The Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Super Show is the largest indoor show in America. I visited the show to see some new models and check out other boats that caught my attention.
2017 Malibu Wakesetter 24 MXZ – newly updated model for serious wakeboarders and surfers
Malibu introduced several new models in 2017, including the updated 22 and 24 MXZ in the Wakesetter line. Featuring a redesigned hull, the MXZ reportedly is capable of producing very high and customizable wakes and waves – thanks in part to its Integrated Surf Platform (ISP) technologies.
Plus, with its pickle fork hull, the interior of this boat is massive; the 22 seats 15 people whereas the 24 can accommodate 18.
Besides being a high quality boat and its beautiful and eye-catching design, some things that are especially appealing are as follows:
- Huge bow area that can seat four
- Spacious interior with room for up to 18 passengers
- Foldout wake-view seating near the transom (standard in the 24, an option in the 22) to enable passengers to get close to the action
- Two large digital displays for excellent visibility and convenient, touchscreen control of boat, engine and wave/wake functions
- Integrated Power Wedge II for bigger and better wave/wake creation
- Like all Malibu models, the Malibu Surf Band wrist remote is an available option to let the rider control the wake or wave
Of course, getting a boat of this size, quality and features does not come cheaply. The 24 MXZ was boat show priced at $135K. A video overview of the product can be found at Boating Magazine or visit the manufacturer website for additional details.
2017 Malibu Wakesetter 21 VLX- fully featured at a surprisingly affordable price
The 21 VLX is a completely new model for 2017 that the company describes as a “crossover” boat suitable for surfing, wakeboarding and even slalom skiing. However, what is especially attractive about the 21 VLX is that its affordability. At a nationally advertised price of $79,995*, this boat comes nicely equipped with the essentials and many performance features that Malibu is known for, including:
- Integrated Swim Platform technologies – Surf Gate, PowerWedge II, Hard Tank Ballasts and Digitial Command Center work together to create massive and customizable wakes.
- Surf band to enable the rider to remotely manipulate the speed and wake.
- 12” touchscreen digital display.
- Wet Sounds stereo system with six speakers.
- New G3.5 Tower with Bimini.
Plus, the package is protected by a full 5 year factory warranty.
Given its full list of features and price, the 21 VLX is an attractive alternative to some of the more value-oriented competitors such as Mooba or Tige.
* Note: this particular boat show model was offered at a slightly higher price ($84,995) because of the added options.
2017 Heyday’s WT2
At the opposite end of the spectrum from Malibu are Heyday boats. First launched in 2016 with the WT1, Heyday introduced the new, larger WT2 in 2017. In case you haven’t heard of Heyday, the brand was developed under the leadership of John Dorton (former CEO of MasterCraft) and his son Ben. The intention was to build an affordable boat for Millennial buyers. This effort makes sense considering that watersports boats traditionally appeal to a younger market who cannot afford the high price of a new wakeboard boat. Heyday is designed to change that.
What is different about the WT2 vs. its predecessor is that it is longer (nearly 23’ vs. 20’ for WT1) and the console has been moved to the side instead of the center for greater interior space. Plus, there are new “hot tub” lounge seats on each side of the engine box.
The interior of both models is intentionally spartan to help keep the costs down. Rather than using traditional marine gauges, the boat connects to your tablet via the Heyday app to provide engine and performance data. Bluetooth pairing is used to sync or stream your music. Plus, there are removable seatbacks to provide “flexible” seating to enable you to sit forward, backward or simply lay across the lounge seat.
Though the interior is a bit basic, the boat is designed to do the main thing well – create a solid wake for boarding or surfing. Plus, with a maximum capacity of 12, it is an affordable way for newer boaters or those with modest budgets to experience watersports in the company of their friends.
Both the WT1 and WT2 are powered by a Crusader 5.7L 350 HP V-drive engine.
Part of the Bayliner family, the WT2 has a base price of around $50K with trailer; the WT1 retails for approximately $10,000 less.
To see other highlights from the 2017 Show, click on the links below: