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2017 Malibu 20vtx NEW designed 2017 Mastercraft xt20

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  • 2017 Malibu 20vtx NEW designed 2017 Mastercraft xt20

    Newbie to the forum and trying to decide on a boat…. I grew up slalom skiing 20’ outboards in salt water, but now live right next to a beautiful fresh water lake so I want to get an inboard. My daughter is 4 and I want to get her into water sports. We are looking for a ‘cross-over’ boat that is family and kid friendly that we can slalom ski recreationally, tube, wake board, and learn how to wake surf with. Need to stay with the 20’ models due to size restrictions. I am torn between the new Mastercraft XT20 Crossover and Malibu’s 20 VTX Crossover. Both boats as I spec'd them out come in with very close MSRP's... Any insight or advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    i know you also posted this on ballofspray. My suggestion is to go with a 15 year old boat that someone really took care of - the payment will be much easier on you - say a Malibu Sunsetter - they have V Drive and direct drive models. If you get the diamond hull it will be a great ski boat. One thing to note that alot of ski boats will ride a lot rougher than a 20' outboard boat - trust me i know, my 19' boat goes through 1' chop like it's not there.
    Last edited by SkiDad; February 26th, 2017, 11:15 AM.
    2003 Malibu Sunsetter LXI, Acme 525, Radar P6 ski

    (I still like to help with Force outboards !)

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    • #3
      I spent a fair amount of time and research looking at this class of boat. Both of these choices are fantastic boats. We saw both of them as well as the Super Air Nautiques, MB, Moomba, and Tige at the Denver Boat Show. Personally, I like the interior of the Malibu a little better, and at least here, it seemed like the Malibu was a LITTLE less expensive than the Mastercraft if similarly equipped - but that will be dependent on what you put on them. Malibu also has come out with the 21 VLX, which is a value priced boat (standard price of $79,995 pretty well equipped). If you can take on a 21' boat, I would take a look at it too. I thought Tige had some nice offerings in this space too. Narrow your choices down, and get the dealers to take you out. It is the best research you can do.

      In the end my decision came down to a Malibu 20 VTX, and the 22 VLX. The 20 VTX is the king of the crossovers for Malibu. It has a GREAT reputation as a crossover. It has a center ski pylon available, great for slalom. It also has the surfgate, and power wedge that you find on all the Malibu's that make killer wakeboard and surf waves. I REALLY liked it a lot. But when I compared it to the 22 VLX, the 22 felt proportionally a LOT bigger (due in part to the wider beam - 98" vs 102"). The cabin is a little deeper too. In the end, it won out because of the extra space as we expect to routinely have a crew of 6-8. The bigger boat will not put out as soft or flat slalom wake, but I was willing to trade that for space (I am an older recreational slalom skier). I don't know about the Mastercraft, but with Malibu you can get either the Diamond hull (multisport), or the WakePlus hull which is optimized for wake sports.

      ​There is a LOT more in the decision, would be happy to share more if you are interested, but in the name of brevity, Ill just add that SkiDad nailed it. We bought a '97 Crownline 182BR in 2014. I spent less than 10K on it, and it was very low hours, and METICULOUSLY maintained (yep, you CAN find boats like that if you look). We had a BLAST with it. It proved to me that I really was serious about boating before I spent bigger money. Craigslist is littered with wake boats that people bought into new, ate the depreciation, then found that they didn't use them enough and wind up selling them and taking a huge financial hit. I am not trying to talk you out of a great boat (you would love either I think), but it really did take me 2 and a half seasons to know that we would use a boat like this enough to make it worth it (we floated the boat 30 times last season - pretty much all we did last summer). Now I am heading into semi retirement, and expect to be able to get out even more.

      ​EDIT>>> just read your thread over at ballofspray... good stuff. Sounds like you are a more accomplished slalom skier than I am - so my opinion on the wake is probably not valid. I am looking to transition more and more to surfing over the next 5 years, so I am willing to tolerate a little larger wake in the name of multisport. Also sounds like you are already there for a NEWER boat at least... fun stuff. Think I had as much fun in the search as I will have when I launch this spring!

      ​Whatever you do, best of luck with your decision... Fun times ahead!
      Last edited by milehighjc; March 2nd, 2017, 01:20 AM.
      1997 Crownline 182 BR
      5.7L Mercruiser Alpha 1

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      • #4
        milehighjc Thanks for the advice. These are good 1st-world problems to have, lol! Congrats on your new boat - sounds like you'll have a blast and sounds like the right boat for you. I considered the VLX as that value pricing sounds great, but was concerned the wake would suffer. From what everyone has said the VTX is the best V-drive ski wake out there as long as I stay pre-2016 diamond hull. Just not a lot on the MC XT20 for reviews as it is so new. Definitely going to demo some this summer.... Prob going to wait it out another year with the OB and make the transition to the tow boat in 2018 unless the 'right' deal comes along. Would like to go MC as that dealer is under an hour away vs 2+ hrs for the Bu dealer. As for slalom - did it a ton in my teens and 20's.... not as much in 30's.... now entering my 40's I want to get back into it again and possibly mix in the other sports as well like yourself. Prob can't slalom for hours on end anymore, lol so it would be nice to 'relax' and surf!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Guppy73 View Post
          milehighjc Thanks for the advice. These are good 1st-world problems to have, lol! Congrats on your new boat - sounds like you'll have a blast and sounds like the right boat for you. I considered the VLX as that value pricing sounds great, but was concerned the wake would suffer. From what everyone has said the VTX is the best V-drive ski wake out there as long as I stay pre-2016 diamond hull. Just not a lot on the MC XT20 for reviews as it is so new. Definitely going to demo some this summer.... Prob going to wait it out another year with the OB and make the transition to the tow boat in 2018 unless the 'right' deal comes along. Would like to go MC as that dealer is under an hour away vs 2+ hrs for the Bu dealer. As for slalom - did it a ton in my teens and 20's.... not as much in 30's.... now entering my 40's I want to get back into it again and possibly mix in the other sports as well like yourself. Prob can't slalom for hours on end anymore, lol so it would be nice to 'relax' and surf!

          Im hearing the same thing about the VTX... My nephew is a hard core slalom guy (currently has a DD Sunsetter), and I know he shares that opinion about the VTX. I miss my younger slalom days. Really enjoyed it, but at 57 it genuinely hurts now doing my patented double barrel roll with a half twist (dont ask me how I know). Once I have the new boat in the water, I plan on getting some gopro 1st person video of the ski wake. It is something I wish I would have had when I was in the middle of my search. I found all kinds of video showing the wake for wakeboarding and surfing, NOTHING for skiing behind the 22 VLX. Seems it HAS to be better than behind my I/O which I have been doing for the past 2.5 seasons.

          1997 Crownline 182 BR
          5.7L Mercruiser Alpha 1

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          • #6
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            milehighjc. Sounds like a great move. Follow it with 600mg of ibprophen, lol. As for wakes what is lousy is most reviews just show slalom wakes with pros - skiing 32-36mph at short line lengths. Or they cut away just before the skier crosses so you can't tell how bad it is! Most boats flatten out at those speeds. I want practical videos - what's the wake like in the 20's at speeds kiddos and most women ski? What's the wake like 28-32 where I ski? Try putting a little ballest forward when skiing - that should help flatten the wake. Play with your line lengths off to find the best crossing point. It may take a few of those rolls but sure you'll get dialed in! Enjoy.

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