As the flagship wakeboarding model in the Malibu lineup, the Wakesetter VLX is about purity of purpose. With every facet of it, we could almost hear the Malibu engineers asking, “Will this make it the ultimate wakeboarding machine?”
Their success is impressive considering how many pros and how many world-class tournaments use this wakeboard and ski boat. Get behind it and you’ll see why. We loved the 2005 model, which sported a fresh revamp. Yet for 2006, we like it even better with the addition of the new Power Wedge and its ability to mold advanced-level wakes with just factory ballast and the flip of a switch. It’s among the best wakeboarding boats you can buy, no question.
The Wakesetter VLX has always been capable of pro-level wake size and shape to make even the best riders drool. The real news this year is what the new Power Wedge can do. With the stock configuration of the Malibu Launch System fully loaded, we employed this new Power Wedge and watched in awe as the VLX produced advanced-level wakes right out of the box. There are a lot of boats on the market that need extra ballast bags to create the monster wake volume. But in this case, we experienced size plus well-formed peaks, a mellow transition that was easy to edge at but still kicked us up, and a perfect ramp. The long landing zone earned an A-plus from us, and the double-ups were clean, mellow and solid. Overall, the Power Wedge makes the VLX extremely versatile for all levels of wakeboarders.
Wakeboarding pulls can really put a lot of stress on even wakeboarding-specific boats, but the Wakesetter VLX handles them like a champion. As our test rider pulled back and forth, the boat didn’t sway, held in place in part by the balanced design of the entire boat as well as the extra-deep Gorilla tracking fins. We were using the Hammerhead 383, which maxes out the VLX’s horsepower rating of 400. That much power at the throttle was easily able to get us up to speed in a jiffy despite full ballast tanks. While Perfect Pass upgrades are available, we found the new standard Precision Pro Speed Control did the job in providing a smooth ride.
A true wakeboarding boat doesn’t fully succeed unless the performance is complemented with comfort. In that way, the VLX meets and exceeds expectations. The wraparound lounge makes the most of the 211?2-foot length and 98-inch
Beam: for plenty of room to relax between sessions. We were able to stow all our gear out of the way in the multiple storage compartments and rear trunks alongside the engine. And even wakeboarders appreciate the plush vinyl and rich carpet that this VLX shares with Malibu’s family cruisers. Turn down the optional stereo and you’ll just hear the soft hum of the engine (quieted by the Silent Rider mufflers and Malibu’s sound-suppressing material).
Base price: $47,900
Length: 21 ft. 6 in.
Beam: 98 in.
Seating capacity: 11
Fuel capacity: 46 gal.
Test Prop: Acme 13.5 x 16 4-blade
Test Engine: Indmar Hammerhead 383 6.2L, 400 hp
Top Speed: 47.3 mph 5,100 rpm
Accel. To 30 mph: 5.5 sec.129.3 ft.
Accel. To 36 mph: 7.0 sec. 200.4 ft.
Noise Levels (db): Neutral 62 D 60 R, 36 mph 88 D 94 R