Every week or so we'll be throwing up a few of our readers' questions about our incredible new ride, the 2006 Malibu Wakesetter VLX. We're having a blast with the new boat and we want to share the experience with you, so tune in each week and you just might learn something.
2006 Malibu Wakesetter VLX
Oh man, you guys have made my week! I rode an '05 VLX that was pretty much set stock without any front ballast the other night. I'm really seriously thinking about picking up an '06. I have a spray date lined up already if I want it. I do have a couple of questions about weighting and the wake. I'm going to assume you have the rear, mid and front ballast as well as the Wedge. How do you feel about the wake for an intermediate-advanced riding level when it is stock from the factory with ballast and with and without the Wedge? Personally I'm not a huge fan of the Wedge and would like to hear how you guys like it or if you even use it.
Are you finding you need more weight in the front if you don't have people sitting up there? Where are you putting that? I'd like to have it as hidden and out of the way as possible and I'm just not sure where that could be done with the front ballast.
My next question comes along the same lines. I've read that since the bottom of the rear storage is really the top of the ballast tanks, you can't add additional weight on top of them. What a shame. They're so huge. Is the '06 any different in this aspect? Or can I toss a 500 lb. bag on each side?
- Brooke Bertling
A: Brooke, you're correct in that this boat is equipped with two 200-pound tanks under the rear storage compartments as well as another 850 lbs. worth of weight provided by the center walk-through tank and bow tank.
My favorite feature on this boat is the hull and Wedge combo because all you have to do is flip a few switches to fill the tanks, drop the Wedge and you've got yourself a wake that intermediate and most advanced riders will be super stoked on. I've even had riders ask me to drain some weight because the wake was "too intimidating." I know this "great wake" sounds kind of corny, but you've really got to try it to believe it.
I'm a big fan of the Wedge because it adds some height as well as a little peak to the top of the wake that really give you an upward kick when you leave the wake. The only time I ride without the Wedge is when I forget to put it down, and I usually figure out my mistake as soon as I hit the wake the first time.
Pop Bag (40 lbs.)
In order to get the wake exactly where I like it, I add an additional 440 lbs. of non-water weight. Since I hate manually filling ballast bags with pumps and there's nothing worse than having to trip over ballast bags on the floor, I opted to weight the bow with an additional 240 lbs. and the rear with an additional 200 lbs. worth of weight in the form of Pop Bags.
Pop Bags are put together by Troy Lindstrom in So Cal (909-376-6450) and consist of a tough outer bag with handles filled with 40 lbs. of steel shot. The shot is sealed in a plastic bag, which is then sealed inside the tough canvas-like outer bag. The handles on the bag and the relatively lightweight allow the bags to be easily moved around the boat. This becomes especially handy when you have to move weight around for wakesurfing. They're also easy to shape and fit into awkward spaces.
Another reason I only use 440 lbs. in non-water weight is that I need to trailer the boat to and from the lake at least 20 minutes and often much more. Most boat trailers are made to handle the weight of the boat plus a few hundred extra pounds worth of gear. Carrying too much extra weight on your trailer can overload it and make it unsafe for travel. Be sure to check the weight capacity on your trailer before hauling any extra weight around and, assuming it's a safe amount, make sure it's evenly balanced over the trailer tires.
Three Pop Bags (120 lbs.) stashed in the extra deep bow side pocket
As you can see from the pictures, the Malibu bow side pockets are very deep and allow me to squeeze in almost three Pop Bags on each side without them being seen. I could even add a couple more on each side if I really needed it. I also keep three of the rear Pop Bags on the floor of the boat in order to even out the weight distribution depending on where everybody is sitting. It sure beats asking people to move all around the boat in order to get the wake even.
If I have a pro-level rider getting a pull behind the new VLX, I can always take things to the next level to really maximize the size of the wake. In such a case I move all the Pop Bags to the bow and stack a 500-lb. bag onto the stock tanks in the rear storage lockers (see warning below). Although it seems like a wake can never be too big, I can't imagine anybody needing anything bigger than this. I suppose you could add even more weight if you wanted to clutter up the floor, but I don't see myself ever having a need for that!
In answer to your question about whether or not the boat needs extra weight up front, I would probably say that it needs just a little extra if you're using the Wedge. I think most boats benefit from having 60% of their added weight in the rear and 40% in the front. For this boat, with the bow ballast tank included, I would probably put that ratio closer to 50/50 with the Wedge in use. Obviously, the bow ballast tank option is a must. Don't buy this boat without it.
As far as adding extra weight to the back goes, there are warning stickers in the rear ballast area telling you not to put anything heavy on top of the ballast tanks that make up the floor of the storage areas. That is consistent with the previous year. However, I'm all about testing the limits, so we went ahead and threw a couple of 500 lb. sacks into the rear storage compartments to see what kind of crazy big wakes we could get out of this boat. I did make sure that the stock tanks were full before I added the additional 500 lbs. on top of them. You'll also want to drain the top bags before you drain the stock tanks at the end of the day.
I've done this a few time and have not had any problems with it. However, I would guess that any problems caused by the extra weight would probably start showing up further down the line. It's my opinion that as long as you make sure the stock tanks are full, you probably won't have any problems. However, I realize that each time I load it up like this I'm taking on the risk of having to pay for the replacement of those stock tanks. I certainly don't expect them to cover it under warranty if I'm putting more weight in there than they recommend. The bottom line is that you do it at your own risk.
Editor's note: By the time I had answered this question and notified Brooke that she had won a t-shirt, she had already purchased a 2006 Malibu Wakesetter VLX and exclaims, "I love it! LOVE IT!"
Q: Wow! What an incredible looking ride. Is that color combo used for consumer VLXs or just the WakeWorld one? Are they available at Malibu dealers now?
- Dan Boney
2006 Malibu Wakesetter VLX
Dan, thanks for the kind words about the color scheme. How we came up with it is an interesting story.
We ran a contest here on WakeWorld (Design the New WakeWorld 'Bu) to come up with the best possible design for the exterior and interior of our 2006 Wakesetter VLX. When we set up the contest, Malibu's plan was to use the same gelcoat and interior pattern that they used in 2005 for the 2006 models. Therefore, we had contest entrants use Malibu's online designer to come up with the new scheme.
At the time, I thought the 2005 Malibu gelcoat design was one of the best looking in the industry, so I was really excited to see what people came up with for the contest. However, after sifting through thousands of designs trying to pick a winner, I got really burned out on the gelcoat design. I finally came up with eight finalists and sent them off to Malibu to get their opinion. To my surprise, they sent back all eight designs, but had reworked them into a new gelcoat scheme...and it looked incredible.
Apparently they had decided to change everything for 2006 and I couldn't have been more stoked! It made choosing the final winner, submitted by Brennan Spear, a lot easier. When we finally took delivery of the boat, it looked even better than I imagined it would.
Anyway, the bottom line is that when you order a boat from Malibu, you get to choose the color scheme just like we were able to do. For 2005 they had a color selector for both exterior and interior colors on their website. I'm assuming that they will eventually have the Malibu Boat Builder back up for 2006 as well. In fact, on the Malibu website, they specifically mention the winner of our contest and the exact colors that we have on the boat. They are as follows:
Deck Base: Light Graphite
Deck Accent 2: Yellow
Deck Accent: Ebony
Deck Main: Charcoal
Hull Main: Ebony
Hull Accent: Yellow
Hull Base: Charcoal
Base: Light Graphite
Yes, the 2006 Malibu Wakesetter VLX is now available at Malibu dealers everywhere. Be sure to tell them that Dave at WakeWorld sent you. It won't get you a discount or anything, but maybe they'll send me a fruitcake for Christmas or something!
All the folks who asked the above questions will receive a stylie new WakeWorld t-shirt for their troubles. If you've got a question about the 2006 Malibu Wakesetter VLX, Official Boat of WakeWorld, send it in to 2006VLX@WakeWorld.com and we'll be answering submissions on a regular basis.
Keep an eye on WakeWorld for future articles digging deeper into the 2006 Malibu Wakesetter VLX, the Official Boat of WakeWorld.