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Old     (kimper)      Join Date: May 2008       07-28-2009, 9:43 PM Reply   
Thought you Wakeworlder’s might find this story fun to read, and it may help boat shoppers make a list of things to look at. The opinions expressed below are mine and my wife’s and only relate to what we were looking for. It is not to say any boat is better or worse it is just our opinions.

Who we were and what we wanted:
Wife is a two ski skier. That is just what she likes and she could care less that it isn’t the “in” thing.
I am a learning wakeboarder, just getting my heel side wake-to-wakes down. I learned on our I/O with no tower and soon figured out I had gone as far as I could with our boat.
We both want to learn to surf!

The contenders and quoted prices:
Tige 22VE (2009) (2 demos) 66k
Malibu VLX (2009) 67k
SAN 210 (2009) (2 demos) 68k
Mastercraft X-Star (2008) 74k
Mastercraft X-2 (2008) 59k

The Tests:
In a general sense all the boats had what as a beginner I considered good wakes. They had different shapes and sizes, but I had fun behind every boat. The surf wake behind each boat with factory ballast also looked roughly equivalent to us novices. Initially money was not a huge consideration, but this was a very tight race so it started to factor in more as we kept shopping. That being said all the boats do what they are made to do well, so our evaluations shifted to the more subtle things you will see below. Like a big dork I put all this stuff on a spread sheet and ranked the items 1 through 10 with 10 being the best. I will spare you that and try to give you a general summary of what we found in each category.

Boat handling (power turns/steering/feeling of control):
1st place: Tige
2nd place: X2 and San210 tied
3rd Malibu
4th X-star (we later learned the demo had a steering cable problem)
Bow Rise
1st Tige (taps is why)
All the rest roughly tied, but visibility in the SAN was better than others because entire deck sits higher.

Rough water ride (this test included nailing a roller at wide open throttle and driving in windy chop)
1st was a tie with the X2 and Tige (this was fairly important to us since we like to load up friends and drive across the lake and look at real estate. These two boats were really awesome in this regard)
2nd SAN 210 (but we were on a pretty calm lake, it did pretty good with roller test though)
3rd Malibu
4th X-Star

Seats (quality/comfort/depth)
1st Mastercraft (X2 and Star same)
2nd Malibu
3rd Tige (comfortable but not as high quality)
4th San 210 (this was biggest factor in this boat losing, I didn’t really care, but my wife did not like the seat comfort or the depth. This boat has the most shallow interior of any looked at. They also placed the speakers just in the middle of the very thin side cushions, weird and not comfortable. Alterable seating arrangement was cool though)

Overall feel of quality (interior fit and finish BMW or Kia)
1st SAN 210
2nd Mastercraft and Malibu
3rd Tige (Boat lost major points here. Every time I got in the boat I looked at the glued in speaker box like carpet and it annoyed me. If this had been better or if the Tige was priced below the others we would have likely purchased it)

Boat Looks (sexiness!)
1st SAN 210 (No contest, to me this boat is drop dead sexy. I really wanted this boat on looks alone. Wife’s complaint about boat’s comfort above is why it didn’t win out)
2nd Mastercraft
3rd Malibu (I would tie it with Mastercraft, but wife said it looked like it was for the hairy chest gold chain crowd! Lol)
4th Tige ( I am sorry this boat has no game)

Stereo (best from factory option)
All tied, they made my ears bleed

If you are shopping we had a few other things on the spread sheet like storage, warranty, value retention (look for older models on internet and check depreciation), snap out carpet or not, dash layout and gauges, ballast fill/empty times, and tower looks/functionality/ease of collapsing. I won’t go into all of these here, but they are minor things to consider.

The Results:
Interestingly, no boat really emerged as the clear winner. I think if Tige gets some style and bumps up the interior quality they will give the big three a run for their money. Malibu may not have gotten a fair shake from us because 2 things. Wife was pulling me with all ballasts full and got swamped by a roller. She is my driver and sorta put the Kabosh on that boat. We also nailed a roller at wide open throttle and the boat felt like it was going to explode. We did this in all the other boats and they didn’t do that. The X-Star probably had the best wake of all the boats, but it seems to be sort of a one trick pony in that regard. If the wake was all you cared about you couldn’t go wrong with that bad boy. It also didn’t get a fair shake because the steering issue with the one we demoed.
In the end we got the X2. It has a great wake (surf and boarding), It handles and maneuvers very well, It has great exterior styling and looks awesome, It feels roomier than every boat except the X-star yet it is only 20ft, weird. The fit and finish are top notch. It handles rough water better than anything we drove except the Tige with which it tied. Overall, the X2 was a super well constructed beautiful boat that fit our needs!!

Old     (lionel)      Join Date: Nov 2005       07-28-2009, 9:48 PM Reply   
Awesome post! Thanks for sharing. Agree with you guys on a lot of things.....Why no tandem trailer?

(Message edited by lionel on July 28, 2009)

(Message edited by lionel on July 28, 2009)
Old     (kimper)      Join Date: May 2008       07-28-2009, 9:51 PM Reply   
Boat lives in a slip at the house, purchased without trailer
Old    Ben Kerran            07-28-2009, 9:52 PM Reply   
Your patience is commendable. Congrats on the new RIDE!! Beautiful
Old     (mim3)      Join Date: Sep 2006       07-28-2009, 10:09 PM Reply   
Welcome to the Mastercraft family. Your new X2 looks sweet! I find it interesting you did not comment on your dealer experience? Perhaps in today's economic climate everyone is on their best behavior!

Congrats and enjoy.
Old     (jaysus)      Join Date: Nov 2006       07-28-2009, 10:27 PM Reply   
Nice choice, nice boat. Congrats, the X2 does everything well.
Old     (kimper)      Join Date: May 2008       07-28-2009, 10:32 PM Reply   
The dealers were all on their best behavior. I actually liked them all. I really liked the Tige sales person, and actually feel some guilt in not giving him a sale... :-(
Old     (lionel)      Join Date: Nov 2005       07-28-2009, 10:44 PM Reply   
Prices include trailer, correct?

If you can remember, will you rank tower design & stability?
Old     (dingleberry)      Join Date: Apr 2009       07-28-2009, 11:26 PM Reply   
Davis - nice write-up, beautiful boat. Hope that you have a great time with it!

Just curious, since you downgraded the Tige 22Ve for its looks, and you were looking at other pickleforks in that size range - why hadn't you considered the RZ2 instead of the 22Ve?
Old     (infantryman2oo2)      Join Date: Jul 2008       07-29-2009, 7:36 AM Reply   
nice right up bro. thanks for posting that. and sick boat now you just got to add the Fly-High system to it. you will definetly be pleased it's worth all the money. your wakeboard wake and surf wakes will double in size.
Old     (xbones)      Join Date: Mar 2007       07-29-2009, 7:44 AM Reply   
Great post. Shoulda gone with the Natty but I'll let it slide ;) Congrats! Great looking boat.
Old     (wakereviews)      Join Date: Sep 2006       07-29-2009, 7:56 AM Reply   
Nice write up! Congrats on the new boat
Old     (wake1823)      Join Date: Dec 2005       07-29-2009, 7:59 AM Reply   
I commend you on your patience.

I bought my last ski boat ( 07 22SSV) driving by the dealer and liked the colors, lol. hour later, had a boat. He even came over to the hosue and picked up the trade, sight unseen.
Old     (psudy)      Join Date: Dec 2003       07-29-2009, 8:14 AM Reply   
Nice lake! Where is that?
Old     (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       07-29-2009, 8:22 AM Reply   
excellent review and nice boat!
Old     (h2oproaccessories)      Join Date: Sep 2007       07-29-2009, 8:24 AM Reply   
congrats! We love ours!
Old     (kimper)      Join Date: May 2008       07-29-2009, 8:49 AM Reply   
Prices did not include trailer (except I think X-Star price was with trailer). Those are all pre-negotiation prices. They are what each sales person told me when I asked what can I get in this boat for. The only one I negotiated on was the X2 and I got that quote down.

I didn't look at the RZ2 because it was about 8k more than the 22VE and apparently those 2 boats have the same hull once past the pickle fork. Our sales person was awesome and just retired off the professional wakeboard circuit. He told me the wakes were essentially the same. One note on any Tige - get the ballast option. Like any of these boats they need it. Not sure why they act like they don't.


Mastercraft gets first place in strength, but it is last place for ease of folding down. They are very impressive. Massive billeted steel construction with 4 points of connection on the boat with huge backplates to distribute stress all along the gunwales so its extremely unlikely you would ever get any gelcoat/hull cracks or damage even with extreme use over the years. Any healthy male should be able to fold it down and put it up alone in about 5-10 minutes. My wife however could not do it alone.

All the other boats have 2 points of connection to the boat, but it seems quite a bit of thought has gone into all these towers and none of them seemed weak or unstable.

Malibu and SAN 210 tied with strong 2 point easily folding towers. I noticed no wiggle or rattles in rough conditions, and at 6 feet tall I could walk under them without ducking.

Tige's tower came in last simply because I had to duck just a bit to walk under it. Also the rotating board racks are a $2300 option. Fixed are standard. I don't like fixed because you have to step on the seats and lean out to get your stuff. Folding down was also easy on the Tige.

Paul - we are on lake LBJ near Austin and San Antonio. It is constant level, and yes, it is a very awesome lake!

(Message edited by kimper on July 29, 2009)
Old     (greatdane)      Join Date: Feb 2001       07-29-2009, 9:36 AM Reply   
Great post David. I agree with most of your assessments. They are all good boats. Its just a matter of personal preferences. BTW, I hope you got a good discount in this economy.
Old     (tampawake)      Join Date: Mar 2008       07-29-2009, 9:48 AM Reply   
This is a great thread. I hope manufacturers look at it. I had the same experience our Tige dealer is so freaking good in our area I felt horrible I did not buy from them. I was in the used boat market had it been the new boat market it might have been different. Did your Tige rep push the ballast system? Our dealer does not but another one I spoke with orders all boats with it. Curious because you said he just got off the circuit.
Old     (kimper)      Join Date: May 2008       07-29-2009, 10:18 AM Reply   

He didn't push the ballast system for me because I am a rookie and Tige really likes to claim that they don't need it. However, the sales guy who was a pro has the ballast and sacs his 22VE out. The logical conclusion there is that if you are good you need weight. I will hopefully get better at wakeboarding. Why on earth would I want to limit myself with no ballast? Tige needs to get off the "we don't need it" train and like everyone else ballast the freaking boat.

There may be another reason they push the no ballast thing. In my research the most likely thing on any of these boats for warranty claims is something ballast related... Warranty claims cost the manufacturer money.
Old     (an_d)      Join Date: Jul 2009       07-29-2009, 10:49 AM Reply   
im surprised you didnt include wake as one of your categories to judge on. I know you said they all kinda looked the same because you're new to it but what would you say had the best wake (besides the x-star)
Old     (crowmobe540)      Join Date: Mar 2004       07-29-2009, 11:11 AM Reply   
did you buy from boat town?
Old     (greatdane)      Join Date: Feb 2001       07-29-2009, 11:23 AM Reply   
I think the novice wakeboarder has a hard time judging the wake (shape and ease to build). They all look good and the subtle differences are hard to judge.

In contrast, his next (second boat) purchase will likely put WAKE production at the top of his list behind quality/ride/comfort/storage/style.

But, luckily, these days, everyone has a decent wake and the differences are subtle.
Old     (michridr69)      Join Date: Dec 2008       07-29-2009, 11:30 AM Reply   
best lookin x-2 iv seen nice color's!
Old     (h2oproaccessories)      Join Date: Sep 2007       07-29-2009, 11:41 AM Reply   
the good news is.... when he gets ready he can add the x-2 ballast system upgrade. I hear the wake is pretty sick.
Old     (kimper)      Join Date: May 2008       07-29-2009, 11:45 AM Reply   

I think (I maybe wrong) people like the wakes behind the boats that they train/learn on. The wakes behind these boats do have different shapes, but in my opinion the sizes are not dramatically different given the same weight in the boats. Size seems pretty simply related to how much you sink it down and how deep the hull sinks. So discussing shape, they are different, and I suspect it is simply rider preference or what you are used to if you "like" it or not.

SAN 210 - As a beginner I actually had the most fun behind this boat (another reason I wanted it!) The wake shape tends to put the board in the right place as you come off the wake, and the wake was more narrow than the other boats, so I was consistently getting nice heel-side wake to wake jumps. I did my best sets behind this boat, and really had fun.

Malibu - Again should have done one more demo on it. This demo was my first time to board behind an inboard. I was so impressed with it over my I/O it was hard for me to compare it to the others. I think it was nearly as narrow as the SAN and like the SAN provided good pop and seemed to put the board in a nice position as I came off the top.

Mastercraft - X2 and Star to me had the same shape wake. The X-Star wake weighted and unweighted seemed bigger. These boats produce a trough right before the wake that the others don't do. I liked that trough, and it makes the shape like this nice curved ramp. I bought the X2... What can I say I thought it was great! However, I didn't do too well as far as gettting and landing wake to wakes. I think there is a little more of a learning curve there or maybe I jsut was off. The X2 I had a borrowed board so hard to know exactly... But the shape and firmness seem spot on to me.

Tige - shape seemed like Mastercraft without the trough. Dealer claims you can change the shape all up with TAPs, maybe cool for the more advanced? With a ballast it really produced a large nice wake.

In the end, I just don't think I am good enough to really evaluate wakes like you guys would want, so take it all with a grain of salt. I think I will learn the mastercraft wake and think it is the best ever in a few months!

We purchased at Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels TX
Old     (tj_in_kc)      Join Date: Jan 2008       07-29-2009, 11:47 AM Reply   
awesome write-up and congrats on your new BOAT!
Old     (bruizza)      Join Date: May 2009       07-29-2009, 11:55 AM Reply   
Wow I applaud you for taking all the time to do that much research! Sounds like you got a great boat!
Old     (jaybee)      Join Date: Aug 2007       07-29-2009, 1:55 PM Reply   
Congrats. Beautiful boat. You are definitely right about it having the most room. People are shocked when i tell them my boat is only 20 ft.
Old     (phenom_1819)      Join Date: Jan 2008       07-29-2009, 2:55 PM Reply   
Very good write-ups... agree with you on many, many points above. Nice choice with the X2, I think it's the most versatile boat out there.
Old     (josharre2000)      Join Date: Jul 2008       07-29-2009, 3:12 PM Reply   
Welcme to the MC family. That is an awesome looking boat.
Old     (tampawake)      Join Date: Mar 2008       07-29-2009, 3:39 PM Reply   
I will tell you if you look on WW enough you can see we are always battling the stupid ballast system pumps impellers etc. Mine has been a constant pain in the ass. However, its needed I have an 02 xstar that needed holes cut and hours of time to get right and it was factory. So from a dealer stand point and warranty issues with it would be a nightmare. Congrats as I am looking at selling the 02 and getting an X2 just for the room. It is a great boat. Shorten the line length a bit.
Old     (skidog)      Join Date: Jan 2006       07-29-2009, 5:15 PM Reply   
Great thread. If you had the time and could have taken a factory tour, perhaps that would have made it easier to make up your mind about the MC. great choice BTW. The X2 has got to be the most versatile boat on the water today.
Old     (kimper)      Join Date: May 2008       07-29-2009, 5:31 PM Reply   
Funny you say that. I considered that. It would be awesome to go to all the different factories! Unfortunately, I didn't have the time or money to do it.
Old     (talltigeguy)      Join Date: Sep 2003       07-29-2009, 5:38 PM Reply   

Nice writeup. I also have found most of your observations to be right on the money.

Interesting what you say about wake preference. I agree completely. You get used to what you have and seems that you start to prefer it.

Oh, and that is one awesome looking boat!!!!!

(Message edited by talltigeguy on July 29, 2009)
Old     (ixfe)      Join Date: Aug 2008       07-29-2009, 10:50 PM Reply   
Great thread... made me miss the research/shopping process. Buying boats is more fun than buying cars!
Old     (akdoc)      Join Date: Feb 2004       07-30-2009, 7:05 AM Reply   
Dave needs to sticky this thread and put it on top of the boats page. Next time someone asks which boat is better just refer to this thread. Great write up and congrats on a sick boat!
Old     (wake4fun)      Join Date: Oct 2005       07-30-2009, 12:37 PM Reply   
Nice boat, you will love it. It is amazing how much room/storage there is in that 20' space. Wakesurf wake is surprisingly fun (on both sides)even though it doesn't look huge, it has a nice shape that is easy to ride.
Old     (wakecumberland)      Join Date: Oct 2007       07-30-2009, 12:45 PM Reply   
Excellent choice! We love the X2! Cant think of a more family friendly wake boat.

I agree, the wake you are used to is what you prefer....until you ride behind a sacked out Xstar!
Old     (512boarder)      Join Date: Jul 2004       07-30-2009, 3:05 PM Reply   
wow! you went all the way to TSR for that? thats really far with you living on LBJ. I have a place on LBJ too - in the Legends GC area. Where are you at Kimper?
Old     (kimper)      Join Date: May 2008       07-30-2009, 3:37 PM Reply   
Hey Nick,

We live in San Antonio actually so tsr was closest. We are weekenders at LBJ. We are in Highland Haven. That's a close boat ride to Legends, and, hey, I am always looking for someone who wants to wakeboard!? PM me your email address if interested sometime!
Old     (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       07-30-2009, 4:42 PM Reply   
Nice write up, Awesome looking boat! I really like the fact that you made a decision based on real actual evaluation instead of just listening to everyone's opinion!
Old     (hudd007)      Join Date: May 2006       07-30-2009, 6:36 PM Reply   
Am I the only one surprised he bought it without the trailer? What if GOD FORBID it breaks down (it is a boat after all) and it needs to be taken in? Will the dealer just pick it up?

EDIT because I wanted to acknowledge what a great post this was. You did a very thorough job.

(Message edited by hudd007 on July 30, 2009)
Old     (westsiderippa)      Join Date: Dec 2006       07-30-2009, 6:48 PM Reply   
"3rd Malibu (I would tie it with Mastercraft, but wife said it looked like it was for the hairy chest gold chain crowd! Lol)"

so what does the wife have against hairy guys driving malibu's. lol!!!!! sick boat btw.

Old     (kimper)      Join Date: May 2008       07-30-2009, 8:20 PM Reply   

You think with all that research I wouldn't have considered the implications of no trailer?

My dealer has about 100 boats on our lake without trailers. They charge a very nominal travel fee and do the work at your lift or haul it in for you if it can't be done on the lift.
Old     (ds3)      Join Date: Jun 2008       07-30-2009, 9:31 PM Reply   
Awesome write up. TSR is great, good peeps, we used to live really close to the Presents and my buddy has an X2, we love the board and surf wake. Great choice, congrats!
Old     (greatdane)      Join Date: Feb 2001       07-30-2009, 10:40 PM Reply   
Davis, excellent. If your boat lives on a hoist and you can get service, then buying a boat without a trailer rules! I will likely do the same next year. This year some family issues got in the way of the boat buying adventure.
Old     (johnny_defacto)      Join Date: Sep 2006       07-31-2009, 12:35 AM Reply   
I agree, this is a great thread. Dave needs to put this up as an example in the boat thread.

This is a great example of how to be financially responsible when making a big purchase. Nice write up.
Old     (hudd007)      Join Date: May 2006       07-31-2009, 12:55 AM Reply   

Point made. lol.
Old     (green210)      Join Date: Aug 2009       08-16-2009, 11:12 PM Reply   
Nice boat but you should have also tried out the centurion. You can not really ski behind it though. (this is coming from a nautique guy.i also wanted to say that tiges and nautiques have the best factory ballast wave.


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