Boat options

I'm currently in the market for a boat and looks like there's a few options out there that seem to fit what I'm looking for. Looking for some opinions on the boats I've found and what I'm ultimately looking for.

Background: I've boated all my life, but mostly behind an I/O. Previously my focus was on wakeboarding, but switched to slalom about 3-4 years ago and have been really enjoying it. I've tried the course a couple of times, but generally do open water slalom. My wife switched with me to slalom and now one of my kids (11yo) is getting into it as well. Last few years I've skied behind 1997-2005 Nautique 196.

What I'm looking for: Primarily slalom, but will wakeboard, tube, and hopefully surf. I know slalom and surf are polar opposites in terms of requirements, so surf is definitely more of a nice to have. Needs to have a tower. Needs to be a direct drive so that the skiing isn't compromised.

Budget: about $50,000 CAD. Holy smokes boats got much more expensive in last 2 years. Seems like good used boats are 30% to 75% more expensive today than pre-covid.

Current options in no particular order (only looking at Direct Drives):
- 2004-2012 MasterCraft x7/197
- 2003-2012 Malibu Sunsetter/Response LXi
- 2003-2012 Malibu Wakesetter/XTi
- 2004-2012 Malibu iRide
- 2004-2012 Supra Launch
- 2004-2012 Moomba Outback/Mobius
- 2004-2009 Nautique 200/206/210
Ideally the newer the better (with low-ish hours), so 2008+ would be nice to have.
fyi, I'm in Canada. Willing to get a boat from anywhere in North America, but slight preference to a boat that's already in Canada, particularly Ontario.

Are there any of the boats listed above that I should just cut out of my list due to being a poor slalom boat? So far I've seen a few options for each of the above currently available, but is waiting till the spring going to provide more options?


  • 6balls6balls Posts: 6,112 Mega Baller
    Probably a response Lxi with a wedge, get a pile of fat sacks and a wake shaper. Unloaded a nice slalom boat, can probably make a decent passenger side surf wake but the bags take up a good bit of space. Get one of the larger surf-boards in surface area to make things easier. Tower is really nice for getting up on a surfboard on the short rope.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Ronny61Ronny61 Posts: 46 Baller
    99-04 Sunsetter LXI with tower, wedge and ballast (will need about 1500-1800 lbs. of ballast in the right places (depends how many peeps you have in the boat) plus wedge to surf...don't bother looking at anything else. I built in a custom 3 pump system with custom bag that is ready to surf in 12 min set up time
    Slalom wake is excellent and wakeboard wake is really nice when set up properly with combo of wedge and ballast
  • Ronny61Ronny61 Posts: 46 Baller
    Slalom wake at 34 mph and surf wave 10mph on my 2000 SS LXI

  • 6balls6balls Posts: 6,112 Mega Baller
    I take it back and agree with @Ronny61 dunno where my head was at there!
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • marknmarkn Posts: 529 Mega Baller
    Just FYI, the Nautique from 2004-2009 was not the 200, but the 196. 200 came out in 2010.
    206 and 210 models were available .
  • Thanks for the responses. Is there a big difference between the Sunsetter LXi and the Response LXi? I'm assuming the Response has the better ski wake, but is it a noticeable difference? Can you still surf behind a Response?
    Seems Sunsetters are in more limited supply at the moment.
  • RednucleusRednucleus Posts: 819 Mega Baller
    Sunsetter is the better all around choice - which is probably why supply is limited
  • Would the MC x7 be comparable to the Sunsetter LXi? Is the x7 surfable?
  • Ronny61Ronny61 Posts: 46 Baller
    I personally don't think the X7 is comparable to the SS LXI, almost any boat is "surfable" if you add enough weight to it, but you don't want to be in a boat that needs so much weight to get the push that it is easily swamped or feels unsafe. Especially if you are on public waters and there are many other real surf boats creating huge swells everywhere (will depend on your lake situation)

    The SS LXI is bigger and roomier than the X7, has more storage and a better wake as far as my experience.

    There are 2 for sale just listed on SIA in the 25k range which is average price for these boats. Leaves you plenty of money to add whatever add-ons you might want and customize it to your personal needs.
    Being of limited supply is what will always keep the value of these boats up, especially if you have a nice one with all the bells and whistles.

  • FSSPCatFSSPCat Posts: 168 Baller
    LXI > X7, in almost every way.
  • teammalibuteammalibu Posts: 1,213 Mega Baller
    You can always make the wake bigger for rec wakeboard but it’s tough to slalom behind a wakeboard boat!
    The Sunsetter has always been the best slalom boat in the bigger boats!
    Mike Erb Cedar Ridge Canton Miss.
    Horton is my hero
  • And I'm assuming after 2004 (ie. 2005+) that the hull changed and it's no longer a good option? I think I read that the Sunsetter LXi became the iRide in 2005+ but that the hull changed and the skiability of the wake was ruined. Is that accurate?
  • @Ronny61 Yeah, the 2 on SIA are nice, but the age is a bit older than I would have liked. Ideally I'd like something at least 2002+, but maybe that'll be a tough find.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 6,112 Mega Baller
    edited February 27
    There are some who claim the Malibu VTX on diamond hull is an adequate slalom boat, but is also a very good surf/wakeboard boat. Can't substantiate the slalom aspect and I'm sure the slower and longer the line the worse it is as a slalom boat.

    The Sunsetter will surprise you--at least it did me. Sitting in it feels big with high freeboard and a use-able open bow, handles and skis small. Decent for barefooting, too.

    Only 600 hours, man--this is a nice ride:

    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • foxriveratfoxriverat Posts: 621 Crazy Baller
    Here is a nice one if it's still available not the cheapest but nothing is now days
    2000 Malibu Response LX 2019 65 HO Syndicate Omni Vapor Bindings
  • Ronny61Ronny61 Posts: 46 Baller
    @SevernRat....curious what specifically do you like on the 2002-04 years verses the 99-01 model years?
    The 04's got the 340 monsoon which is an upgrade over the 325hp but not a night and day difference as long as your propped correctly.

    2000 and up got the 3 piece back seat which I like over the one piece that the 99 had
    2001 got upgraded dash with rocker switches
    I'm sure there are a few other small changes with the newer model years but all years will perform equally well as far as wake characteristics, handling, etc.
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 618 Crazy Baller
    edited February 27
    As others have said - you can make a ski boat into a decent wakeboard or surf boat, but you can't make a wakeboard/surf boat into a ski boat. So you need to decide what is most important. If you want to really enjoy skiing, buy a ski boat and you won't regret it. In your list I see three that are boats most here would actually ski behind: Malibu Sunsetter, Malibu Response, and a Nautique 200 (although it has been noted this model did not start until 2010). I've skied behind a iRide and a Wakesetter and well, I can say I did it, but I'm glad that I have a real ski boat.
    My encouragement based on what you have written is to buy a water ski boat and avoid the wake boat hulls.
  • Thanks, @foxriverat. I saw that one too. It's sold, unfortunately. It was actually the first one I had looked into a few days ago, but it already had a pending sale at the time.
  • Thanks for your thoughts, @KRoundy. I think you're right. We want a good ski wake first and foremost.
    My wife and I talked about it more and I think we're going to keep looking for good options for Sunsetter LXi boats and see what's available and what comes up over the next couple months. We're not necessarily in a rush, but I'd like to have something locked down by end of May.
  • @Ronny61 I suppose I don't have any real good reason for wanting 2002+ except for being slightly newer. Having that said, I would certainly pick an older well kept older model over a less well kept newer model, and hours on the boat/engine matter too.
    I definitely like the 3 piece back seat better, as I'd probably turn the middle section into a teak platform to assist with step over. The other "new" features are nice, but none of those yearly changes are necessarily show-stoppers.
  • Ronny61Ronny61 Posts: 46 Baller
    @SevernRat I like your idea for the teak platform to replace the center seat section, only downside is the price of Burmese Teak now. I planned to build a new teak swim deck for mine and just the teak was going to cost almost 2k...crazy

    I ended up using "plantation teak" instead and that cost me $330 so a huge difference, it's doesn't have all the same characteristics as the real teak but should work fine if the boat doesn't sit in the water all day, year after year. I have some left over that might be just enough to make that step.

    If your patient enough and keep your eyes peeled you will find a nice one, and if you ever want any advice on setting it up to surf then hit me up.
  • Thanks, @Ronny61 , appreciate it. Good luck with the new teak swim platform. I'll update here when I've picked something up.
  • Is there a significant difference between the Vortec and the Monsoon? Should I stay away from the Vortec?
  • 03RLXi03RLXi Posts: 34 Baller
    edited February 28
    No and yes. Confusing right! The base block and heads are GM Vortec. It's the induction, exhausts etc that make it a Monsoon version. This might be useful info for you
  • Ronny61Ronny61 Posts: 46 Baller
    @SevernRat The block is the GM vortec, Indmar is the company that converts it to be used in a marine enviroment, and then it is given a name like "325 Monsoon"
    Supra and Moomba boats get the same Vortec engine from Indmar and they call it the "325 Assault"
  • SevernRatSevernRat Posts: 13
    ok. I'm asking because I've seen this come up a few times on ads for the SSLXI: "5.7L GM Vortec 310 HP". I'm assuming this is just the 350 Monsoon spec'd to 310HP?
  • Ronny61Ronny61 Posts: 46 Baller
    yes but I believe the sslxi was 325 hp (my 2000 is) and the 2004 model was upgraded to 340hp. There are some out there that also got the 365hp Hammer Head option
    Either way, they are all 5.7L GM Vortec engine blocks
  • PurdueSkierPurdueSkier Posts: 209 Baller
    I have a 2010 response LXI. I love my boat. It has ZO and an open bow which were musts for my family. Open bow is usable for adults and kids when out cruising. It certainly has a bigger slalom wake than a 196, 200, or a new nautique but I think it is comparable to an MC 197. I slalom from 22 off to 38 off at 34 mph and think it's a great wake. I have a wedge and with it down and a couple adults in the boat I can surf without the rope, no other ballast. The more weight the better it gets. Without some serious weight I don't think you could do much other than just ride. I am not sure it would have enough push for any real tricks. I have never tried to really weight it down. Overall it's a great all around boat.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 6,112 Mega Baller
    The one I posted from SIA has the 365 hammerhead
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • chrislandychrislandy Posts: 356 Crazy Baller
    For that budget you might be able to find a high hours 2014/15 Mastercraft Prostar, much better than the 197. Plenty of scope to add ballast if needed and you can surf one, not comparable to a proper surf boat, but it can be done.

    There are examples over here in the UK that have 2k+ hours on them so they can take the hours if looked after.
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