Wakeboard Boat Review
This boat is still relatively new as the Malibu vRide — Malibu’s most value-minded wakeboard boat — but it has a long history. It has the same hull as the original Malibu Wakesetter VLX and was the tow boat that stars like Chad Sharpe and Dallas Friday used in the past. Now it’s a great way to trade up from an I/O or an older wakeboard boat to a brand-new V-drive Malibu wakeboard boat for just over $40,000.
Hull: Called the SV23 Wake hull, this was the standard wake-producing hull that dominated the Malibu wakeboard boat lineup until the past few years. It also features the time-tested Malibu full stringer system with through-bolted engine mounts and the same Malibu level of construction that the higher-end models have.
Ballast: The Malibu vRide comes with a 500-pound center tank standard, with the option to upgrade to two rear tanks at 200 pounds each. That 900-pound total is a good amount for a 21-footer.
Tower: Malibu includes the stylish, swept-back Illusion X tower standard on the Malibu vRide. We really appreciate that, considering a tower isn’t standard on a surprising number of boats that are marketed to wakeboarders.
Wake shaper: The Power Wedge isn’t standard, but upgrading to it does add to the value of this boat. It increases the versatility by being able to change the shape of the wake at the push of a button on the fly. And we like how Malibu makes them at its in-house machine shop.
Highlight feature: The MSRP, for sure, but that would be a boring picture. OK, how about that interior lounge. It doesn’t have all the bling of other Malibu wakeboard boats, but it’s still exceptional in its fit-and-finish and comfort.
The wake: With the maximum factory weight, we shortened up the rope to 65 feet at 22 mph. It’s a wide wake. There’s a little less peak than the Malibu Wakesetter VTX or Malibu Wakesetter VLX. Don’t be afraid to charge the double-up — it’s clean and consistent.
What We Dig
-In-dash LCD display
-Malibu cruise control standard
-Indmar 320 hp engine standard
-60-quart cooler in lounge
-Full wraparound seating
Length w/o platform: 21’
Dry weight: 3,000 lb.
Ballast: 900 lb. total (center tank, 500 lb.; two rear tanks, 200 lb. each*)
Tower: Illusion X wakeboard tower
Wake shaper*: Power Wedge
Two lounges: 50 sq. ft.
Stereo: Rockford Fosgate unit with USB port and 1-gig hard drive, 1-gig USB pocket drive, up to four speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, Sirius satellite radio-ready
Cooler: 60 qt.
Fuel: 35 gal.
Trailer: Tandem axle
Base MSRP: $40,900
Standard: Indmar LCR 5.7L, 320 hp
Test: Indmar Monsoon 5.7L, 340 hp
Test prop: Acme 13.5×16 four-blade
Cruise: Malibu Precision Pro