Are you looking for the perfect vessel to enjoy an adrenaline-filled day of water skiing? Look no further than our top 13 picks of best ski boats! From MasterCraft to Chaparral, we have compiled a list of the most reliable and acclaimed manufacturers for producing the best ski boats in the industry. These boats come highly recommended by water skiing experts worldwide, outperforming several others in the same category.
1. Super Air Nautique G23 Paragon
The Super Air Nautique G23 Paragon is a ski boat from the Nautique G Series that creates the largest wake surf waves ever. Innovative engineering of the hull allows the driver to customize the wave size, while the Nautique Configurable Running Surface (NCRS) automatically deploys and stores to optimize the wave shape and make getting on a plane easier. The Nautique Surf System (NSS) with WAVEPLATE Technology provides instant wave switches without changing ballast or passengers and various settings to adjust the wave shape. Inside the boat, the dashboard provides excellent visibility and easy access to settings and critical info. Luxury features include recliner-like seats and armrests in the bow, a convertible rear bench facing either direction, a swiveling helm seat, and an impressive stereo system. The estimated MSRP is $375,000.
2. MasterCraft ProStar
The MasterCraft ProStar is an excellent choice when it comes to ski boats, thanks to its combination of modern technology and classic design. The ProStar has a 10.6-inch touchscreen display for easy navigation, tracking fins and hull rails for improved steering and tracking, and a powerful 6.0L MPI DD 1.26 engine that provides 373 horsepower at 5200 RPM. The boat has ample room for seven people and optional ski racks on the inwales. Additionally, its forward-centered tow bit lets the skier have a full range of motion while minimizing the effect on the boat’s tracking or wakes.
The ProStar also has an excellent saltwater package upgrade to further protect the boat from saltwater corrosion. The engine is upgraded to a direct-injection 5.3L GDI V8 with a fully-closed cooling system, and sacrificial aluminum anodes are added to protect the boat from underwater corrosion. Finally, the ProStar’s SurfStar system creates the perfect waves for every surfer, and the optional Switchback Ballast Tank automatically directs the water back and forth between port and starboard for an even better experience.
3. Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV
The Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV offers many features and amenities for a great day on the lake. The boat is powered by a 607-hp 6.2L direct-injected Monsoon LT4 engine and can carry up to 17 people with 6,100 pounds of ballast. It has a “Max-Pivot” seat in the stern, which can be converted from a rear-facing seat to a sun lounge. The 25 LSV also has Malibu’s surface and power wedge, four subfloor ballast tanks, and the Maliview touchscreen to easily control these systems. Additionally, its eye-catching red glitter flake hull and luxurious interior make it an ideal choice for a day out on the lake. With this boat, you can have the perfect wave every time and have plenty of room to lounge with friends. So if you’re looking for a great day on the lake, the Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV is sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience.
4. Tige 20 RZX
The Tige 20 RZX is a great ski boat for the lake, thanks to its innovative features and user-friendly design. Its patented GO and TAPS 3T systems and its patented Convex hull allow the boat to generate a ballast-free slalom-type wake at tournament skiing speeds. This boat has plenty of storage space and seating for up to 13 people, making it ideal for large groups. Additionally, the rear-view camera is a great safety feature that allows the driver to keep their eyes forward while backing up, docking, and keeping passengers and riders safe.
5. Moomba Makai
The Moomba Makai is an excellent option due to its combination of size, power, and features. At 22 feet of LOA, the Makai is small enough to fit into most garages, allowing you to store it indoors and extend its life and resale value. The boat comes with plenty of power, a 5.7L V8 engine delivering up to 400 horsepower that’s sure to get you where you need to go in a hurry. Features of note on the Makai include 3,800 pounds of ballast, the AutoWake technology for a consistent wake, the Flow3 and Smartplate tabs for enhanced wake-shaping abilities, and the Moomba Launch System for a smooth take-off. With an estimated MSRP of $93,560, the Makai is an affordable way to get out on the water and have some fun.
6. Supra SR
The Supra SR is an excellent ski boat due to its state-of-the-art wake management systems and crossover capabilities. Its AutoWake hull management system and Supra Swell System automatically adjust the hull to produce precise waves and wakes, perfect for those who prefer water skiing or those who want tall waves for transfer tricks or competitions. Additionally, the Supra SR is equipped with Swell 3.0 Surf technology, which uses inclinometers to measure the vessel’s movements and adjusts the ballast accordingly to provide more stability.
Moreover, the Supra SR is made with premium materials and an efficient Indmar engine, yet it still holds a lower-than-expected price. It is 21 ft long, with 3300 lbs of ballast capacity, and can hold up to 16 people. The Supra SR boat is also equipped with an optional Stinger wake plate, QuickSurf systems, and a stainless-steel tower, making it an ideal boat for those who want to have a great time on the lake.
7. Centurion Ri257
The Centurion Ri257 has many features that make it a great choice. First, it has a revolutionary Opti-V hull design that creates perfect wakes and waves for wakeboarding and wakesurfing. It also has a powerful 575 horsepower engine, which gives you enough power to easily tow skiers and wakeboarders. On the inside, the Ri257 is luxurious and has plenty of seating for up to 19 people. Additionally, it has the AutoWake system, which automatically adjusts the ballast, and the FXOne power folding tower, which provides ample shade for those sitting up front.
8. MasterCraft XT21
The MasterCraft XT21 is an ideal ski boat. When a wake is desired, the Gen2 Surf System kicks in to generate a powerful wake. It has the latest SurfStar software, which allows drivers to customize the wake according to their preferences by adjusting the settings from 1-7. This boat also has features such as MasterCraft’s Dock Dtar, industry-leading towers, advanced dash mechanics, and many more. It can also track slalom runs without wake generation and no ballast, even at high speeds, making it perfect for skiing. The boat also has a convertible transom seat, a spacious layout, and a 6.0 L Ilmor engine. The Xstar S Piranha model also has a purple flake gel coat, Klipsch 10 speaker stereo system, and a stern thruster for the ultimate dockside handling.
9. Axis T250
The Axis T250 is the perfect ski boat for lake fun in 2023. It boasts a 25 ft. length with up to 18 passengers, so you can bring all your friends along for the ride. Its wake plus hull creates larger waves perfect for wakeboarding and surfing. Its Malibu Monsoon M5Di engine also provides low emissions, high fuel economy, and superior torque. And the Wet Sounds marine sound system is perfect for listening to music while you ride or sending transition signals to the rider from the driver.
Furthermore, its Power Wedge III tab and Axis Surf Gate create adjustable wakes, and the Tige Clear user-focused interface is excellent for controlling cruise control, ballast, and preferred wake settings with just one click. Lastly, a rear-view camera ensures the safety of riders and passengers. All this for an estimated MSRP of just $129,000. It’s no wonder that the Axis T250 is the perfect ski boat for lake boating and surfing.
10. MB Sports B52
MB Sports B52 is a quality water ski boat that has been designed for skiers and riders of all levels. It is powered by a Malibu Monsoon M5DI Direct Injection engine and boasts large tracking fins for supreme performance. This boat also features Malibu’s Advanced Rudder control for smoother handling and T-Cut Diamond Hull for excellent skiing performance. It also has a spacious open bow layout that can comfortably seat up to 7 people, plus plenty of storage for trips on the lake and competitions. Additionally, it comes with a ski rack to protect your fins and passengers.
11. Yamaha 212X
With decades of experience in the boating and fishing scene, Lenny Rudow has endorsed Yamaha 212X as a perfect choice for anyone looking to enjoy life on the water. Yamaha 212X is an excellent option for watersports enthusiasts looking for a jet boat that combines versatility, power, and performance. Featuring 1.8L high-output or supercharged engines, 155- or 160-mm high-pressure waterjet pumps and surf gates, a drop wedge, and a strong ballast system, the 212X is perfect for wakeboarding, surfing, or simply cruising in style. The estimated MSRP of this model is $81,299, and it can be easily acquired from Yamaha Boats.
12. Sea Ray SLX-W 230
Sea Ray’s SLX-W 230 offers a perfect combination of both watersports and saltwater fishing. Powered by Mercury’s 400HP Verado motor, this sporty bowrider is perfect for day cruising with family and friends. It features electronic throttle, shift, and power steering for a smooth and comfortable ride. The luxuriously appointed cabin includes molded insteps in the door, opening onto a large sun pad on the deck. With plenty of seating and social areas, you can confidently take this boat out for a day on the water. Experience a top speed of 48 knots and a cruising speed of 25 knots with this 23-footer.
13. Scarab Jet 255 ID
The Scarab Jet 255 ID is an all-around watersports bowrider with jet propulsion and a light weight of 3660 pounds, making it ideal for water skiing. Powered by the GPS-controlled Malibu Monsoon M5DI direct injection engine and equipped with large tracking fins, the Scarab Jet 255 ID provides exceptional performance and reliability. With its cutting-edge tech, this boat is perfect for wakeboarding and surfing, thanks to the adjustable Power Wedge III tab and Axis Surf Gate. Starting at an affordable $65,366 sticker price, this boat offers great value for money compared to other similar models.
What to consider when buying a ski boat?
Speed and Maneuverability
Speed and maneuverability are essential factors to consider when buying a ski boat, as they will significantly affect your overall on-water experience. A boat that can track straight without veering off course during a set makes the skier and driver’s experience more enjoyable. It is also essential to test the boat’s handling while towing a skier and pay special attention to how it handles the skier’s weight.
When selecting an engine for a ski boat, there are a few key considerations to take into account. The most important consideration is the engine type, as an inboard motor will produce flatter wakes that are best for waterskiing. Outboard motors, on the other hand, are situated outside the boat and offer more power and versatility but can create more turbulent wakes that are less ideal for waterskiing. Another consideration is the power and torque of the engine, as this will determine the speed of the boat and the size of the wakes it can generate. Finally, the engine’s fuel efficiency should be considered, as this will help ensure that your boat can travel long distances without refueling.
When buying a ski boat, you should consider the size of the boat. Larger ski boat models can easily fit up to 10-12 people, almost matching the ~15 people that most pontoon boats can fit. If you plan to host family and friends on the boat, you may want to consider the larger models. Additionally, larger boats offer more stability, which can be helpful when skiing or wakeboarding.
When buying a ski boat, it is essential to consider the hull design and its performance capabilities. Depending on where you plan to use your boat (calm lake or choppy ocean), you should look for one optimized for the conditions. If you are looking for a boat that can do a bit of everything, look for a crossover boat that comes with an optional wake tower and sterndrive. It should have a flat wake, good tracking ability, and a comfortable helm. For those who are unsure of what to look for, it is recommended to ask for a lake demonstration so you can make an informed decision.
When buying a ski boat, it is important to consider the ballast system. This system helps the boat to create a flatter wake, provide more lift, and reduce spray. It ensures the boat is stable in choppy waters while providing a smoother ride and better control when turning. The ballast system also helps to create a more even weight distribution throughout the boat, resulting in better performance and handling. By improving the boat’s overall stability, skiers and wakeboarders can enjoy a more comfortable ride and be able to push their limits further.
Tower and racks
Towers and racks are necessary when buying a ski boat as they are essential for different activities such as wakeboarding or waterskiing. Towers are structures that attach to the boat and provide a higher hitch point for wakeboarding, allowing the rider to make jumps. They also provide a stable tower on the boat for those doing tricks. Racks are usually found on the side of the boat and are used to store the skis, wakeboards, and other equipment needed for water activities. Investing in a boat with a tower and racks ensures that your boat can be used for all sorts of activities, making it an excellent investment for those who love to ski.
When buying a ski boat, it is crucial to consider the storage capacity of the vessel. Ski boats typically have more features and amenities than other boats, such as leather/plush seats, carpeted floors, and a tower with a speaker and light attached. Therefore, these boats need more room to store their extra items. Additionally, ski boats are designed for families and friends, so they should have enough room to fit many people. Therefore, ensuring the ski boat has enough storage capacity to accommodate all the necessary items and people is important. Furthermore, the maintenance and storage costs should be factored into the overall cost of ski boat ownership.
The price range for a ski boat can range from $35 to $200k. It is essential to keep in mind that the price tag is not an indicator of whether a boat will be best for waterskiing, as each model may have different features. Feature-rich ski boats will cost more, but additional costs such as maintenance and storage should also be factored into the overall cost of ownership.
What features should I look for in a ski boat?
When looking for a ski boat, there are several features you should consider. Firstly, looking for a boat that can generate a flat wake for waterskiing and a larger, more aggressive wake for wakeboarding is essential. Secondly, the boat should have great tracking ability and a comfortable helm. Thirdly, you should always check the manufacturer’s reputation and request a demo to get a feel for the boat. Lastly, make sure to consult with water skiing experts for their top recommendations.
What are the pros and cons of different ski boats?
The pros and cons of different ski boats vary depending on the type of activities that you plan to do. For those looking to cruise, ski boats offer a great V-shaped body that keeps you dry in waves, while their plush amenities create a comfortable environment. On the other hand, these amenities make them a less-than-ideal choice for fishing, as they are difficult to clean, and their hanging speakers and lights can get in the way of fishing rods and lines. However, ski boats are the best choice for watersports due to their Inboard engine, ballast, and direct connection to the propeller. Ultimately, the best ski boat for you depends on what activities you plan to do, so it is important to consider the pros and cons of different ski boats before deciding.
How much do ski boats typically cost?
The cost of ski boats can vary greatly and typically range from $35 to $200k. However, the price tag does not indicate whether a boat is best suited for water skiing. Finding a boat that fits your budget and meets your needs is important. Additionally, the costs associated with maintenance and storage should also factor in when calculating the overall cost of ownership.
What type of engine is best for a ski boat?
The Malibu Monsoon Engines are recommended for the best performance as they have lower emissions, improved reliability, and better fuel economy than comparable models. The type of engine that is best for a ski boat is an inboard motor since it produces flatter wakes that are ideal for waterskiing. Inboard motors are permanently situated inside the boat, resulting in the powering of the propulsion shaft through the hull.