It’s no secret that inboard boats rule the waterways when it comes to tow sports and it’s all thanks to innovations that have consistently kept them at the forefront of the marine sport market. From sporting conveniences to mandatory safety features, here are some of the many reasons inboards reign supreme in tow sports.
Probably the biggest leg up an inboard has over stern drives comes from the advent of wakesurfing. Wakesurfing uses the wave created by the boat to produce an ocean-like swell that riders can surf without hanging onto the rope. Wakesurfing isn’t possible behind a stern drive because the rider is fairly close to the back of the boat, which means an injury from the exposed prop would be inevitable. An inboard boat’s prop is safely under the hull far enough to prevent injury. Besides the imperative safety considerations, the progression of inboard wakesurfing technology has produced innovations that make the sport even more fun. Originally, wakesurfing was only possible by putting the majority of the ballast on the side you wanted to surf in order to create a wave. Malibu Boats changed the status quo with their innovative surf system, Surf Gate, that allows surfers to keep even weight in the boat and produce a wave on either side by simply pushing a button at the dash. Surf systems also allow you to switch your surf wave from side to side on the fly, which means you can surf your opposite side more often and even transfer from side to side while riding.
Driving a boat can be intimidating, but modern digital dashes make it easier. Rider presets allow you to configure settings like ballast, speed control, wave shaping, surf systems and more into a single button that can be called up for an individual rider at anytime. Once you engage a preset, driving the boat is as simple as pushing down the throttle and watching the water ahead of you. The presets on the Malibu Command Center even feature a “Go Home” button that automatically empties the ballast, stows wake shaping devices and sets the speed control for a comfortable cruise home.
While towers certainly aren’t new to the industry, they are still essential for contemporary watersports. A tower allows for an elevated tow point that gets the rope out of the way of passengers, allows wakeboarders to stay up in the air longer, and pulls surfers up and out of the water more easily. Malibu’s new G4 tower is one of the most technologically advanced towers on the market, featuring an interior honeycomb construction that makes it absolutely rigid whether you’re pulling a wakeboarder or slamming through rollers. A fun day on the water isn’t complete without music and the tower plays a critical role in delivering your tunes. Most watersports towers include speaker cans that can be heard as clearly by passengers in the boat as by wakeboarders in the water. More recently, many towers have become equipped with folding systems that make it easy to stow. Malibu’s G4 tower has a simple locking function and a counter balance system that takes no more than 30 pounds to raise and lower the fully loaded tower, which means collapsing it for trailering or canal bridges is a snap.
Another recent innovation that many inboards offer today is a wake-shaping device. Whether a wedge, tab, or plate, wake-shaping devices are designed to give you more control over your wake’s performance than ever before. Malibu’s Power Wedge creates up to 1,500 pounds of simulated weight and, since it’s adjustable from the digital dash, allows you to shape more vertical wakes or longer mellow wakes for different riders throughout the day.
No matter what kind of ride you’re looking for in an inboard boat, the latest innovations are sure to deliver a high performance ride for your time on the water.