Axis Wake A24
Posted: June 1, 2014
Axis Wake’s new A24 is bigger and better and has a game-changing new option.If you’ve been pricing new ski boats, you know prices can easily slide into six-figure territory with the addition of a few options, and not everyone has the wherewithal to swing that. But what doesn’t change for someone looking for a new wakesurfing/wakeboarding boat is the desire to have meaty, massive wakes for launching or surfing. The folks at Malibu get it and have developed the Axis Wake line, which is perfect for the budget-conscious wakesport enthusiast who simply wants an über-competent boat that is simpler in design and execution. Building on the success of the A20 and A22, Axis ups the ante in 2014 with its flagship A24 — and adds several goodies that weren’t available before.
Even though Axis boats don’t have the bling factor of top-of-the-line Malibus or many of the features that make Malibu one of the premier brands, one item has migrated over to Axis Wake that will be a game-changer: SURF GATE. No, that’s not some sort of eavesdropping scandal; rather, it’s an exclusive innovation that allows boats to plow up a beautiful surf wake without having to overload one side, which can cause the boat to list precariously. It also allows on-the-fly transitions — only 1.5 seconds from one side to the other with a flick of the switch. Two electrically actuated vertical tabs are deployed on one side at a time, depending on which side you are surfing. Here’s how it works: When water passes over the sides of the boat and mingles with the wake produced by the hull’s displacement, it creates a convergence point where the meatiest section of the wake is located. Diverting the slipstream using one of the Surf Gate tabs forms a huge, clean surf wake on the opposite side. For safety, it can only be deployed between 7 mph and 13 mph.
Just because Axis is billed as a boat for the cost-conscious doesn’t mean you have to settle for less performance than you want, and our test boat is proof of that. Instead of the standard 330 hp 5.7L Marine Power Monsoon engine, it features what is basically a marinized LS3 Corvette engine that displaces 6.2L and produces a whopping 450 hp of wave-plowing power. Despite its raw nuclearness, it doles out its acceleration incredibly smoothly, so you won’t be snatching skiers out of their bindings when you throw down. The 24-footer, which weighs 4,500 pounds without ballast, gets on plane in 3.8 seconds and reaches 30 mph in 7.6 seconds. Top speed is quick for a wakeboard boat at 44.4 mph.
Having Surf Gate makes a world of difference when driving your boat. An inexperienced driver handling a heavily laden boat that’s listing due to overweighting on one side can easily swamp it if he turns the wheel hard over. The A24’s no-list posture gives the driver easy directional control and eliminates the blind spot on the high side of the bow. At speed, the A24 corners well thanks to the standard Shark Fin, which has a reverse dorsal design than protrudes far down into the water with 60 inches of surface. The fin also creates a pivot point, so when you whip it in a hard turn it really cranks. You could option a second fin, but our test boat didn’t seem to need it.
The A24 is designed pretty much exclusively for wakesports. When loaded with ballast and equipped with the optional Surf Gate and Auto-Set Wedge (for augmenting and shaping your launch pad), it’s the ultimate machine. Standard ballast is 1,000 pounds divvied among three hard tanks. You can amp up the action with an additional 1,250 pounds of Plug n’ Play ballast, and the Auto-Set Wedge gives you 1,000 pounds of simulated ballast, for a total of 3,250 pounds. You can slalom at speeds more than 30 mph, but it’s still pretty lumpy back there, and you’ll catch some air while carving.
The A24 is a social beast with a 17-passenger capacity and seating in every space in the cockpit. A clever, low-tech solution to maximizing observer seating is Skybox seating, which is a section of the stern bench you can manually slide forward to create rearward legroom. This, in addition to the ChillAX flip-up section at the end of the starboard-side bench and port-side chaise lounge, gives you five rearward-facing seats — not counting the possibility of two more backward gazers in the pickle-fork bow section. The Skybox allows you to fine-tune your wake by shifting the weight of your human ballast bags. The bow section is really roomy thanks to a pickle-fork configuration that carries the beam forward. The forward-facing chaise loungers have just enough recline with enough legroom for tall folks. The upholstery is plainer than you’ll find on Malibu boats, and the seatbacks in the cockpit are nearly vertical. But lack of interior accoutrements is a decent trade-off that allows you to put your money where it really counts: into the wake and performance.
While the 450 hp MPC beast makes a nice show-and-tell piece, it will also take you pretty far away from the Axis Wake A24’s starting MSRP, which is somewhere north of $60k. The standard 330 hp engine will work fine for you unless you usually pack maximum passenger and ballast loads, but there are intermediate choices such as the 350 hp version of the 5.7L and also a 409 hp 6.0L model that might be the right power formula for this boat.
The A24 comes standard with a twin-axle Boatmate trailer and a FatAX Tower. The FatAX V2 option is a tower that hinges at the bottom for easy storage. Racks are optional. Stereo options start with two Alpine systems, but for the ultimate package there’s a thunderous Wet Sounds option that we had on our boat. Axis cruise control comes standard, and it’s a simple system that you set using rocker switches on the dash.
To set the A24 properly, the Surf Gate option is a no-brainer, along with items such as a three-outlet heater, a flip-up bolster seat and ChillAX seating. I really like the DeckADance flooring option, which allows water to pass through it and keep your feet from slogging around on wet carpeting.
To fast forward your A24’s attitude, Axis offers two packages. The Vandall Edition (named for rider Randall “The Vandall” Harris) gives you a custom graphics package including special carpeting along with the Sound Pack 2 Sony system, a custom trailer, under-seat lighting, ChillAX seating, a high-altitude prop and Deck Trac non-skid. Another package option is the Liquid Force bundle, which gives you an eye-grabbing green metal-flake hull and a white tower along with a custom swim pad.
|Beam||8 ft., 6 in.|
|Engines||Marine Power LS3|
|Base Price||See Dealer|
|Standard Equipment||SkyBox slide seating, pizza warming tray, Boatmate trailer, cruise control, FatAX Tower, tracking fin, swivel driver seat, Wakebox Hi Flo Ballast System|
|Optional Equipment||FatAX V2 Tower, Z5 Cargo Bimini, drop-in cooler, ChillAX seating, rearview mirror, Surf Gate, under-seat and underwater lighting, ski pylon, GPS cruise control, Salt Series engine protection|
Axis Wake A24 Owner Review
Purchased By: Ann Farmer, plus Justin, 19 , Gainesville, Ga.
Purchased At: Singleton Marine Group, Buford, Ga.
What we liked
- Surf Gate
- Pickle-fork bow section
- Huge amount of storage
- Passenger capacity
- Large amount of ballast
What we would change
The tower is about 2 inches too tall for our garage, and to fold it down we need to use a wrench. I wish it was easier store.
Why we bought it
We’ve always had a sterndrive boat, but as we got more into skiing we wanted an inboard for the safety and bigger wakes. My son and I travel around the country showing quarter horses, but when we get back from the road we love to head out on Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta. The interior of the boat is huge and very comfortable. Kids tend to travel in a pack, and my son, Dusty, is no exception. We usually head out with half a dozen of his friends, load the ballast up and go wakeboarding or slaloming and tubing. I am definitely the fun mom and love going out with everyone and cranking the music on our awesome stereo. I enjoyed my buying experience at Singleton Marine Group and was pleased to see they had a woman working in sales, which made the buying experience more comfortable for me. Shelly has been great and has gone out on the boat with me to show me how to use it. The service is always fantastic there.