As many of you know, I've had a bunch of boats over the years. I have an awesome network of local dealers in the East Tennessee area who have helped put me in some nice boats. Well, when I sold mu 2013 Malibu LSV in the fall of last year, I didn't think I would be able to get another boat this season. My wife and I moved shortly after selling my LSV to a great school district and into a home that is large enough for our growing family. I ended up using all of the money that I had tied up in my boat, as well as most of my savings, to put down on my new house. That left me in a position where I did not think that, with less savings and a larger mortgage payment, I'd be able to afford something for 2014.
Well, the good news is that I ended up being offered a deal on a boat that not only fit my budget, but was spec'd out with all of the options that I really wanted. The guys who produced The Voyage had Malibu build them a really sick 2014 Axis A24, with lots of flake, surfgate, and most importantly, an LS3. When they were done with the film, they gave the boat back to Malibu with 150 hours on it. Malibu ran it back through and reconditioned the boat and made it available to my dealer. As luck would have it, I was able to negotiate a very competitive price on the boat, and made the numbers work.
The first thing I did was swap out the factory tower speakers with a pair of Wetsounds Rev410s - powered by a Syn4 and controlled by a ws420 eq. While, in comparison to the systems that many others have, I am very very happy with the results. Having a good set of tower speakers on a boat is, to me, one of the most important options money can buy. While the investment is steep, the enjoyment you get with an awesome sounding stereo, every single time you use the boat, is well worth the price. It's like having the big motor option. You might not always need all that power, but when you do, there's no substitute.
I also installed a set of XS Power Batteries D3100's to satisfy my power needs this season. I've had the same set of batteries for like 6 seasons now, and they continue to work flawlessly. Lastly, I ordered some 1100lb bags from Fly High for the rear hatches, as well as the integrated bow bag. Fly High works with Malibu to ensure that its fittings and bags work perfectly with Malibu's high-flow pnp system. The install on my end was super easy, and I'm thrilled with the fitment of the bags.
Lastly, Boatmate took care of me as usual on a few minor options that I wanted to add to the trailer. I have always had awesome customer service from Boatmate, and have had zero issues whatsoever with its trailers.
In regard to the boat itself, I've owned two Axis A22's (2011 and 2012), so I thought I knew what to expect with the A24. Well, I was really taken aback when I took delivery and demoed the A24. While I always liked the fit and finish of the prior Axis boats I owned, Malibu really stepped it up with the 2014 A24. The vinyl is very very similar to that which was in my '13 LSV. The rubrail on the A24 is a very nice brushed aluminum. The gelcoat is absolutely perfect and the newer gauges, toggle style switches and steering wheel are more intuitive, more aesthetically pleasing, and more comfortable to use.
With respect to the size of the boat. Holy cow. This thing is like a freaking limo. This is the biggest boat I've ever owned. I've had 3 SANTE 230's in the past, and this beast blows those boats away in terms of interior room and storage. The capacity of the A24 is 17. That's right... 17 freaking people. I'm not sure I have 17 friends.... Anyway, for those who value a lot of room, this boat fits the bill. Another thing I really like about the A24 is that you get under seat storage that is both traditional (where it is under a seat and essentially encased in solid fiberglass), as well as the Axis style under seat storage (where the wall of the storage area is black aluminum with large holes that you can reach through and grab ropes, flipflops, etc.). You get the best of both worlds. There is a nice seating area on the back of the transom, which makes putting on your board a breeze, but which also does not decrease the size of the sunpad.
The bow of the A24 is larger than the A22. It is a walk through style, which I actually really like. It's much more like my old LSV, but bigger. The ob compartment is huge - much larger than the A22's. At one point yesterday, my 5 year old and two of her friends were in the ob compartment eating snacks and staying out of the sun.
The tower and windshield, bimini and board racks are all the same as that which was around in 2012, but these features remain solid and functional. No complaints there
Now, on to how the boat performs. As I mentioned above, my A24 has the LS3 in it. It's coupled with the Torque prop. With this combo, the boat literally jumps out of the hole when unloaded. It's pretty ridiculous, actually. More importantly, I can load the factory ballast (1000lbs), drop the wedge, fill two 1100lbs bags in the rear, fill the nose sac (900lbs give or take), and have 10 people on the boat, and still plane out with almost no struggle at all. My '13 LSV with the 350 and the torque prop would not have thought about getting on plane with this much weight. With the LS3, the A24 is simply awesome. It's just the right combo for this boat.
Now, I don't have pictures of the wake yet, but I'll post them up soon. I can say that it is an absolute monster. It's noticeably bigger than the wake behind a slammed A22, but it retains all of the great A22 wake characteristics. It stays clean, has a nice firm lip, and a long rampy transition. It's slightly narrower than the A22 wake, but not by much. Again, I'll post up some pictures soon.
Surfgate on the A24 works awesome. The wave is huge, clean, long and has tons of push. The gates switch fast enough for you to transition from side to side without the rope. Below is a picture of me riding with my daughter. We only had a few people in the boat at the time, and the ballast was only about half way full.
As to driveability, the A24 handles extremely well for a boat it's size. No, it's not as nimble as my old 205v, but it's not much different at all from my '13 LSV. I think it handles rough water as well as any boat I've owned, and it's really no harder to dock than any other boat, so long as you keep an eye on that big rear end. At the end of the day, surfgate helps make this boat. Like with my old LSV, it's just soooooo nice not to have to list the boat when surfing, which obviously makes the boat much easier to use and operate for both experienced and novice drivers. Speaking of operating the boat, I'd also like to reiterate one of the things that helped me fall in love with the Axis line: the ease of use in terms of electronics. I love LOVE LOVE the toggle switches. No, they are not as flashy as a touch screen, but it's much easier for me to tell my wife or one of my friends how to turn on the cruise, or adjust the speed, or to dump a little weight.
Anyway, I just wanted to share some thoughts and a few pictures. The boat is a bit flashier than what I normally get, but that's ok. I live in East Tennessee, and orange is pretty popular here!
Last edited by chattwake; 07-07-2014 at 9:42 AM.