Upon first glance, the Malibu M235 is striking — almost imposing. As watersports boats have evolved over the years, their lines and presence have become bolder. With its sleek black-and-gray color combo, this Malibu takes bold to a whole new level. If Darth Vader had wakesurfed, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, this would be his vehicle of choice. And while you may be disappointed to note it lacks laser cannons and a hyperdrive, you’ll be more than pleased with the features of this 23-and-a-half-foot wake-making machine.
Malibu developed the M235 to deliver everything a watersports boat owner could possibly want or need, harnessing technology and design to do so. On the website, the flagship is listed as the “world’s premier ultra-premium wakeboarding and wakesurfing boat,” and we agree that about sums it up. The M235 only comes one way: fully loaded. That starts with the 6.2L supercharged Monsoon engine that delivers 575 pound-feet of torque, providing great performance when pushing the M235 and its signature Wake Plus hull through the water.
The Wake Plus hull, the deepest in Malibu’s line, is designed to not only displace as much water as possible but also shape that displaced water into sizable surfaces for riding and catching big air. The result, when combined with Malibu’s proprietary wake-enhancing devices, is some of the best wakes and waves our fellow team members at Wakeboarding have ever tested. Not only is the wave one of the biggest on the market, but it is also one of the cleanest, most powerful, and most forgiving. Sam Baker, the resident test rider, summed up his experience succinctly: “I can confidently say this is the best wave I’ve ever wakesurfed.” Keep in mind, this was with the stock ballast and only a crew of three.
Malibu’s three main features, known together as the Integrated Surf Platform (ISP), work in unison to create these endless waves. The first being the onboard subfloor ballast system, which consists of a bow tank, center tank, and rear tanks on both sides of the engine. Combined, these add nearly 5,000 pounds of additional weight to the 6,200-pound boat. The second is the Power Wedge II, an automated hydrofoil mounted under the transom that, when deployed, buries the rear of the boat farther into the water, thereby making a larger wake or wave. This latest iteration of the Power Wedge can be positioned at different intervals, which can make the wave steeper and shorter or mellower and longer, depending on a rider’s preferences. The third is Surf Gate, Malibu’s hydraulic tabs on both sides of the transom that turn the mass of water coming out from under the hull into an enormous wave.
Think controlling all of these devices could get complicated? Don’t worry, it’s as simple as the touch of a screen on Malibu’s Command Center helm setup. To the left of the wheel is the Sport Dash, a rotary dial that makes adjusting the ISP, speed and stereo even easier for the driver. To top it off, the steering wheel itself has controls for the stereo, speed, Power Wedge and Surf Gate. Don’t want to bother with making adjustments for a picky rider? Hand them the Surf Band remote. This wearable watchlike remote allows the rider to adjust the tunes and the wave to his or her personal preferences, which makes transferring from side to side on the wave even easier.
Inside, the M235 is just as feature- and experience-rich as the outside. With the high gunwales and 102-inch beam, the seating is deep, abundant and comfortable. Pop-up backrests on the port and starboard sides, as well as the reversible rear bench, allow for an array of options to watch all the on-water action too. The wide pickle-fork-style bow offers plenty of room for several passengers, and the stern features two seats, cup holders and audio controls for lounging when everybody is taking a break.
Of course, no modern watersports boat would be complete without a booming sound system, and for the M235, Malibu made sure even the purest on-water audiophiles would be happy with an impressive setup from Wet Sounds. The Rev8 tower speakers are crisp, clear and powerful (and they can rotate). Plus they offer customizable LED lighting via Malibu’s MultiZone RGB system. The G4 tower itself flows seamlessly with the lines of the boat and features abundant board storage via the rotating and clamping board racks, as well as plenty of shade from an oversize Bimini. The top of the Bimini also features extra board storage, great for bigger wakesurf boards, and underneath is a stow pocket — great for ropes.
If you’re in the market for one of the best watersports boats period, consider the Malibu M235. Shop this boat against the Nautique G23 ($154,807, starting price) or MasterCraft X-Star ($155,340, starting price) but know that Malibu achieved an ultra-luxury, ultra-high-performance watersports machine. Malibu’s M235 truly is one that can serve up fun for everybody in your crew, from first-timers to top-level pros.
- Some of the best stock wakes and waves on the market that are easily customizable.
- High gunwales make for a spacious cabin that offers plenty of space for friends — and storage for all their stuff.
- Surf Band remote allows the rider to customize the wave and control the stereo, allowing the driver to focus on driving.
- Starting price can induce sticker shock.
- V-drive loaded down with ballast is not the most maneuverable, especially in reverse.
Price: Starting in the low $200,000 range (with test power)
Available Power: V-drive
Malibu M235 Certified Test Results
How We Tested
Engine: Indmar Monsoon 575 6.2L
Prop: 17″ x 15 1/4″ Acme 4-blade Nibral
Gear Ratio: 1.76:1
Fuel Load: 66 gal.
Crew Weight: 530 lb.
Malibu Boats – Loudon, Tennessee; 865-458-4578; malibuboats.com