Behind The Scenes: The Crossover Evolution

Although crossover boats are the newest breed of inboard, they've grown to practically dominate the market. The reason? Most buyers are no longer satisfied with having a really good ski boat or a really good wakeboard boat; they want a boat that can do it all. Building a boat with such versatility doesn't just happen overnight: Crossovers have slowly evolved over the past three decades – and they're still evolving. Find out where crossovers came from, where they are now and where they're going in the future.

How did crossovers get started, and how have they evolved to where they are today?

The very first crossovers appeared in the 1980s and combined skiing with more of a family boat. The boating industry wanted to allow more people in the boat to go out and have fun on the water, whether that’s skiing, swimming or picnicking. So we began to see the first open-bow ski boats, and those were the start of the crossover movement.

– Matt Brown, Product Development and Engineering Manager, Skier’s Choice

How do crossovers differ in design from traditional ski or wakeboard boats?

Crossovers are more family and creature-comfort oriented than traditional ski boats. They usually offer all of the features and options of a wakeboard boat, but they also have the ability to produce a very good ski wake. They’re mostly V-drives, which offer better cockpit layouts for space, storage and seating. They offer towers and multiple removable pylon towing positions for the best flexibility.

– Mike Myers, Senior Design Engineer, MasterCraft

Lately, just about every boat brand has put out a 20-foot crossover model. What makes 20-footers such a popular platform?

The 20-foot crossovers are popular because they keep the boat’s weight down for skiing, and the hulls aren’t dramatically different than traditional ski boats. The smaller boats tend to be more maneuverable as well. And for most customers, there’s just something hard about perceiving anything larger than a 20-foot boat as a good ski boat.

– Matt Mueller, Malibu dealer, Minnesota Inboard

Are crossovers popular across all customer demographics?

Most people want a boat that can do everything, and they don’t want to compromise, unless the boat buyer is a hard-core sport-specific enthusiast. But the hard-core enthusiasts are only 10 percent of the market, whether they’re skiers, wakeboarders or surfers. Together, these groups only make up 30 percent of the buying, and the rest of the market wants to do everything with their boats. So that’s 70 percent of the market, or at least 2 out of 3 people, who are buying crossovers.

– Dan Gutierrez, Director of Design and Marketing, Tigé

What can we expect from crossovers in the future?

I think there are better opportunities coming for wakesurfing. There are opportunities for crossovers to be even more high-end slalom and high-end wakeboarding. And there are more opportunities in hull design, especially for rough-water rides and comfort.

– Matt Brown, Product Development and Engineering Manager, Skier’s Choice

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TIGÉ RZR

Length: 20’ | Beam: 94” | Fuel capacity: 38 gallons | Seats: 12

The combination of its Convex V-hull design and TAPS wake plate provides Tigé's new RZR with maximum versatility. Simply drop the TAPS plate and you’ve got a ski boat; raise it and you’ve got a wakeboard boat. Or if surfing’s your thing, add the surf ballast package to pump up an epic wakesurfing wave on either side of the boat. Even better, with the new TigéTouch digital dash, all of the RZR’s multisport potential will literally be at your fingertips.

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SPORT NAUTIQUE 200

Length: 20’ | Beam: 95” | Fuel capacity: 30 gallons | Seats: 9

Nautique’s brand-new Sport 200 combines the same record-breaking hull design of the Ski Nautique 200 with a V-drive, making it ideal for hard-core skiers with families who want to wakeboard and wakesurf. And you don’t have to take our word for its capabilities: The Sport 200 was one of six boats – and the only V-drive – to be approved by USA Water Ski to pull record-capable tournaments in 2011. On the board-riding front, the Sport 200 features the Hydro-Gate with SportShift, along with 736 pounds of ballast, allowing you to dial in shapely wakes to satisfy wakeboarders and wakesurfers alike.

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MASTERCRAFT X-2

Length: 20’ | Beam: 96” | Fuel capacity: 45 gallons | Seats: 11

The MasterCraft X-2 is designed with a superior level of multisport flexibility. While slalom enthusiasts will enjoy the X-2’s compact size and advanced recreational ski wakes, the X-2 also has plenty to offer the board riders in the family. The boat’s nearly 900 pounds of standard ballast pump up rampy wakes that will have the wakeboarders stoked, and by adding on MasterCraft’s patented Surf Tabs, you’ll be able to sculpt sweet wakesurfing waves with ease. Last but not least, the stylish interior and pickle-fork bow create a huge amount of space, allowing everyone in your family or crew to comfortably enjoy a range of water sports or simply kick back for a relaxing pleasure cruise.

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MALIBU WAKESETTER 3-D VTX

Length: 20’ | Beam: 98” | Fuel capacity: 48 gallons | Seats: 11

All-new for 2011, the Malibu Wakesetter 3-Discipline VTX is specifically designed to off er the ultimate crossover capabilities. Sporting the same diamond-cut hull design as Malibu’s record-setting Response LXi, the 3-D VTX carries a Class C tournament rating from USA Water Ski, so you can trust that it delivers high-performance slalom wakes. At the same time, with the addition of the Power Wedge and Quad Ballast, the 3-D also throws up impressive wakeboarding and surf wakes right out of the box.

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SUPRA SUNSPORT 20V

Length: 20’ 8” | Beam: 95” | Fuel capacity: 39 gallons | Seats: 10

As the smallest boat in the Supra line, the Sunsport 20V is an ideal platform for crossover lovers who want to do it all. Whether you’re looking to ski, wakeboard or surf, the 20V is loaded with a huge collection of crossover-enhancing features: the Smart Plate, Zero Off, Gravity III ballast, stadium seating, breakaway rail tower and more. Best of all, these features come standard with every 20V, so you

don’t have to spend any extra money to customize your ride – the Sunsport 20V is shred-ready right out of the box.

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MOOMBA OUTBACK V

Length: 20’ | Beam: 96” | Fuel capacity: 39 gallons | Seats: 12

The Outback V is Moomba’s leading crossover boat, and with a compact 20-foot platform, its water-ski wakes and handling are now better than ever. Plus, the 2011 Outback V has been redesigned to make it both heavier and deeper than previous models, which boosts its wakeboarding capabilities and comfort to equally high levels. Top things off with the optional multisport wake plate and Gravity III ballast, and you get one of Moomba’s finest wakesurfing wakes. Best of all, this amazing versatility comes at a price point that won’t empty your bank account.

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