Ski boats in Australia

freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
edited January 6 in Boat Talk
Hi everyone, im looking at ski boat options in Australia. I would love a Malibu Response but new its above my price and used it would need to 15 years old to be in my price bracket. Anyone have any reviews on XFI? A new XFI seems to be only a little bit more compared to a 15yo Malibu. Any other new Australian made boats worth considering?


  • RiversideRiverside Posts: 4
    I’m biased as I have one but they make a great product in Adelaide.
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    Martix look very nice but also very expensive.
  • Robbo5252Robbo5252 Posts: 38 Baller
    What's your budget and what's your reason for wanting new?
    Agree on the matrix being a well built boat!
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    For a new boat the budget would be about $45k. Looking for a water ski boat that more reliable.
  • Robbo5252Robbo5252 Posts: 38 Baller
    We bought an 03 Nautique 5 years ago and hasn't skipped a beat. Great boat to ski behind.
    There is one similar currently for sale that's very clean and asking just above what your looking to pay.
    The US built boats hold their value because they are so well built
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    That Lewis boat for sale does look good. Interesting that they have put a reconditioned engine into a brand new boat.
  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,720
    With respect unless something has changed a Lewis is a pile of junk compared to a Malibu / MC / Nautique.
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' 2021 MC As soon as it lands Water Ski Equipment - KD Platinum

  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    Ozski, happy to hear everyones opinion. In what ways don’t you like the Lewis? Any other opinions on other AU ski boats?
  • DryfarmerDryfarmer Posts: 9 Baller
    edited January 8
    The XFI is a nice reasonably priced family fun boat, not a great slalom boat. Similar options would be the Stephens range of boats. These all come out of the same factory in Corowa i think. More expensive options would be Camero legend, Spy and Hallett boats. Really depends on what your wanting to do.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,644 Mega Baller
    I always liked the look of this one Stejcraft
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    edited January 10
    @Dryfarmer , you are right. I didnt realise the XFI and Stephens came out of the same factory. Last time I checked (many years ago) the XFI were made in Bayswater.
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    @Robbo5252 is the one you saw for sale the 08 Nautique? It looks nice but at $50k that way above my budget for a used boat.
  • customskicustomski Posts: 130 Baller
    If you are not all about slalom courses what about a Camero Legend, nice well built boats and would get a decent one for 30 ish.
  • auskierauskier Posts: 462 Baller
    In my opinion a mid 2000s malibu in the high 30s to low 40s is still a much better boat than anything else made locally. If you are a skier, the skicraft senator has the worst trough I have ever skied, to the point where it is scary. The matrix sorrento is probably the best of them.
  • Robbo5252Robbo5252 Posts: 38 Baller
    @freerange No it was a different one but can't find the link sorry
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    @auskier what made the Skicraft Senator so bad? Have you ever skied being an XFI?
  • MarkSAUMarkSAU Posts: 37 Baller
    @freerange What is your main goal for this boat? Besides slalom what else, how many people, do you have a family, where are you planning to use it, etc. your boat choice will differ from first boat for a single guy who slaloms on the Murray, to a family that may want to do other stuff like wakeboarding and cruising larger body's of water?

    Unfortunately due to our relatively small market there is not a lot of R&D dollars available to our local boat builders so much of the innovation is driven by the US boat builders. A used Mastercraft / Nautique or Malibu will have more bang for buck than some new locally built boats.

    The locally made Malibu Response is a great boat but very popular and because of this I think they are over priced for what you get on the 2nd hand market.
    Having spoken to the owner at Matrix boats in SA, and having skied behind them I would highly recommend Matrix.
    I have skied behind a Rolco Nirvana and it has a very flat wake and good boats but small inside. My ski buddy has one and it is our preference for the early morning boys ski session- great boat for slalom and barefoot. Made in Melbourne and the owner/builder is a great bloke. Give them a call as he can most likely build to your specs and price...(2020 models on boatsales for less than $40K) - will not survive Sydney Harbour..
    Spy boats are ok but not in your price range, and while the Skicraft Senator looks great It seems to have a good wake for wakeboarding...
    Finally try to hold off untill end of season when more boats become available and prices cool off, unless you are buying new of course.
    Melbourne Australia

    "You have not fallen off until you let go the rope"
  • auskierauskier Posts: 462 Baller
    @freerange the area referred to as the trough - the dip between the wake and flat water, is horrendous. I have skied behind a lot of Aus made boats, and the senator is by far the worst. I have skied an older XFi which are ok. Good little boat for some family fun. But personally, I would much rather have a 15-20 year old malibu than a brand new XFi.

    If you insist on an aussie boat, the matrix sorrento and Camero Legend are probably the best of them.

    The 2nd hand market is through the roof at the moment. There is only 10 malibu response (of all generations) boats listed on boatsales at present, which is simply insane.

    If you would be interested in a 2009 mastercraft prostar 190 priced in the 30s, send me a message.
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    @MarkSAU, we have a family of 4 with 2 young kids. At this stage its mostly slalom, doubles and tube. Most use inland freshwater lakes or the Murray River.
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    Has anyone skied behind a newish model XFI Illusion?
  • matthewmatthew Posts: 56 Baller
    freerange, Save your cash and buy a US import or a secondhand AUS TXI, the Aus hulls I have seen are all attempting to be the Swiss army knife of boats and doing poorly in all disciplines.

    The advice you have been given is correct.

    The local boats wakes leave a lot to be desired and unless you buy a turnkey boat with PCM EX343 and 1.23:1 PCM 40a/80 transmission - you will usually end up with a crate 350 or reconditioned with a primordial soft clutch or dog clutch.

    We have to run two hulls to achieve the tournament skiing and the social barefooting needs of a family of 5 . My Aussie 18ft hull weighs in at 350kg and has a wornout chev with dog clutch with No interior and is great at social skiing but lacks speed control which is a must with numerous drivers.

    The new and used market is ridiculous at present, seeing SN196's selling for a great deal more than what I imported ours for 8years ago.

  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    @matthew how does the PCM compare to a Mercruiser Towsports 320HP?
  • matthewmatthew Posts: 56 Baller
    edited January 20
    If its a new powerplant and comes with a FNR transmission it will be supierior to any Aus driveline without a transmission. mercruiser will have a better resale /reliability than a no name SBC 350. Comparing the Merc to PCM is upto your needs, do you need Zero off ? If not a Merc is fine for social skiing.
    ultimately they are presumably the same base vortec 5.7?

    I dont know what primary discipline your wanting to tow for with your new boat. The USA vessels are superior in every aspect of their design and build. We will never enjoy that level of R+D investment on an Australian ski boat again.

    I was using the PCM drive as an example. My strongest advice is to stay away from dog clutch / soft clutch setups, yes they work all day long but a even a dog clutch assembly from rolco is around $1k when a transmission like the ZF 45c 1:1 can be had with FNR for $1400 USD.

    Ive seen a beautiful Sucesscraft Nova Diva with a PCM EX343 FNR setup but its more for the barefooter and the hulls interiors are still stuck in the 1970's and small.

    I wish you luck anything new with a decent powerplant driveline will be in the mid $60K plus I imagine.

    We just tried to consolidate to one boat and the only manufacturer that responded was Malibu dealers. $105K for poverty pack TXI on trailer with base powerplant and a ZO dial speed control & no bimini in that price either theyd prob be another 2k.

    We couldnt get a price from Mastercraft or correct craft for a new boat. I think the mastercraft will be next for our family when the AUD increases again.
  • alancalanc Posts: 16 New Baller
    edited January 20
    the ski wakes are not that bad behind the australian boats compared to the amercan boats just my opinion have really only skied lewis ski boats and mastercrafts to compare(last shape 14 to 20)lewis heaps better around turn islands those mastercrafts wakes took me out
  • GregHindGregHind Posts: 384 Crazy Baller
    @matthew the Mercruiser engine is not based on a chev. It’s their own block. Been around ages and I’ve never heard a bad thing about it. But no zero off for that one.
  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    @matthew do you think the boat manufacturers are not providing you a quote because they are so flat out? I have found the same thing with AU manufacturers.
  • matthewmatthew Posts: 56 Baller
    edited January 21
    @GregHind thanks for that, It was my poor assumption. The marine power plant market is changed a lot in the last 5years. I read that OMC are no longer making outboards.

    @freerange agreed, and that leads me to assume (the us distributors in AU) they are suffering from access to zero allocation on the US production line. I don’t know how affected local manufacturers would be, nice problem to have!

    The Australian Newspaper this week was highlighting luxury cars sales are breaking records. As a long suffering boat addict both in the offshore and ski segment, my strongest advice is to not overlook secondhand boats from an enthusiast like @auskier offered with a late model MasterCraft. Ive had 2 new boats in the last 20years and they both had major Ongoing issues that cost me a lot to rectify. There is little Consumer regulatory support When you purchase a new vessel.

    I’m on Day 14 of quarantine Isolation. locked up for daring to leave WA Thrown into retrospective 14 day Q iso two days after getting home from QLD + NT. So apologies for the rambling.

    try and be patient as possible because when you want to buy a boat there are none and when you need to sell the market will be flooded and don’t you know no body wants that model now.

  • freerangefreerange Posts: 14 New Baller
    @matthew what brand boats did you have issues with?
  • matthewmatthew Posts: 56 Baller
    edited January 21
    Haines Hunter on both, I was loyal to them for our offshore fishing rigs after many years behind 1600SO 2100SO when we skied salt.
    Last was 2011 very troubling a 120K offshore 7m rig with a wet delaminating transom at 6months. + soft wet floors.
    Numerous other structural issues with gel coat cracking hull, trailer package ect...and the lack of support from HH on a new package drove me to import a 196 that in 8years and 600hrs has only had One issue a alternator failure, the pcms lend them selves to owner maint and are a delight to service.

    The primary reason i imported was the US Timber free hulls after my last Haines timber rot from new prob all due to workmanship.

    ....I think mc has been timber free since early 84 and CC the 90's.

    To mitigate any after sale issues that may arise Id be looking for a manufacturer as close to me as possible or a dealer that will still exist in 3-5years because warranty has Zero value when transport is worn buy you the purchaser. From my experience it hurts when you have a new toy thats inop and The dealer says its a 5 week wait to get the boat assesed because the workshop is booked out. Whereas I can have parts sent to me from US suppliers like rockauto or skidm and we are back on the water drama free.

    Just a thought does Gilflite still produce hulls? They also have strong resale.

    It would appear the trusty flightcraft 21XLT's ect are fetching 20K from the mid 1990's.

    If a local stage one hull costs approx 12k,
    Easytow sw1600T trailer 7K,
    say 25K for PCM engine and trans.
    5 -10K final fitout its very easy to see why new boats are $60K+ retail.

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