06 Mar 2012

Five years after launching their much-heralded redesigned Response LXi hull, the crew at Malibu Boats decided to take their R&D team to task yet again, challenging them to come up with their best tournament-inspired design to date. Enter the 2012 Malibu TXi and its fully overhauled T Cut Diamond hull. The designers at Malibu opened the creative floodgates, rethinking their previously held values over the course of the 14-month project. Leaving no concept untested, Malibu has created what they believe is the best slalom boat in the industry, and they have a world record to prove it (Regina Jaquess set the world record of 2 at 41 off behind the new TXi, just a few weeks aft er the boat’s release.) Malibu Boats’ national promo director Dennis Kelly and team skier Will Asher talk about their latest creation.

After the success of the Response LXi, what was left to improve in the new model?
Dennis Kelly: We focused on two major areas. First, we wanted to improve upon the “skiability” of our wakes. We’ve always had the roomiest tournament boat on the market, but a bigger boat displaces more water. We wanted to create the best slalom wake in the industry to accompany our family-friendly interior. Second, we wanted to tighten up the handling of our boat. We wanted you to still have that sporty, sliding feel when you want it, but we put a lot of eff ort into giving the driver that solid, locked-in feel when in the course. We feel we have succeeded in both regards. The LXi is not just a trumped-up version of our previous boat; we definitely started from the ground up, rethinking every aspect to find out what was possible in terms of performance design.

What is the first thing the skier will notice behind the new TXi?
Kelly: The wake behind the new TXi impacts the ski far less than anything we’ve ever created. The actual size of the wake has been miniscule since the LXi, but our goal was to spread and soften the wake, making it easier to get through on your ski.
Will Asher: The first thing I noticed was how easy the wake is to see and read. Compared to the other boats I encounter in tournaments, the TXi has much less spray and far less turbulence. From your first pullout on your gates, you won’t have to try and interpret the wakes; they are clearly defined and incredibly soft. Through my turn, I never feel the boat moving away from me. I feel very free into and through the finish of my turn. The TXi’s factory cruise-control settings offer the smoothest pull I’ve ever felt.

What is the biggest change for the driver?
Kelly: We worked very closely with our team of skiers and drivers on this one. The visuals from the cockpit are vastly improved. First, we blacked out the dash to eliminate glare. Next, we changed the height and rake of our windshield and adjusted the driver’s seat to create an ideal line of sight on the slalom course. We completely
reconfigured our tracking fins, finding a superior angle and length that off er the perfect balance of lift and stability. The result is a boat with superior tracking, with no need to put any additional weight in the bow.
Asher: The new Malibu just feels lighter to drive. I always know exactly where I am in the course, and can feel the skier far better. I turn the corner, get set on the pre-gates, and from there I hardly have to countersteer at all. As a driver it’s comforting to be able to feel precisely where the skier is in relation to the buoys without having to excessively work the steering wheel.