Malibu’s Wakesetter 23 LSV is a big-wave generator, boosting, shaping and positioning wakes through multiple physical devices. The result is a boat that will likely please the most hardcore rider from any wake discipline.
The centerpiece of Malibu’s wake strategy has long been the Wedge, a transom-mounted hydrofoil that swings down as far as 90 degrees, creates negative lift to pull the stern lower in the water, and effectively mimics onboard ballast. My test boat’s next-generation Power Wedge II is a refinement of the original, featuring a larger 1-foot-7-inch-by-8-inch blade that equates to a 21 percent increase in surface area. When lowered up to 1 foot 2 inches below the hull via its electronically controlled hydraulic rams, it equates to carrying an additional 1,500 pounds, but without sacrificing an inch of cockpit space. That’s not to say Malibu eschews onboard ballast. While the Wedge may do the trick for the casual rider, serious wake riders will want more. A foursome of rigid, standard ballast tanks is spread equally below the Wakesetter 23 LSV’s cockpit floor, adding an additional 1,000 pounds to the total load. Max ballast is 3,950 pounds.
The combination of the LSV’s hull, Power Wedge II and ballast equates to long, tall, symmetrical wakes for the wakeboarders in your crew. But, since surfing is what’s currently taking the market by storm, Malibu provides for further tweaking of those wakes with a device called Surf Gate. This consists of twin 1-foot-7-inch-by-1-foot-1-inch vertical tabs located on each corner of the boat’s transom adjacent to the swim platform. Surf Gate heightens and shapes the wake on a surf rider’s preferred side by disrupting the convergence point of water coming off the hull sides. Touch the appropriate setting on the 12-inch touchscreen’s dash display and the appropriate gate goes into action, pivoting outward to redirect water coming down the hull side and, in turn, enhancing and shaping the opposing wake. In overly simplistic terms, Surf Gate causes the boat to list to one side, a wake-boosting tactic previously accomplished by shifting passengers and ballast.
With Surf Gate active, I noted a lengthy wake with a nice sweet spot about 5 to 10 feet aft of the swim platform. Drift back and you can use the almost perfectly formed, steeper face to accelerate; come to close to the platform and some well-timed weight on your back foot will act like a brake. An obvious advantage to Surf Gate is that it’s quick and easy to set things up for both regular and goofy-footed riders. In fact, the transition from one wake to the other can be accomplished on the fly, as the fast-responding electronic gate actuators allow the surf wake to change sides in as little as two seconds. This gives experienced surfers the opportunity to ride both sides of the wake and perform innovative tricks up and over the rooster tail. My test boat even featured optional tower lights and an audible signal to alert the rider when the wake would change sides.
Disrupting water flow to build surfable wakes is a common theme among wake-surf boats, but nearly all manufacturers choose slightly different methods to accomplish it. MasterCraft’s X30 ($132,830 with a 430 hp 6.2L Ilmor/Surf and Convenience Package) employs the brand’s Gen II Surf System, asymmetrical plates attached to the hull’s trailing edge along with a center-mounted trim tab. Nautique’s Super Air Nautique 230 ($113,967 with a 450 hp PCM H6 DI/Nautique Surf System) showcases the brand’s Nautique Surf System, dual plates that lay flat against the transom but extend out and down beyond the transom profile to affect water coming off the hull. Like the 23 LSV, both boats buck the trend of pickle-fork bow styles and show a more traditional V-shape.
Wake riding tends to be a social sport, so abundant seating is installed aboard the Wakesetter 23 LSV. Malibu rings nearly the entire cockpit with a plush wraparound bench, below nearly all of which is generous stowage. Two convenient flip-up cushions amidships create parallel aft-facing seatbacks to focus attention aft. The bow is roomy enough for two adults to stretch out in comfort. It’s also deep and secure, a plus given the size of the wakes you’ll be crossing after a rider falls. The captain enjoys a luxuriously appointed dash, highlighted by the aforementioned 12-inch touchscreen front and center, in addition to a 7-inch screen below and to the right. Combined, they offer control of nearly all the boat’s vital functions.
As to power, it’s a given that a beefy engine is required to haul around all that weight. My test boat was optioned to the max, featuring a 555 hp Indmar 6.2L Supercharged LSA, the same engine that powers the Cadillac CTS-V. With empty ballast and a light passenger load, it pushed the boat onto plane in less than four seconds, while reading the 30 mph benchmark in 5.8 seconds. Top speed was an even 42 mph. Given the surf and wake focus of the LSV, you’ll probably only see those digits on the way back to the dock.