What does the best wakeboard boat look like? Engineers and designers from Axis Boats, Malibu Boats, MasterCraft Boats, Nautique Boats, Supra Boats, and Tige Boats ask themselves that question every year. And every year, we enjoy the fruits of that exercise, riding behind wakeboard boats with perfectly sculpted wakes, über-functional towers and brilliant LCD displays. Here’s a closer look at the best wakeboard boat innovations of 2011.
TigeTouch isn’t exactly new. After all, its iPhone-inspired interface introduced touch technology to wakeboarding boats in 2010. But little shine has worn off this stellar control system. In fact, Tige Boats designers made TigeTouch even more intuitive in 2011 by revamping the interface’s home page. Now, it’s even easier to control everything from your ballast system to your stereo with a tap or two of your finger.
Malibu Touch Command
Malibu Touch Command’s easy control is immediately obvious. Tap your four-digit code into the system’s keyless entry and push the start button. From there, Malibu Touch Command’s iPadlike control manages everything from interior and exterior lighting to as much as 1,450 pounds of ballast. Best of all, Malibu Touch Command comes standard on all Malibu Wakesetter models. Add the optional MaliView system and you have a powerful combination of both control and entertainment.
Supra Boats’ new Vision comes standard on every 2011 wakeboard boat model, and it’s the epicenter of each. The Vision’s stunning 6.5-inch display harnesses every essential function into an easy-to-use interface. Thanks to video playback from the stereo system’s DVD player and built-in features like the exacting speed control of Zero Off, the Vision system offers a mix of entertainment and performance. But our favorite feature comes into play at the end of the day when Vision’s GPS navigation pilots you back to the dock.
Wakesetter 247 LSV’s Transom Seating
You’ll probably notice the all-new Malibu Wakesetter 247 LSV’s massive main lounge first. After all, it’s incredibly huge and ridiculously well-appointed. But the two rear-facing seats at the transom might be this flagship’s coolest new feature. Malibu’s triple-density foam, a pair of stainless-steel cup holders and under-seat storage make these dual benches the perfect spot to set up for a session or kick it on a sunny day.
Get it: Malibu Wakesetter 247 LSV
X-25’s Flip-Up Rear Seats
The innovative seating setup at the rear of the MasterCraft X-25 is all about options. Flipped up, these dual seat backs transform the X-25’s ample sun pad into a well-appointed lounge, complete with stainless-steel cup holders, a storage compartment and a stereo remote. There are few better places to put on a board.
Get it: MasterCraft X-25
Supra’s height-adjustable driver’s seat
At 5 feet 2 inches tall, Supra Boats pro Amber Wing used to sit on a pair of life jackets to help her get a clear view from the driver’s seat — not anymore. Supra’s new height-adjustable driver’s seat not only easily rotates into the boat, it also raises or lowers a full 5 inches, allowing any size driver to deliver the perfect pull.
Axis ChillAX Seating
Axis Boats’ new ChillAX seating is a perfect example of Axis’ no-nonsense function. The pair of cushions in the bow walk-through are supported by stainless-steel hinges and flip up to create both an extra forward-facing seat in the bow and an additional rear-facing seat in the lounge. The result? More options than ever to follow the action.
Indmar LSA Engine
Indmar’s new 6.2-liter, 540-horsepower LSA is the same engine that powered the world’s fastest production sedan, the Cadillac CTS-V, from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. While riders aren’t all that concerned with speed, the supercharged LSA and its 540 foot-pounds of torque will help you load up your wakeboarding boat like never before and still burst out of the hole.
PCM ZR-450 Engine
For years, PCM’s ZR-409 has powered the biggest, baddest boats at Nautique Boats and Tige Boats. Now, PCM upped the ante with the new ZR-450, an amped-up version of the proven ZR-409. The new 6-liter, 450-horsepower flagship engine is not only powerful, it’s also clean as can be thanks to PCM’s Catanium clean-emissions system. PCM won’t rest on its laurels for long, either. Its new 550-horsepower supercharged XS engine is due out later this year.
Ilmor engines have powered winning cars at some of auto racing’s iconic events, from the Indy 500 to the Daytona 500. Now, the performance and experience that names like Andretti, Unser and Castroneves relied upon is headed for a lake near you. For 2011, Ilmor is producing three new engines exclusively for MasterCraft, including 5.7-, 6- and 6.2-liter models as well as a saltwater edition. Race fans, start your engines.
MasterCraft’s Power Tower
One look at MasterCraft’s futuristic new Power Tower and it’s plain to see this isn’t any ordinary tow point. But it’s not until you flip the switch at the helm and the Power Tower raises and lowers automatically that you realize just how unique it is. Lift it for a super-high tow point or drop it to coast under bridges and store between sessions. Either way, there isn’t a single piece of equipment to break down. In fact, the driver never has to move a muscle.
Nautique’s Flight Control Tower
The latest iteration of Nautique Boats’ Flight Control Tower has two built-in settings for its spring-assisted fold-down — one to easily navigate under bridges and another for simple storage in a standard garage. That convenient function is complemented by a handful of cool new accessories, from integrated tower speakers and accent lighting to slide-off swivel board racks.
Get it: Sport Nautique 216, Sport Nautique 226, Super Air Nautique 210, Super Air Nautique 230
Supra’s Progressive Tower
Another of Supra Boats’ fresh new standards, the Progressive tower is a fixture on every 2011 model. Its single-support design makes impromptu coaching sessions a snap and yields a panoramic view of the lake. Max it out with the Z-5 Cargo Rack, Roswell’s four-speaker light bar and Star One’s new swivel board racks, whose rubber-dipped forks safely store everything from wakeboards to wakeskates and even wakesurf boards.
MasterCraft’s Surf Tabs
Get greater control of your surf wakes than ever before with MasterCraft’s new Surf Tabs. Positioned on either side of the stern, these stainless-steel tabs not only help you create great surf wakes on either side of the boat, they also let you tune the length and pitch of the wave to your surfer’s preference. Press a switch at the helm and transform the wake from a shallower, longboard-style wave to a steeper, skim-style wave — or anywhere in between.
MasterCraft’s Plug N’ Play Ballast
Plug-and-play ballast isn’t a new idea. In fact, the ability to swap out ballast bags of various sizes has been around for years. But MasterCraft’s new system takes plug-and-play to a new level. Hard-wired at the factory for reliability, MasterCraft’s Plug N’ Play system allows you to add specifically sized bags to your X-Series boat’s hard-tank system. Better yet, the bags are filled with the same pumps as the hard tanks, and you can monitor them right from the cockpit.
Supra’s Hybrid Ballast
Supra’s new flagship Launch 242 comes standard with a massive 1,700-pound ballast system. More than half that water weight is contained in an integrated tank-and-bag system in the middle of the boat. A 500-pound hard tank overflows into a 400-pound bag, allowing you to add shape and size to Supra’s premier wake. Like all Supra ballast systems, you can control it all from the helm with the Vision system.
Get it: Supra Launch 242
Tigé’s Streamlined Ballast
Tigé’s three new ballast setups are not only uniform — choose between 900-, 1,600- and 2,000-pound systems — they’re also incredibly versatile. No matter which system you select, you’ll never have to worry about sacrificing storage. Tigé’s tank-and-bag ballast design maximizes water weight and storage. In fact, Tigé’s ballast bags cleverly stow into sidewalls when empty, clearing space for all of your gear.