(Merced, CA) - Saturday, May 4, 2002 marked the 8th time over the last 11 years that a Malibu boat has earned Powerboat Magazine's Tow Boat of the Year Award. This year the Wakesetter XTi motored past its competitors fueled by ecstatic reviews from testers.
Dubbed the "Paradigm Shifter", by Powerboat Magazine, the 2002 Tow Boat of the Year Award winning Wakesetter XTi was described as a water sports boat that, "...redefines what a direct-drive tow boat should be."
"We kept hearing at boat shows last year from women who would say, 'I love wraparound seating,' but we also knew there were a lot of people out there who are still of a direct-drive mind-set," explains Paul Singer, VP of Sales and Marketing for Malibu Boats.
Shane Stillman, a member of the Malibu Boats Research and Development Team, rewrote the definition of a direct-drive tow boat to reflect this "have your cake and eat it too" consumer mentality. Armed with Stillman's idea and the desire to make the best tow boat possible, Malibu designers went to work on what became the perfect balance of high-end water sports performance and luxurious spaciousness in a mid-engine boat.
Malibu designers engineered a precise 23-foot SV23 Diamond Hull, powered it with a center-mounted 325HP Monsoon (standard) and surrounded it with custom designed seating for 13. The seating includes a swivel driver's seat, an oversized observer's seat, wrap-around lounge in the rear and an enormous bow and center filler cushion that conceals two insulated self-draining ice chests. Another 30-quart ice chest is built into the lounge area along with plenty of room for one of Malibu's convenient removable tables. For those passengers who want to lay back and relax, Malibu replaced the engine box with a 60 X 40 inch center mount sundeck, which extends behind the driver all the way to the boat's interior side panel.
With expansive storage cavities tucked throughout the boat, the XTi offers enough capacity to rival any v-drive competitor. Taking a lead from the Response Series and Sunsetter LXi, engineers designed the XTi with a platform accessible, rear-locking trunk that doubles as a second sundeck. The XTi also contains 14 cubic feet of storage space beneath the main sundeck. The observer's seatback opens to reveal even more space for gear.
The innovative design was not the only Wakesetter XTi characteristic that clenched this year's Tow Boat of the Year Award. Powerboat Magazine testers were baffled by the versatile performance of this industry altering boat. "The Wakesetter XTi dazzled our ski tester, a former world champion and our expert boarder. Both actually admitted to having a good time behind the boat."
Powerboat Magazine summed up the Wakesetter XTi testing experience with the following statement, "We've seen and tested the next step in that [the water sports marketplace] evolution, and it is called the Wakesetter XTi."
Malibu Boats has proven once again that they design and build tow boats one-step ahead.