You're idea of not being able to be pulled up on a wakeboard is nutty. the wakeboard has SOOO much surface area there's really no reason why you wouldn't get up almost instantly unless you're doing the classic newbie mistake of having the board perpendicular to the surface of the water. I call this the "Bulldozer" effect. what will happen is that you're trying to bulldoze all that water and the rope will get yanked out of your hands. Basically you're functioning as a big anchor. Point your toes and you're no longer a bulldozer.
Sure, I only weigh 170 but if the boat's moving I'm UP no matter what. However, I have taken myself along with my 50 pound son standing on the middle of my board and got the both of us up together. Oh, and did I mention that was on my 285 horsepower 92 Sunsport with a PCM 351?
If you were on a slalom ski, maybe. But no way it's the boat's fault on a wakeboard. I could probably get up behind a rowboat if I gave him a Rockstar first.
There's a ton of options out there. MC and Axis are just two of the players. especially if you're thinking surfing.
Why aren't you considering:
- MB Sports
- Mastercraft NXT
Many of these have surf systems that will do quick swaps from side to side. But it's almost always a newer option and that will of course affect your budget. Also take into consideration that almost every surf boat you'd get will be something you'll be thinking about upgrading the ballast on. I mean, even something as epic as a G23 will often get a bag here or there to make the wave go from awesome to Epic. So comparing stock ballast wave to stock ballast wave isn't always the best thing to do. You need to think about how your boat modded to your preference will compare to your alternative boat modded to your preference.
What's really important to you? It sounds like you're pretty hung up on the name, fit/finish/reputation...
For what it's worth, I've ridden a nice Malibu VLX with surfgate and it was modded with more piggyback ballast. It was one of the nicest waves I've been on (and that is comparing it to a g23 and g25).
As far as surf systems go, I've been behind nicely outfitted boats with Malibu Surfgate, Nautique Surf System, and Moomba Flow. I've heard fantastic things about the Supra Swell and now MB has come out with a system that is pretty much a carbon copy. I think Mastercraft's gen 2 surf system is along the same lines.
Typically what you'll find is that most of the surf systems will either 1) get you a decent wave that you can switch quickly and run a level boat. AND/OR 2) they'll make your weighted/listed wave even better.
Anyway, good luck in your search and it sounds like you have a lot more research to do...