Picking the right tow tower for your boat.
By Jeff Hemmel | March 2023
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A shared passion for waterskiing prompted six California friends to launch Malibu Boats in 1982. Named for the famed California beach town, the company initially focused on the waterski market but was quick to recognize the growth of wakeboarding. Malibu soon became an industry leader in both the ski and wake markets and introduced multiple innovations, including a wakeboard-specific hull design; the adjustable Wedge hydrofoil; and Surf Gate, a vertical tab system that altered water flow along the hull to dramatically enhance surf wakes. Malibu currently produces a range of models in sizes from 20’ to 26’ in length in both traditional, V-shaped bow designs and wider, passenger-friendly “shovel” and “pickle-fork” styles. These include the flagship M Series, the LSV, the MXZ and the LX. Crossover and ski-specific models include the VTX and both open and closed-bow TXi. Power is provided by Malibu’s own Monsoon engine line in sizes from 360 – 607 horsepower.
Malibu currently builds some of the most popular wake, surf and waterski boats on the market. Wake models can be found from 21’ – 26’ in a variety of bow shapes and cutting-edge features to produce large, clean wakes. A versatile crossover model is aimed at the multi-sport family and can pull skiers, wakeboarder and wake surfers alike. Malibu also continues to build two dedicated models for the serious waterski enthusiast, in both open and closed-bow styles.
|Boat Types||Wakeboard Boats, Wake Surf Boats, Crossover/Hybrid, Ski Boats|
|Hull Types||Fiberglass V-hulls|
|Average Length/Size||Wake/Surf boats from 21’ - 26’; 20’ Crossover; 20’ 6” Ski Boats in open and closed bow styles|
|Cost of New Boats||Priced near the top of the market compared to other similar boats|
|Cost of Used Boats||Priced near the top of the market compared to other similar boats|
|Activity/Usage Types||Wakeboarding; wake surfing; waterskiing; recreational watersports; recreational cruising|
Malibu currently builds some of the most popular wake, surf and waterski boats on the market. Wake models can be found from 21’ – 26’ in a variety of bow shapes and cutting-edge features to produce large, clean wakes. A versatile crossover model is aimed at the multi-sport family and can pull skiers, wakeboarders and wake surfers alike. Malibu also continues to build two dedicated models for the serious waterski enthusiast, in both open and closed-bow styles.
As the most trusted source of boating information on the internet, Boating Magazine has produced in-depth reviews of over 20 Malibu boats. These tests are conducted by an expert staff made up of true boating enthusiasts. Tests and reviews include not only performance testing and passenger amenities, but also dig deep into a boat’s construction, handling, and overall safety.
Boating Magazine has produced a variety of reviews of Malibu boats. Video adds another element to any boat review, allowing viewers to see and experience a boat’s features firsthand. Video reviews are hosted by Boating’s same expert editorial staff, enthusiastic boaters themselves who know what to look for in a boat…and how it will improve a viewer’s boating experience.
Find the answers to frequently asked questions about Malibu boats, including the types of boats Malibu makes, where they’re produced and how to find a Malibu boat that fits your needs and lifestyle.
Malibu Boats are produced in two locations within the U.S., Merced, California and Loudon, Tennessee, as well as in New South Wales, Australia.
Malibu produces their own line of Monsoon engines designed in conjunction with GM Marine. These include the 6.2-liter, supercharged, 607hp Monsoon LT4; 6.2-liter, 430hp Monsoon M6DI; and 5.3-liter, 360hp Monsoon M5DI.
All Malibu Boats use inboard propulsion. The engine is contained in a compartment within the boat itself. A driveshaft exits the engine to a transmission; a propshaft runs from the transmission to the propeller, exiting the hull at a downward angle. Unlike an outboard or sterndrive, steering is provided by a separate rudder placed behind the propeller. The design gives an inboard agile handling, provides lift and tucks the propeller well under the hull where it is away from towsports enthusiasts and, especially, wake-surf riders in close proximity to the transom.
Malibu Boats use both direct-drive and V-drive forms of inboard propulsion.
Direct-drive systems position the engine near the center of the boat, an efficient setup as power essentially travels in a straight path from engine to propeller. A tradeoff is that the engine is placed near the center of the cockpit, requiring a large engine box. Direct-drive provides a strong pull and level running attitude, ideal for slalom skiers who prefer a minimal wake to cross. Direct-drive propulsion is used in the skiing-focused Malibu Response TXi MO and TXi MO CB.
All Malibu wake-sport models use V-drives. Engines are placed at the back of the boat similar to a sterndrive, where they don’t interrupt the flow in the cockpit and add wake-boosting weight at the stern. This placement of the engine requires a V-shaped route for the engine’s power delivery. A driveshaft runs forward to the transmission and the propshaft runs aft so that it exits the hull at the required location and angle.
Malibu offers a full factory warranty for five years, including five years on the powertrain, five years on interior/upholstery, five years on audio systems and one year on gelcoat. For more details visit malibuboats.com/warranty.
Yes, Malibu boats are easy to maintain. Basic maintenance, including washing and waxing the fiberglass hull, flushing the engine (especially if used in saltwater), keeping engine compartments clean and dry, and cleaning and using protectant on vinyl surfaces will keep a Malibu boat looking like new for years to come. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, including regular oil and filter changes, to ensure reliable, safe operation. Factory-recommended service should be performed at an authorized Malibu dealer.
Malibu Boats are specifically designed to produce the best possible conditions for watersports, including wakeboarding, wake surfing and water skiing. Depending on the model, hulls are tuned to positively affect the wake produced behind the boat, diminishing it for water skiing or building it for wakeboarding and wake surfing.
Features including onboard ballast tanks, the Power Wedge hydrofoil, Surf Gate system and onboard electronics are also all designed to make the process of building or lessening wakes via those features easy and intuitive. Any Malibu model can also be used for recreational watersports including towing inflatables.
With the exception of ski-specific models, all Malibu Boats are designed with wake sports in mind, especially the fast-growing sport of wake surfing. Hulls are designed to naturally boost wake size, and features including onboard ballast, Surf Tabs, Power Wedge hydrofoil and intuitive touchscreen controls all work together to build, shape and easily produce ideal wakes for riders of varying skill and experience levels.
Unlike outboard or sterndrive-powered boats, Malibu Boats are also all inboards, with their propellers tucked well forward under the hull to provide a safe surfing zone directly behind the boat.
Malibu’s Power Wedge is a transom-mounted hydrofoil than can simulate up to 1,500 pounds of ballast by pulling the stern of the boat deeper into the water. The angle of the Power Wedge can be adjusted to make wakes pro-level steep or beginner-friendly mellow. The Power Wedge can also be used to push a Malibu boat onto plane faster and save fuel. The Power Wedge is easily controlled via the touchscreen command center at the helm.
The Malibu Surf Gate consists of two, vertically mounted tabs at the corner of the transom. When activated, individual “gates” pivot outward to deflect the flow of water coming off the hull. This changes the wake shape to produce a clean, surfable wave on a rider’s preferred riding side. Surf Gate is easily controlled via Malibu’s touchscreen helm Command Center. Gates also respond quickly to allow a rider to switch sides of the wake on the fly.
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