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Advice in choosing a ski boat

tugmuttontugmutton Posts: 2 New Baller
we are ready to buy a used ski boat. Inboard. Open bow. Less than $25K. We live in central Tx.
We see on the market several from good boat companies, but we don't know whether any are good ski boats. What is your advice? Are any of these good bets? What would you look for?
94 Malibu Echelon
95 Sort Nautique
2002 Supra Launch
1997 Mastercraft ProStar 205
Thanks in advance.


  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    edited September 2015
    What kind of requirements are you looking for in a boat? Yes Response LXI or Prostar 197.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 836 Mega Baller
    edited September 2015
    Some questions that will help us help you:
    i) On a scale of 1 to 10, how important are the following activities:
    - slalom skiing
    - wakeboarding
    - barefooting
    - tubing
    ii) What speed do you slalom ski at, and do you ski in a course?
    iii) I'm guessing from the open bow requirement that you ski on a public lake. How rough does it get? How many people do you usually go out with?

    From your list, one thing I'd say is that while a Supra Launch is a very nice & well-built wakeboarding boat, it's not a great slalom boat in terms of the wake. Especially if you or any of your crew ski below 32 mph. In fact, if I had to order them best-to-worst in terms of slalom wakes (I think I've sat least driven each of these models), I'd say:
    1st) Echelon (by quite a margin)
    tie for 2nd) Sport Nautique
    tie for 2nd) 97 Prostar 205 (the 1992-1995 Prostar 205 is considerably better for slalom)
    4th) Supra Launch
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,415 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @tugmutton I don't want to get too far out of your price range but there are lots of purpose built ski lakes in central TX. With that there are several promo boat owners looking to sell. Even if a promo boat breaks the bank, it's quite likely that someone on the lakes may be looking to replace what they have for a newer model. One of those "I'll buy it if I can sell my boat" scenarios. Point is I'll bet there's something available not far from you.

    Several central TX skiers frequent the forum.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Vice President
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,365 Crazy Baller
    Hey there's a good looking 2005 SN 196 in your price range listed on ski it again in Houston. For 25K you can get a great ski boat. That SN should be far better than any of those that you mentioned, if it's a "ski" boat you're looking for.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,006 Mega Baller
    @LeonL criteria included open bow. For 25K you should be able to get into an LXI which would be my selection in that mix. For a slalom tug the 196 might be slightly better but not "far better" and I ski behind and drive both regularly. For versatility the LXI wins hands down while still being an excellent slalom boat.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Orlando76Orlando76 Posts: 1,244 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I'm a Nautique guy but if you're looking for a slalom boat I'd scratch that Sport off the list.
  • tugmuttontugmutton Posts: 2 New Baller
    Great questions, Andjules. Yes, we ski on public lakes, but we just bought a lake house and we can control when we ski. My adult son and I will run a pretend course at 15 off and 34 mph. My wife will slalom strictly for pleasure, but wants a soft easy wake. There are almost no wake boarders in our crew, though I could imagine adding some ballast on occasion so they could have a good pull.
    Skiing is our top priority for the next decade.
    Wake boarding is a distant second.
  • TFisherTFisher Posts: 27 Baller
    I have a closed bow echelon. Nice wake for slalom, I believe open bow is the same. If you have $25k, buy an LX or LXI if you are looking for the open bow. If you want a closed bow, look at nautique as well. LXI has the wedge for wakeboarding.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,342 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
  • rawlyrawly Posts: 516 Crazy Baller
    Don't let high hours scare you off. For the same price , I would rather get a newer boat with high hours vs. an older boat with low hours. They easily go for 2000 hours if taken care of. High hours are usually ski clubs or schools and do regular maintenance on their boats. Generally speaking , the newer bow riders have better wakes.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 778 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Are you sure you are going to need an open bow if your house is right there on the lake? Anyway, if you really do NEED an open bow, and you have up to $25k to spend, 1st place is the LXI. 2nd place is either the prostar 197 or the Nautique 206, I'll let other folks tell you which is 2nd and which is 3rd. Now I'm going to get really offensive and say you probably shouldn't even be considering hardly any other models if any. Don't worry about what is on the market right now at this moment, just wait for the right boat to come available.

    If slalom is really such a high priority, the Launch and the 95 sport should be crossed off immediately. The echelon might be ok, but it is (or should be) way under your price range, probably doesn't even have fuel injection, and just isn't nearly the boat that Malibu was making a decade later with the LXI. A 97 PS205 is ok, that used to me my main boat that I rode the most, but keep in mind that this same hull became the original X-star, so you decide how much your wife is going to like the wake at presumably long line and slow speeds.

    Anyway, I would find one of those three boats mentioned above or bust. Maybe I would throw in a Tige 20i from just a few years ago? Maybe? Realistically, I think I would really be holding out for the right LXI even above the 206 and 197...but that is in part because I'm not a very good skier and I'm affected more than I should be by even a slightly better or worse wake.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,818 Mega Baller
    @tugmutton, of your original list, my selection would be the 1997 205. A 205 will be OK at 15 off. 22 off will be the area of compromise.

    Like others, I would refer you to an LXi to get the slalom wake and open bow balance that you need. If you can get a 2007 or newer in your price range, it can be converted to Zero Off at your convenience.

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • DWDW Posts: 2,139 Mega Baller
    @tugmutton: there is a Malibu LXI in TX for 27k negotiable on, that would be a great slalom boat. Gen1 LXI's are an excellent boat and preferable to any on your list from a slalom wake aspect.
  • wtrskiorwtrskior Posts: 704 Crazy Baller
    I'd take the 97 205. great all around boat, but you should be able to get one under 15k, not 25... Personally I'd be looking at a 98+ response LX. 99 got some nice interior improvments, but 98 is when they went to the diamond sv23 hull, still great driving and skiing by today's standards, just no Zero Off.. throw a wedge & tower on it and its a multi-purpose boat that you can run shortline on, barefoot and do some boarding.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,818 Mega Baller
    Almost forgot to say this:

    As always, ski and drive before you buy.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,342 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
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