Boat Buyer's Guide 2014
Author: Alan Jones
In 2012, Malibu rocked the world of wakesurfing with SURF GATE, which uses two vertical paddles to sculpt a surf wake without having to stack ballast primarily on one side of the boat, causing it to ride on tilt. The latest delivery system for this innovation, which was granted a patent in 2013, can be found on the Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV. With SURF GATE, you can also shift surfable wakes from port to starboard, allowing a surfer to change sides on the fly, and this year the actuators that control the system are faster, for a seamless transition. A new feature notifies riders of an impending switchover using a horn and lights. And when the next rider wants to go wakeboarding instead of surfing, there’s no loading or dumping of ballast to even the wake. To build a launching or surfing wake, owners can use the 1,000 pounds of standard ballast, the 1,350 pounds of optional weight or the Power Wedge to create a monster. If slalom is your thing, the 23 LSV is available with a Diamond Hull option.
Powering our boat is the standard 6.0L Indmar, which produces 410 hp and pushed the 4,500-pound 23 LSV along smartly. On plane, without the Power Wedge, in 3.4 seconds, the hull experienced a fair amount of bowrise. With the Power Wedge engaged, it reached plane in 2.7 seconds with vastly reduced bowrise. A great feature is Auto Wedge, which reduces its downforce when turning to save gas when riders aren’t throwing down. Zero to 30 mph was reached in 7.6 seconds, and top speed was 42.3 mph.
Despite the fact the 23 LSV has been the all-time top-selling ski boat in the industry, for 2014 Malibu reinvented it from the waterline up. Storage is deeper this year to allow owners to jam in more stuff, and there’s a new optional DecADence deck mat that allows water to pass through it, so even when it’s raining your feet don’t go squish. Also new is the transom seating, which allows riders to boot up in comfort or hang out back when taking a break. The helm is redesigned with a new wheel and a shifter along with a new dash layout. Your 15-peep posse will find seating in the fully seat-encircled cockpit and bowriding section that now has armrests for comfort. Flip-up seatbacks called Wake View seating give more spectators a comfortable rearward perch.