If you're an enthusiast of water sports, then you know that selecting the perfect ski boat can make all the difference in your experience. Whether you're a competitive skier or simply seeking the ultimate thrill on the waves, finding the best ski boat is crucial. There are an array of different options to look at when considering purchasing a wake or ski boat. And it can be an overwhelming and stressful process. Let us help you navigate your way to finding the best ski boats to suit you and your family’s needs.
- Best overall ski/wake boat for all levels
- Best ski/wake boat for families
- Best ski boat for slalom skiing
- Best ski boat for wakeboarding
- Best value for money ski/wake boat
- Best value wakeboard boat
- Best ski/wake boat for beginners
- Best ski boat for wakesurfing
- Best ski boat for day trips
1. Best overall ski boat for all levels
The award for best overall ski boat goes to the Malibu Wakesetter 20VTX, one of the best water ski boats of all time. Since its release in 2007, the Malibu Wakesetter VTX has been a fan favourite due to its amazing ski wake, social interior and huge wake creating ability.
For those who enjoy water skiing, you will be amazed at the small wake this boat produces at high speeds. However, at slower speeds you can engage the ballast system and deploy the patented Power Wedge to create a monster wake for wakeboarding.
Go one step further and engage the patented SurfGate and now you have yourself a surf wave that you can ride for days. The standard M5Di engine with 360hp and 400ft lbs of torque, is more than enough for general recreational family use. However, if you desire that extra pull, simply upgrade to the M6Di engine which will take you to 430hp & 460 ft lbs of torque. With the renowned finish and detail that Malibu boats are known for, coupled with the phenomenal performance of this amazing craft, the Malibu Wakesetter 20VTX takes out top spot for the best overall ski/wake boat.
2. Best ski/wake boat for families
The best family ski boat is the Malibu Wakesetter 21LX. This boat was only recently released in 2022, but it has a ton of history behind it. The Malibu 21VLX has been a staple in the Malibu lineup, even dating back to the early 2000’s. It is a great size to suit families looking to participate in all disciplines- water skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, tubing, wakesurfing or just cruising.
The Malibu Wakesettler 21LX includes seating for 12 people, meaning there is ample room for your family and all their equipment. The 21LX handles like a dream, its lightweight build means it can easily cut through waves as though they were barely there. As with all Malibu’s, it has been built with high-quality materials and the attention to detail is second to none. If you are looking for a wakeboard boat, ski boat or cruising boat,don’t look past the Malibu Wakesetter 21LX.
3. Best ski boat for slalom skiing
An absolute clear winner in the skiing category is the Malibu Response TXi Open Edition. The unique T-cut Diamond Hull design produces a super soft wake desired by all slalom skiers, trick skiers, barefooters & even those competing in Jump events. The “Malibu Response” name is recognised worldwide, having been a staple in the Malibu line up for nearly 30 years.
The Response TXI is one of the most sought-after boats for water skiing as its performance is unmatched. It will slice through the water with ease and make you feel in control, whilst having great vision of the water with its low-lying dash. An open bow design allows for extra seating capacity for those family fun weekends spent tubing, kneeboarding, wakeboarding & skiing.
4. Best ski boat for wakeboarding
This was a tough battle, but the winner of the best boat for wakeboarding is the Malibu Wakesetter 23MXZ. If you are chasing a big boat that you can load all your crew into for a fun day on the water, then look no further! This 23 foot beast features the popular pickle fork bow design, maximising interior seating capacity. By fitting the patented Power Wedge & SurfGate with Surfband and additional bow ballast, she will be sure to dominate the waterways. With the fast fill electronic ballast system, the 23 MXZ can get to hero status- FAST! The 23MXZ has 3 engine options available to cater for every level of use and budget. If you want to be the envy of all those on the water, fit her up with the impressive Malibu Supercharged LT4 engine, boasting an incredible 607 hp & 606 ft lbs of torque!
5. Best value for money ski/wake boat
Hands down- this Axis A20 is one of the best ski boats for value for money. This 20 foot machine does it all - wakeboarding, wakesurfing, skiing, kneeboarding, tubing and cruising. If you are searching for your first ski/wake boat, but you are unsure where to start, the Axis A20 is the ideal design. With room for 11 people and ample storage for all your gear, you are guaranteed to enjoy your time on the water in style and comfort. The large 159L fuel tank & economical standard M5Di engine will see you maximise your time on the water. Plus, the A20 now features a premium dash with touch screen technology. This incredibly intuitive dash will simplify your on-water experience and assist you in setting the boat up to suit all rider abilities.
6. Best value wakeboard boat
The Axis A225 & the Axis T220 share the trophy for the best value wakeboard boat. Although these two boats have a different bow design, the performance, finishing touches and features of these two powerhouses are very similar. Fitted with a collapsible wakeboard tower, ballast system and cruise control, either of these boats will suit the most avid wakeboarder. With features like SurfGate, Power Wedge and plug and play ballast, even the best wakesurfers will be frothing! Available with swing away board racks and an upgraded surf bimini, these options will enable you to get all your boards off the floor and maximise your interior capacity for your 15-person crew.
7. Best ski/wake boat for beginners
So, you want to buy your first ski boat? GREAT! But first, let’s look at some things you will need to give consideration to:
- What is the capacity of my tow vehicle?
- How many people do I want to be able to fit in the boat at once?
- Am I limited with storage capacity- length, width, height?
- What do I want to do- ski, wakeboard, surf, cruise?
- Where do I intend on using my new boat?
If you are limited with tow capacity, the 20 foot options such as the Malibu Response TXI, Malibu Wakesetter VTX or Axis A20 have the lightest kerb weight. If you have a braked tow rating over 3000 kgs, then you might like to consider a 22 foot model or over 3500kgs, then opt for a 23 foot boat. Our Malibu and Axis range caters for crews of 7 (Response TXI) through to 16 (Wakesetter 23 LSV or MXZ).
In regards to storage requirements, your best option is to speak with one of our boat specialists who can provide you with dimensions for each model via firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on (08) 8234 5455. If you are predominantly wanting to slalom ski, then the Response series or the Wakesetter 20 VTX are recommended. If you are wanting to do all Water Sports disciplines, we recommend you consider the Malibu Wakesetter 20 VTX or Wakesetter 21 LX.
Depending on where you plan to use your boat will determine the size of the boat we would recommend and what options it should be fitted with. Speaking with your local Malibu/Axis specialist will ensure you choose the right boat for you and your family’s needs.
8. Best ski boat for wakesurfing
And the winner is……the Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV! It’s no wonder this boat has been voted the “Wake World best wakesurf and wakeboard boat of the year” three years running. Its small size and wave performance, enhanced by the patented Malibu Surfgate, creates a perfect endless wave. Use the patented Malibu Power Wedge to adjust your wave, perfect for beginners and professionals. With room for 16 people and an optional rear facing Wakeview seat, the whole crew can get in on the action.
9. Best ski boat for day trips
Don’t have a holiday shack on the water? Never fear, the Malibu Wakesetter 22 LSV is here! The 22 LSV is perfect for those looking to ski, wakeboard, wakesurf, kneeboard, tube or simply cruise the day away. It has enough room for you and 14 of your friends, ample storage and an ergonomic interior for ultimate comfort. It can be built on the versatile diamond hull, appropriate for those interested in water skiing or the wake hull for those who prefer to spend most of their time wakeboarding or wakesurfing. Most 4WD vehicles with a tow rating of 3500kgs can pull the 22LSV with ease. Plus, it can fit in a 7.3m long garage. Not too big, not too small, the Wakesetter 22 LSV ticks all the boxes.
Elite Ski Boats is your one-stop ski boats supply store
For over 27 years South Australians have been trusting Elite Ski Boats and Watersports with all their on-water needs. Our knowledgeable staff have all the tools and experience needed to guide you through your first or your next watersports boat purchase. Afterall; they ski, they wakeboard, they wakesurf, they get it! Our stunning range of Malibu and Axis models can be viewed in our air-conditioned stylish showroom located in Hilton, South Australia. We are a one-stop shop with a comprehensive range of Watersports accessories and boat spare parts and accessories from all the best ski boat brands, as well as a state-of-the-art workshop facility for all your servicing needs. Call us today on (08) 8234 5455 to see how we can help your dreams become a reality.
Best ski boats in Australia: FAQ
What is the best boat speed for water skiing?
The ideal boat speed for recreational water skiing varies based on factors like the rider's size and skill, ski type, and water conditions. It's crucial for the driver and observer to monitor the skier's stability and adjust speed accordingly.
For beginners on combo skis, we recommend starting around 20-30kph for children and 25-55kph for adults, gradually increasing as confidence grows to minimize injury risk.
For slalom skiing, recommend speeds of approximately 30-45kph for children and 40-57kph for adults, adjusting for skier weight. Heavier skiers may need more speed for buoyancy, while larger skis provide stability at lower speeds. Competent slalom skiers typically reach 55-58kph when navigating a slalom course.
What features should I look for in the best ski boats?
When choosing the best ski boat to suit your needs, the build quality is the most important factor. From the fibreglass and gelcoat finish to the stitching in the interior upholstery, every fixture and fitting should be made of high-grade materials . A quality-built boat such as a Malibu or Axis offers a full factory backed lifetime structural warranty. You should look for industry leading innovations such as Malibu’s patented Surfgate system and Power Wedge to guarantee you are not compromising on performance.
What is the best motor for a ski boat?
The best motor for a ski boat is an inboard V8. This type of engine has the torque and power to pull multiple skiers out of the water and tow them at high speeds when required. High torque is the key to modern ski and wake boat motors, giving them the best fuel economy due to decreased throttle use during acceleration.