Getting back into slalom/boat suggestions

rlyons124rlyons124 Posts: 12 Baller
Hi everyone, first post here. I’ve been on the site for the past couple weeks reading about boat recommendations but I couldn’t seam to find all my answers.

Finally getting back into slalom after a long five years of being away. Need to get myself a new boat. I’ve had a 2005 MC PS209 and 1992 PS190, those are my reference points. My thoughts were to just buy another PS190 or that era because of the amazing wake but I figured I would ask around to see if there were any other recommendations.

We will be using the boat for 75% slalom, 20% pulling the kids on tubes and trainer skis and 5% wake boarding. Obviously I would love to have 24’ vdrive room with no wake but that doesn’t exists.

What would you guys say is the closest wake to the PS190 or better. An open bow would be great and a boat with more storage would be even better. I don’t want to sacrifice too much wake quality for an open bow or storage. Fuel injection would also be nice.

From what I’ve been seeing it looks like 1997-200? SN or 2003-200? response LXi? How do those boats stack up to the PS205?

My wife skis 15 off at 32 and I ski 15-22 off at 34-36. I would like to get to 28 or 32 off but honestly I don’t really see myself getting past 28. So super short line spray and wake really isn’t an issue. My budget is 20-25k but I have no problem spending 10k on an older boat with more hours that fits our needs better.

Thanks for anyone input. I’m really glad I found this forum!


  • WishWish Posts: 7,331 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited April 2018
    Nothing better for slower speed longer line skiing then the bubble back SN for the money....nothing. Your wife will thank you.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • rlyons124rlyons124 Posts: 12 Baller
    @wish thanks for the reply. I think the bubble back is the 1997-2002 tsc1 hull, correct? Exactly what models had the tsc1 hull of that era?
  • WishWish Posts: 7,331 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • WayneWayne Posts: 425 Baller
    If looking at Malibu, Sunsetter LXI, Sunsetter (with Diamond hull) or a first generation Response LXI would be in your budget and fit your described use.

    Another one that might work is the Moomba Outback.
  • sodbuster88sodbuster88 Posts: 99 Baller
    ‘94-‘95 MC 205 fuel injection and killer hull.
  • rlyons124rlyons124 Posts: 12 Baller
    @Wayne are all those boats you listed use the same hull, diamond? Do you know what years those were? I’ve been searching around for what years have what hulls and what they models are?

    @sodbuster88 do you know if the 94-95 PS205 hull is the same as the PS190 hill?
  • sodbuster88sodbuster88 Posts: 99 Baller
    Yes they are generally the same, just a bit longer. However if memory serves me right....the PS190 hull changed for ‘95 and later while the 205 didn’t adopt the change until ‘96. So I believe the sweet spot is 94-95 in the 205 due to fuel injection if you want the open bow.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 573 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    From 97 to 2002, CC made the ski nautique in an open bow version. That's what I have - mine is a 97. I love it. They are unicorns - hard to find, but if you find one, definitely take a look. They probably won't make it up to your price range though, best case an 01 or 02 would come close to 20k, but probably not go over - maybe if it was really immaculate.

    After that, though, there is a gap. CC stopped open bow after 02, mastercraft 197s had pretty big wakes by then, so for open bow, the malibu is the best wake available between 2003 and 2010. Neither the LXI nor the LX are as good of a wake as your PS190, but especially the LX in those years should be at least pretty close - and it would fall right into your 20-25k price range. It would definitely have a better wake than a 2005 MC PS209.

    You'll be tested on exactly how important you think open bow is because it will make your shopping much tougher if it is a requirement. My wife made it a requirement for us, so I ended up looking far and wide and forever before finally finding my 97 SNOB 500 miles away. Glad I have it now though, I love the boat. I have an open bow (yes a small one, and a step over one) and yet I still have a small soft wake for my terrible skiing self that can't get beyond 32 mph and -15.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 2,904 Mega Baller
    Prostar 205 can be EFI back to their introduction of you get an LT-1 engine. It's the base 5.7 that was carbed through 93.

    Prostar 205 LT-1 is a great boat regardless. Bit heavy for the 5.7 with the 1:1 trans they feel sluggish compared to older prostar hull.

    Great boats though, good examples of LT-1 equipped boats regularly 14K+
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 2,904 Mega Baller
    @rlyons124 the 190 and 205 are different hulls but based on the same design with the 205 being longer and having bow seating.

    In 95 the 190 was updated, the 205 stayed the same. In 96 the new 205 hull launched.

    The 96 hull direct drive is a great cross over recommendation. As in 97 MC let you buy a 205 as an X-star.

    It is the 96 version hull that in 99 was given deeper sides and a V drive and as the stars got bigger became an X2.

    So if you are slalom enthusiasts buy a 95 or older 205. If you want more wakes buy a 96 plus direct drive 205 or xstar. If you want even more wakes over slalom go to a 205V or x star X2 etc.

  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,893 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    TSC1 unless need a bigger boat...if you do the "Bu" Sunsetter skis/drives remarkably well for the size.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Ski_DadSki_Dad Posts: 278 Baller
    i think the early 90's prostars ski great - I've skied both 190 and 205 from that era. But a 1999-2004 Malibu Sunsetter and Response with the diamond hull also ski great and I feel ride a little nicer.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 904 Mega Baller
    Versatility and room for family, it's hard to beat the Malibu Sunsetter LXi or Response LXi, both of which you should be able to find in your price range. The former especially is large enough for comfortably loading up the family for a day on the lake.

    Comes down to use cases really. If you're a ski-from-the-dock and never have more than 3 or 4 in the crew user, the PS190 and TSC1 Nautique are great choices. If you like to spend a few hours at a time away from land and have crews of varying size, and/or want to be able to transition to wake sports without any ballast, look at the Malibus.
  • rlyons124rlyons124 Posts: 12 Baller
    Wow thanks for all the great information. I will continue my search based on those recommendations. Does anyone know of any common issues with any of those boats (engine, trans issues or hull issues?)
  • RivvyRivvy Posts: 135 Baller
    Maybe worth looking into a malibu xti as well. Not to confuse you but they ski great and provide a lot of versatility. My neighbor has a 2008 that skis great and works well for his family.
  • WayneWayne Posts: 425 Baller
    @rlyons124 Malibu has had a few different hills over the years and there are some model specific hulls. I’ll break them down a bit.

    Malibu has two general hull designs, the wake and the Diamond. Some Malibu models could be optioned with one or the other. The sunsetter is a good example. The sunsetter LXI only came on the Diamond hull. The Sunsetter LX only came with the wake hull. The Sunsetter came with the wake hull except in 2002 you could option it with the Diamond hull.

    Not getting too deep in the details but there are some design features of the Diamond hull that create a little more lift yielding a wake that is much nicer for slalom skiing. The wake hulls are missing the details that create lift so the hulls will displace more water and create a “bigger wake” more conducive to wake type sports.

    The XTI was mentioned, this is in essence a Sunsetter LXI with an interesting seating layout. My memory is a little fuzzy on the XTI but it may have been a model that was available with either the Diamond or wake hull. So if you find one it’s something to check.

    The Sunsetter LXI is a little bigger and has more freeboard than the Response LXI. These boats are not on the same hull but share similar hull design features. They had a little over lap in manufacturing time frame but Malibu stopped making the Sunsetter as I believe the slalom crowd went for the Response and the cross over people went for the Sunscspe 20 LSV or the VTX which were a V-drive configuration which for some offers an acceptable slalom wake but can hang with the big boy wake/surf boats.

    If your budget was higher I would say take a look at the 20 LSV and VTX (on a Diamond hull, as these boats can be built on the wake hull as well). At higher speeds (32 MPH +) these boats have a fairly good slalom wake. If you drop below that speed the wake can really grow. I would never teach some one the slalom course behind one of those.

    As you search I would probably keep the Sunsetter LXI, Response LXI, XTI (diamond hull) and the Sunsetter (Diamond hull) on your list. Malibu also made something called an iRide, it was a “lower cost” direct drive that might be in your budget, the only thing I cannot remember is if these were available on the Diamond hull.

  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,893 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Adding onto @Wayne post here is an xti near me.

    You can see the interior layout is different...but it keeps direct drive configuration.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 904 Mega Baller
    @Wayne with some good info.

    There were two XTis. 21 and 23 footers. Avoid the 23. 21 was basically a Sunsetter with the funky seating and could be had on the diamond or wake hull.

    One thing to consider with Malibus of that vintage is the HDS. It's a box around the drive shaft that was designed to let water in with the intention of sound deadening. They're prone to leaking on occasion, especially if the driveshaft has ever been involved in a nasty depth finding mission. They develop some small cracks and will slowly let water into the bilge if bad. Not a huge deal to fix, just a nuisance.
  • rlyons124rlyons124 Posts: 12 Baller
    @Wayne @6balls thanks for the information guys. As far as the wake vs diamond hulls, how can you tell which hull the boat has. I would defiantly get the diamond hull. How does the response or sunsetter with a diamond hull compare to an early 90s PS190 slalom wake at 15-28 off. I’m not really concerned with super short line. These Malibu’s look beautiful and seam to have so much more room than my PS190. The only thing I missed from my PS209 was the ski locker in the back of the boat and open bow. I absolutely love the way my 190 handled and the wake, or lack there of.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 904 Mega Baller
    edited April 2018
    I used to ski regularly behind a 94 PS190 and a 2002 Response LX. Wakes were similar but I'd have to give the nod at 15 and 22 off to the PS, but not by a wide margin. 28 was the shortest I skied either and I couldn't tell difference there. In my experience, the Response LXi from 2003-2006 is the best pre-TXi Malibu wake out there. Some say they liked the Response LX better so it might be a matter of individual boats, lakes, load conditions, etc.

    Diamond vs wake hull and how to tell, see this link.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 762 Crazy Baller
    edited April 2018
    If you want to do some intermediate to advanced-intermediate wakeboarding on a primarily-slalom boat, (like many commenters above) I think this is where Malibu really outshines the other boat companies, mostly thanks to the versatility that the Wedge provides. Unless (a) you're a really advanced wakeboarder, (b) you're really into wakesurfing, or (c) you or your crew or your significant other is dead set on the interior layout that comes with V-drives... I'd stick with a direct drive.

    They killed the awesome Sunsetter LXi at the end of 2003, but introduced the slightly-smaller Response LXi the same year - they're both a little more "family": walk-through bowrider, wider beam. If you go out with your crew on a public lake and ski out of the boat for a couple of hours, you'll want one of these. If you mostly ski off the dock with a smaller boat crew, I'd stick with the Response LX.
  • WayneWayne Posts: 425 Baller
    Regarding Sunsetter LXI versus Response LXI wakes, yes the Response is better but not tremendously so. I notice a difference but I don’t ski any better behind one or the other.

    Unfortunately I’ve never been behind a PS190 for comparison. The Sunsetter LXI is equally as nimble on handling as any other tournament approved boat from that era. Malibu came out with the FXI which was short lived. It’s a “wide body” Response with more freeboard. Unfortunately they didn’t sell well and the people that have them now won’t sell them. It really was the recreation of the Sunsetter LXI.
  • Lieutenant DanLieutenant Dan Posts: 190 Baller
    @rlyons124 Of course this is all subjective (and furthermore I am biased) but several of my ski buddies who own ‘03 - ‘06 Response LXI’s and who like me ski 15 off to 28 off actually prefer the wake of my ‘01 Sunsetter LXI (softer bump).

    We use ours for everything but surfing: slalom, wakeboarding/skating, tubing, Airchairing, cruising and it can hold up to 10 people (8 semi-comfortably).

    I don’t know where you are located but there is a really nice one on in Chattanooga that you should check out.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 762 Crazy Baller
    I agree with the two posts above: while they're pretty close, I preferred the (larger!) Sunsetter LXi to the Response LXi (although, at this point all Sunsetter LXis are 15-19 years old), and owned the former for several years.

    @Wayne the PS190 is a great slalom boat, but not nearly as nice a family boat compared to Response LXi/FXi or Sunsetter LXi. @rlyons124 are you on a public lake? do you go out on the lake with kids for an hour or two, or just take sets off the dock?

    @rlyons124 back to your question, you can tell the difference between a Malibu "wake" and "diamond" hull by the "lifting chines" at the outside edges of the diamond hull, which keep the boat higher/"lighter", resulting in a softer wake. Look at the back left corner of the white boat below (diamond hull) vs the back right corner of the orange boat (wake hull).

  • foxriveratfoxriverat Posts: 480 Crazy Baller
    2000 Malibu Response LX 2016 66 lithium vapor
  • hemlockhemlock Posts: 106 Baller
    To @rylons124, forget about the wake. :smile:
    All 3 event tow boats built in the last 20 years have good wakes.
    Look for a boat that appeals to you in the driver position, seating all around, color, options, storage, trailering, all that stuff.

  • Nole_SkierNole_Skier Posts: 4 Baller
    I have a 1999 Sunsetter LXI and am still a 15 off skier. I also regularly ski behind a 2016 200 and while I'm sure there is a difference, it's not noticeable to me at that length. The caveat being that I also keep 1/4 tank or less fuel and added 150 pounds on passenger side to level out.
  • rlyons124rlyons124 Posts: 12 Baller
    @Lieutenant Dan I can’t believe the sunsetter actually has a softer wake than the response. What speeds are you guys skiing at. Is it a bigger but softer wake or the same size and also softer? Does anyone know how the sunsetter compares to the PS209? It seams like it’s better.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 904 Mega Baller
    Sunsetter, specifically the LXi, has way better wakes than any boat that size should.
  • rlyons124rlyons124 Posts: 12 Baller
    @andjules We used to ski right from our dock on a private lake. We are now moving near a big public lake, Table Rock lake (beautiful lake!), where we will have a slip in a neighborhood dock. I think it will be somewhere in the middle. We will probably take all the kids with us but go back and forth to the dock to switch out gear. Thanks for the pictures. It makes it really easy to spot one now.
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