I'm completely in agreement with Wish about the best options in the budget. From '97 to '09 is an absolutely fabulous hull and Nautiques are extremely high quality boats. You should be able to find pre-2000's for around $12k, and if somebody is asking more than $30k for even a 2008 w/ ZO, you should probably laugh at them.

 

However, if you prefer an open bow, I'd go with the Malibu in a heartbeat. Lots of those on my lake and they ski and drive great.

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  • Baller
A question others here should be able to answer is - what is the wake like on each of the boats in your price range at 30 MPH (and lower if you have kids planning on learning)? I know it is fine on an LXI, didn't like 30 as much on a 2012 prostar 197 but it was still good enough. Once you get up to 32+ I'd expect them all to be good enough.
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  • Baller_
IMHO, the for sure lower, softer wake at slower speed (kids/wife/newbie-ish) is the 196 especially pre-2002. There may be a few more but none my daughter has experienced in a tournament or that I've seen. Maybe Bu Sportster...? There may be others.
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  • Baller

There are several good comments above. You haven't told us much about the skiers in your crew (age, skiing speed, whether or not they have any interest in wakeboarding, tricking, etc.), but I think @Wish nailed it - if you're just starting out, the 26-30mph wakes make a difference, and while many boats have great 32-36mph wakes, they diverge a bit at lower speeds.

 

I do think you're being a little paranoid about water coming over the front. You'll learn pretty quickly to stay aware and minimize the number of times this happens, and moreover, usually we're talking about the carpet getting wet and the bilge pump running for 20 seconds. Unless you're on the intercoastal & completely clueless, it's very unlikely that you're going to swamp the boat.

 

If there's any interest in selling the Bayliner and having the ski boat do double-duty as the family boat, that's where a Malibu with a wedge really shines. As others have mentioned, '98 and later Responses improved an already-great hull (especially at lower speeds), and the '99-03 Sunsetter LXIs are also awesome.

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* Update - All great comments above - and hugely appreciated.

Took much of it to heart and agreed on a price for a Nautique 96 within my price range (you were right again suggesting I should be able to find one well well within that).

Like anything - it's all about balance - and the boat seems like an ideal one for family of passionate skiers (some young who appreciate a nice wake at slower speeds), who have no interest in wake boarding / surfing, and occasionally just want to zip the 4 of us along the shoreline for a joy ride. If all goes well - our family will be zipping across a buttery wake in a week ... and I'll have disposed of my paranoia about submarining the boat.

 

 

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