Finally got the new boat in. For this season, I had a hard time deciding between a Malibu LSV with surfgate and a Recon Edition Axis A22. Ultimately, I elected to buy the LSV for two reasons: (1) my dealer had an LSV build slot that was much earlier in the season than her available A22 slots; and (2) my family really wanted a surfgate equipped boat. It was a tough decision, because the A22 I spec'ed had the LS3, Z5, sound pack III, etc. To get in the same realm of price, I had to go with the standard 350 motor on the LSV and no Z5 (sure, I could have just added those options, but my boats are paid for up front, and I didn't want to have to go into savings - I set a budget and wanted to stick to it). My concerns regarding the motor and bimini; however, were calmed after spending a weekend on a friend's LSV in late fall last year. He has the 350 and the Torque prop on his LSV. His boat planes out fine with 750's in the rear, factory ballast, wedge and 700lbs of lead in the nose. The set I took behind his boat was one of the best I had all season. The wake was very similar to my old A22 wake. Admittedly, the A22's wake is a bit thicker and has the potential to get a bit bigger, but, at my age and skill level, I just don't need anything more than I can get out of an LSV with the standard motor and Torque prop. That set convinced me that I'd be happy with an LSV even without the big motor option. (Yes, I'll burn a bit more in gas cruising around with the Torque prop, but I plan to buy another standard prop to swap out on the rare occasion that I have a planned boat cruise of notable distance).
In regard to the bimini, the guys and Malibu and Commercial Sewing have been working together to come up with an easier to open and close, and much sturdier, standard bimini option. What they came up with is known as the "Slider Bimini". I have had z5's for the past 4 years. I love the utility of the z5 and the size of the shade. Plus, I have historically HATED flimsy, hard to fold and open, standard biminis. The slider bimini takes all of 2 minutes MAX to deploy (a bit more to put stow simply because you have to deal with fitting the cover over the canvas. Seriously, you just unzip the cover, flip the rear hoop over the tower, slide the bimini forward in its tracks, and lock the two rear legs in. That's it. I was told (by a bu owner who has a Slider) that you could tow with the bimini up as long as you're not on the interstate. I tested that out this weekend. I towed with the bimini up at 55mph for about 20 minutes. Not a shake. Not a flap. It was just rock solid. When deployed, this is by far the sturdiest, most ridged standard type bimini I have ever seen. I like the fact that it is over the tower, yet it is still big enough to provide a lot of shade. As you can see from the pictures, it was drizzling yesterday on our maiden voyage; yet, we were still able to have lunch on the table and not get wet due to the coverage provided by the bimini. I may ultimately have the wife sew surf pockets on the bimini. No, the Slider is no z5. Man, I love a z5.... But it is a very very very good #2 option. I am looking forward to taking the boat out on a sunny day and at least having the option of not having a huge shade over me so I can get some sun in the driver's seat.
There are two slight drawbacks of the Slider bimini. The first is that, if you are using a Samson mirror arm, and your mirror is not folded to the side, you have to push the bimini forward somewhat when it is in the closed position so it's not tucked tight against the front tower hoop in order to allow room for the mirror arm. Not a big deal, but it's something to consider when option for a tower mirror mount or a windshield mount. I ended up getting both the Samson arm and the PTM windshield mirror mount. I'm going to try both and see which I like best. I'm starting off with the tower mount. The second issue with the Slider is that, due to fact that the bimini rests against the front tower hoop, you can't fold the tower as far down as you can with the other types of biminis. This was a non-concern of mine, because I don't fold my tower. I mean, I NEVER fold my tower. However, a lot of people do, so I thought I'd mention it. It is my understanding that they are coming out with a quick release system, which will allow the bimini to rotate out of the way or slide off quickly so you can still fold your tower all the way if you are storing your boat in a garage or something. Once you install a Slider; however, you will see that, by removing two little set screws, you can side the entire bimini off as it is currently designed, and fold the tower flat. (BTW, I was able to easily mount and remove the bimini by myself from it's brackets - 1 man job). You'd just need to keep the right size allen wrench in your boat bag. Ultimately, I give the Slider Bimini two big thumbs up. It's no Z5, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper.
As you can see, I with with the PTM Edge mirror for this season. I poked fun of this mirror pretty bad last year when it came out. I just didn't see how anyone could justify the price of these things. However, (here's where I pull my foot out of my mouth) after seeing a few in action, and using a few of these high end mirrors while pulling friends, I had to have one. They are just soooooo much clearer and provide such a larger field of vision than a standard mirror. Look, my little girls are starting to want to ride and/or want to ride on a tube or something by themselves. Spending a few extra hundred dollars to be able to see them better is worth it. We all spend a ton on gas and gear and a boat to ride and watch our family/friends ride. It's worth a few extra hundred to see the action a bit better. I have to hand it to PTM. They make a great product. Whether you get a the billet or standard backed PTM mirror, it's still a great option.
The trailer - ooohhhhhh the trailer. Boatmate hooked it up once again. Why did I get a triple, you ask? Well, there's probably not a justifiable reason. I mean, it looks pretty damn cool. There's that. It also tows freaking unbelievable on the interstate and stops like it's got a drag chute on it. I keep my boat at my house. I trailer it several times a week. My commute to the ramp is not all that long right now, but my wife and I are debating moving to a neighborhood that will require us to tow the boat up and down a very very long and steep roadway that goes to the top of a nearby mountain. If we move up there, the trip to the ramp will be 3x as long, and will require me to be on the brakes a lot going down the mountain. I drive a Yukon Denali, not a F-5000 Super Ultra Duty twin screw 18 inch dual smokestack exhaust dump truck brakes equipped diesel. I liked the fact that a triple has an extra set of brakes, and some extra traction to help me keep under control on the descent down the mountain. If I don't move up on the mountain this season, well, at least the trailer will be great for towing to tournaments and events in Knoxville and Nashville this season. Seriously, this trailer tows like a freaking dream. Now, I read up a bunch on triples before buying this one. All I read was "It's sooooo hard to turn." "I thought about turning and one of the wheels fell off my triple." "You have to buy tires once a week." "If you miss your exit, don't even think about turning around, you have to drive around the circumference of the earth to get back to your exit." Mew Mew Mew. Look, let me tell you, when I picked up this boat from the plant, the first thing I did was test out the trailer to see how bad it was going to be. Honestly, I don't know where people get this garbage about a triple not wanting to turn. This thing turns fine. No problems at all. Zero.
Boatmate did exactly what I wanted with the trailer, and gave me great advice as to some options that I went with. Owen Shelton and Mark Gibbs are awesome to deal with. Those guys, time and time again, have gone the extra mile to make sure that everything with my trailers has been perfect. This is trailer number 6 from Boatmate for me, and it's my favorite one yet. My favorite feature? The transom steps. My 4.5 year old can use those steps and get on and off the swim platform from the ground by herself. My wife, who used to always make me put a towel down on the wet swim platform so she could sit down on it and hop onto the ground (so as not to get her butt wet), can now easily get on and off the back of the boat without interrupting me wiping down the boat after a day on the water. Is this somewhat minor? I guess. But for those of us who have kids, parents, etc., it's niiiiiiiice to have those steps. The clear LED's and runway lights are sweet. The Fulton jack is beefy. The new tongue assembly/hitch (I forgot to get a pic of that - I will) is much nicer and user friendly than the old style. All in all, I'm stoked. The boat fits perfect, tows perfect, and looks exactly how I wanted it to. Thanks Boatmate!
Last edited by chattwake; 04-15-2013 at 8:19 AM.