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Looking for a new boat


Howa1500
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Towards the end of last season I bought my first inboard (87' supra comp). Let me just start by saying it is an amazing boat, low 400 hours, leather has barely been touched, runs great. Unfortunately it just doesn't do what our family is looking to do. The closed bow makes the boat a bit snug, the whole family just can't fit. The wake on the supra is a bit tall and sharp at times, making it a bit difficult to progress. This year our family was hoping to get into some course skiing and we're looking to upgrade. Two of the boats I happened to come across was a 98' response lx and 01 ski nautique. From what I have come across through various forums on the Internet, both were extremely well designed for the time period and have some of the best wakes for slalom. If anybody has any opinions on either boat feel free to weigh in, all comments are greatly appreciated. Both boats are priced at $14k, budget is really no more than $15k.

Thanks, Nick

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Response LX is a great boat. 2001 196 is a great boat. Less experience w/the open bow SN of that era.

 

FYI - There is an 2006 LXI listed on the 1st page. Slightly above your budget, but much newer. I have a 97. These boats are pretty dependable, but the older the boat the more stuff seems to be fixed. I'm speaking from experience in that department.

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You have said the problem is that the boat is snug, the family won't fit. Don't think that a SN 196 or an Lx are going to have much more space. The Nautique is the best slalom boat...but sounds like you need an Lxi which would be the best combo of space and slalom wake:

Lxi

 

 

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Howa1500 - The Response LXI is the updated hull from the Response LX. Any one of those boats will be great for slalom. The LXI was their top of the line comp boat at the time.

 

I regularly ski behind a 2002 SN 196 and the wake is slightly better than my echelon (an older malibu hull).

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I'm a Malibu fan and like the wakes. I've skied a 2005, 2011 and a 2014 TXI. The LXI will give you the open bow you need for space while also giving you a good slalom wake. The boat listed above sounds like a good option. How big of a family are you talking about? A couple of people in the bow, the driver, 1 passenger and a skier. The LXI should do the trick.
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If space is not an issue and hours/condition are similar, I'd buy a SN 196 over the Malibu. I'm Malibu owner but the Nautique's track and ski slightly better plus its 3 years newer.

 

Whatever you do, I think either will be a big step up from the late 80's Supra.

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@Howa1500 I want to jump in to emphasize the importance of getting the right type of boat for you. If your family is going to have more fun on the water with an open bow, then GET ONE. Don't consider wrong options.

 

Personally, I can't imagine owning an open bow -- it's not the right type of boat for me. But if it's the right type of boat for YOU, I think you'll really be happier if you wait and find one.

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Also make sure you take the whole family along to try out their fit in the boat. The bathtub open bow of an LX would keep me from ever owning one. You have to climb over the dash rather than there being a walkthrough to get into it.
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Would having an open bow ski boat that could fit the whole family be nice, yes. Although, it is not a necessity, the most amount of people we have in the boat at once is 5 people, a bit snug in the supra, but we can make it work if we have to. I'm looking to buy the boat that will perform the best on the water, closed or open bow. If possible to kill two birds with one stone (spacious and performance) that would be awesome, all the better. The main point i have to emphasize is that 15-17k price range. I appreciate the responses from everyone, thanks
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Look at the LXI posted above. It's right at $17,000, has an open bow and could pretty easily fit 5 people just cruising around and easily 4 plus a skier with one riding up front. How big are these 5 people?
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I had an 01 Malibu Response LX and we loved it. Skied great at all lengths and drove like a dream. The open bow is fine for one or two kids or one adult but I would never pull a skier with anyone up front. But our kids would ride up there for a cruise and loved it. Also pulled the seat out and would put an ice chest up there to free up floor space in the back when we were out on open water. We used to free ski a lot and even it can get tight. But with the trunk you can put your expensive skis in there and free up floor space and can easily work for a family of 4. We moved to a private lake and really don't hit the open waters much but upgraded to a 14 TXI for ZO. It is much bigger than anything we need, but wanted a newer boat with ZO for practice (I ski tournaments). My parents now have my 01 LX and they love it. I can't say enough good about it. If you want bigger though for open water family time, the later LXI or TXI are better choices for that, but they do come with a cost $$. The bow is set up better for riders up there. The 01 even with small kids you need watch yourself because it is easy to dip the bow with weight up there. Harder on the LXI or TXI but you still could if you were not attentive. I have skied a few of the SN's of that era too and they do ski nice also. I have to admit I am a Malibu fan myself, but never turned down a set behind a SN. Well ok I haven't turned down a set behind a lot of boats. For open water play and light course skiing I have heard people talk well about the sunsetters. I have never skied one or driven one so can't vouch for them. But have heard of people skiing both long and pretty short line behind them and they are a bit roomier. The old ones are probably more akin in size to a the TXI of today.
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For us "stuff" storage is very desirable, we have 3 kids so an afternoon on the lake includes a tube, kneeboard, kids skis, slalom ski, combo set..... When we pile that all in and the 5 of us it can be tight in the boat. We have a 98 closed bow nautique and I'm envious of a storage trunk on the family days, but love the performance and wake of the nautique for skiing.
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After buy my Response LX I kinda like the step over to the bow. I didn't like the idea but there is a lot of storage under the step over and the kids like getting up there. I've free skied with two teen age kids in the front. Another boat to consider is the early Master Craft 205. One of my ski buddy has one I think it's a 94 but has fuel injection. It has some spray issues but the wake is awesome.
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As gregy said, the '94 MC 205 is very popular because it has the 91-94 hull that has a great ski wake but also has EFI ('93 and earlier had carbs unless it got an LT1 engine in '93). Actually, IIRC, the '95 205 was the same hull as the '94 205, but the '96 205 adopted the new hull that made the slalom wake not as desirable. So, you can get a walk-through open bow boat with EFI and a great slalom wake with either the '94 or '95 MC 205. Here in California those tend to go for $11K - $17K.
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I will throw my $.02 in on the bathtub Lx. Yes to get up front you have to jump over the dashboard, is it as good as an LXi, no. When I was looking for my first DD it fit the budget and the wakes are good (as good as an 196? well no, just ask any 196 owner and they will tell you nothing compares). I think of the Lx bow as a trunk in the front for ski gear. And once or twice a year we put some kids up there.
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I bought a 2001 SN 196 last year. Absolutely love the boat. The passenger seat lifts up and has a ton of storage under the bow. How many people and how much stuff do you need to be able to take on your outings? For a ski boat there is nothing like the 196. Driving the boat is a dream - feels like your on a rail. I didn't see too many 196's on ski it again but you can also check only inboards as well. Good luck!
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Nobody here has mentioned my boat, the ski nautique open bow. It is a step over hot tub style just like the RLX, but it's another great option for more seating space while still getting a great wake. I haven't yet done this, but I dream of throwing a tower on mine and then that could get a bunch of the skis and boards up and out of the boat as well, which I think would help a ton for days out on the open water.

 

The open bow was made from 97 to 02, only in the TSC1 hull.

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I know you are really wanting a newer boat, but for the time being have you adjusted the wake plate on the supra to improve the wake? My sister had an 89 and there was a huge difference in the wake with plate adjustments.
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@Howa1500 : Your first two concerns on your upgrade list are 1. closed bow, 2. slalom wake. Keep that in the forefront as you search so you don't end up exactly where you are today but simply with a more expensive vessel. For resale, open bow boats seem to sell better and if you note, pretty much all newer top level tournament boats are open bow. One other aspect I would add to the list would be all fiberglass construction which should not be an issue with your budget and criteria list. If you can find some older Waterski boat review issues of the era vessel you are interested in, that should help but realize they became very weak past mid 90's reviews (current reviews are pretty much useless). Test before you buy, ski it and check how the family or group fits in boat on water.
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Family decided to sell supra and chaparral together. Friday we leave for vacation in Florida and will be checking out newer boats in that area. The way everything is working out, it sounds like (not set in stone) we might be coming back up to buffalo trailering an open bow 200
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Family decided to sell supra and chaparral together. Friday we leave for vacation in Florida and will be checking out newer boats in that area. The way everything is working out, it sounds like (not set in stone) we might be coming back up to buffalo trailering an open bow 200
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@TallSkinnyGuy the budget was based on selling the supra only. We decided to sell our other pleasure boat and just work with one boat rather than two. It works out better. Maintenance on one boat, insurance on one boat. And we get a better boat for the deal
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@TallSkinnyGuy the budget was based on selling the supra only. We decided to sell our other pleasure boat and just work with one boat rather than two. It works out better. Maintenance on one boat, insurance on one boat. And we get a better boat for the deal
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@Howa1500 my sister actually upgraded to a 200ob 2 years ago. She couldn't be happier. It's a much roomier boat as you will find. Another thing you will love is not having to deal with carburetors anymore.
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@Howa1500 my sister actually upgraded to a 200ob 2 years ago. She couldn't be happier. It's a much roomier boat as you will find. Another thing you will love is not having to deal with carburetors anymore.
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