It was funny that we traveled 3,000 miles to see this Malibu Wakesetter VLX near Malibu’s headquarters when we could have just stayed in Orlando to ride behind it. Chad Sharpe has one, Philip Soven has one, Dallas Friday has one, Brian Grubb has one ... and on and on. So yeah, this is a pro boat.
Hull: This is the V25 Wake hull shared with the Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV, Malibu 21 XTi and Malibu 23 XTi. We tried asking Malibu research and development guru Danny Gasper why this and all his hulls work so well, and he somehow described it without describing anything. Trade secrets. We understand.
Ballast: Malibu hides the factory ballast tanks so well under carpet in the rear and center of the boat that we really didn't notice them until the LCD "bar graph" gauge on the dash started showing they were filling up. The 900-pound three-tank factory ballast system is good; the upgrade to 1,250 is even better.
Tower: Some of our, uh, older test team members preferred the more traditional tube tower, but most of us really like the swept-back lines of the standard Illusion X tower. Quick-pin release allows it to fold down pretty easily, and the optional racks locked in the boards well.
Wake shaper: The stainless-steel Power Wedge is an option, but we can't imagine not having this hydraulic wake plate. It displaces what Malibu calculates at 1,200 pounds of ballast. There's also a manual Wedge available.
Highlight feature: Rider presets. There's a lot of potential here. On the LCD dash display, you can set up your own profile — enter preferred speed, ballast configuration, Power Wedge setting — and the computer does the rest. If you don't know that stuff yet, Malibu loads the boat with factory presets. Tweak 'em from there.
The wake: We're always excited about riding behind this boat, whether during wakeboard boat tests or when out with pros. We found a sweet spot on an 80-foot rope when we had the speed at 24.8. Shortening it from there to 70 feet and slowing down to 22 made for a peaky, poppy wake with the 1,250 pounds of factory ballast.
Ballast: 1,250 lb. total (center tank: 500 lb.; two rear tanks: 200 lb. each; bow tank*: 350 lb.)
Tower: Illusion X wakeboard tower
Wake shaper*: Power Wedge
Main lounge: 59 sq. ft.
Stereo*: Rockford Fosgate unit with USB port and 1-gig hard drive, 1-gig USB pocket drive, up to 8 Rockford Fosgate speakers, amp, subwoofer, transom remote, swivel tower speakers, Sirius satellite radio-ready