Ever since wakeboarding became one of the fastest-growing sports on the planet, boatbuilders have been scrambling to get ahead of this new curve. In recent months, several of the ski boat industry's biggest names have introduced wakeboard specialty boats that incorporate tall pylons, towing towers, water ballast systems and wake-modifying trim plates.
The latest addition to this boarding fleet comes from a relative newcomer, and it's designed to please not only the guy on the end of the rope, but also the folks who have to write the check. While most of the current generation of wakeboard specialty boats are converted from large, top-of-the line models and bear price tags in excess of $30,000, the Alpina Zone gives boarders everything they're looking for in a high-quality package that comes in at just under $19,000.
It's human nature to assume that a product costing $10,000 less than its competitors would in some way be inferior. But in the case of the Zone, this would be a false assumption. Alpina uses the same premium gel-coats, resins and fiberglass
materials as the industry's finest builders, hand-laminates an all-fiberglass hull, deck and stringer grid, and equips its boats with name-brand components and top-quality hardware.
Rather than ask, “Why does it cost less?” one might wonder why the others cost more. The answer lies in the economies and efficiencies Alpina gains by minimizing distribution and marketing costs, sharing manufacturing costs with an established builder and accepting a lower overall margin on the finished product.
Not only is the Zone well-made, it is well-equipped. The base price includes a trailer, an extended pylon, a plumbed-in water ballast bag with a pump and rear-mounted power point, a 100-watt Kenwood CD sound system, a pair of removable jump seats and a stainless-steel prop. In the near future, the boat will also be offered with a towing tower.
Because wakeboard boats should also be good recreational boats, the Zone is finished out with rugged Nautilux vinyl upholstery and incorporates such passenger-friendly features as cargo pockets, dry storage compartments and a built-in ice chest.
With the rope set high and the water bags filled, the Zone gives wakeboarders the larger, well-formed boarding wakes they look for. In fact, our pro said the wakes were up to pro tour standards.
What sets the Zone apart from other wakeboard-specific boats is not its low-speed boarding wakes, but its surprisingly good slalom performance. With excellent tracking ability and small, soft slalom wakes, the Zone provides competition-level pulls, even for advanced shortline skiers.
Why would boarding dudes care if a boat could pull “buoy heads” as well as it launches “tantrums”? Because someday, these dudes may discover that there's more to life than wake jumps at 20 mph, or because the folks signing the note don't want to be stuck with a boat that only does one thing well.
No matter what your skiing or boarding preference may be, the Zone can deliver the quality, performance and skiing excitement you're looking for at an attractive price.
Categories: Ski Boats