Crossover Boats – Delivering the Perfect Wake

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Crossover boats are designed to give you the ability to ski, wake or surf and deliver the perfect wake for the task. Those multi-purpose boats are limited to just a few manufacturers in the world and we look at three of the biggest; Mastercraft, Nautique and Malibu.

Although crossover boats are the newest breed of inboard, they’ve grown to practically dominate the market. The reason? Most people want a boat that can do everything, and they don’t want to compromise unless the boat buyer is a hard-core sport-specific enthusiast. Building a boat with such versatility doesn’t just happen overnight: Crossovers have slowly evolved over the past three decades – and they’re still evolving. Crossovers are more family and creature-comfort oriented than traditional ski boats. They usually offer all of the features and options of a wakeboard boat, but they also have the ability to produce an excellent ski wake. They’re mostly V-drives, which offer better cockpit layouts for space, storage and seating. They offer towers and multiple removable pylon towing positions for the best flexibility. The big change in the hulls is how they each treat the bottom and the tricks they use to alter the wake. Traditionally the water runs off the transom reasonably in line with the hull shape. This can be modified with rebalancing the boat and redirecting the water flow.

If you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated inboard ski or wake boat, then the most common way to adjust the wake is to put in removable fat sacks. Just fill them with water and bring the chines of the boat down by adding an extreme amount of weight. It works well and means you can go fishing on Saturday and then load a couple of fat sacks in on Sunday and the kids can go wakeboarding. However, if you are a little more serious, then you need to invest in a crossover boat. All the top brands (most are built in the US) are available locally and you might be surprised as to just how many dedicated ski, wake and crossover boats get sold. Mastercraft, Nautique and Malibu are certainly market leaders, but there is also other brands such as Supreme and Tige that are distributed down under. Each manufacturer goes about achieving the variable wake patterns a little differently. Mastercraft call their system Gen2 Surf System, Malibu has Surf Gate & Power Wedge and Nautique market theirs as Surf System & Waveplate. All do the same job in providing the perfect wake for the desired discipline, but they all do it a little differently. If there is one thing they all have in common, it’s highly advanced electronics, which take all the guesswork out of wake control.


Length: 6.10m | Beam: 2.54m | Fuel capacity: 147.6 litres | Seats: 12 Nautique
recently introduced their latest crossover model, the first-ever Super Air Nautique GS20. Multi-sport performance has become a speciality in this all-new 20-foot boat that blends award-winning designs from the industry-leading G-series and Ski Nautique 200.The Super Air Nautique GS20 features a hull designed to optimise the wake and wave under running conditions for wakeboarding, wakesurfing, and waterskiing. Distinct characteristics taken from the Ski Nautique 200 begin at the bow transforming into features of the award-winning G-series at the transom. New technology in the Nautique Configurable Running Surface (NCRS) has been developed for flawless performance at every speed and user setting. This groundbreaking new hull design creates an awesome wakeboard wake and surf wave, utilising 839kgs of sub-floor internal ballast and the Nautique Surf System. Waterskiers can select the Slalom Ski profile, with the new NCRS Ski Assist feature to automatically optimise settings at their desired speed. The Super Air Nautique GS20 styling is truly unique, with aggressive, three-dimensional hull features and an artful interior design that explore a new concept of space in a twenty-foot boat. The GS20 features Nautiqueǯs latest technological advancements including the all-new Nautique awareness camera, along with premium sound from JL Audio.

Nautique Surf System

With new technology for 2016, the Nautique Surf System is available on all Super Air Nautique Series boats giving surfers more control than ever before to fine tune their perfect wave. Nautique’s new Surf Select puts control of the wave into the hands of the surfer with the Nautique Surf Switch for one-touch transfers exactly when the surfer desires. For total customisation, the Nautique Surf Select app for the Pebble Watch features the ability to fine tune the Zero Off Speed Control, NSS, NCRS, stereo volume and track while allowing surfers to transfer the wave instantly or at a three-second countdown.

Nautique Surf Select is the only system on the market with positive feedback from the helm displayed right on your watch keeping your current settings in view at all times. The NSS is an integrated system that utilises Nautique’s Waveplate, to allow surfers the ability to create a wave on either side of the boat instantly without the need to offload ballast or people. With 3x faster deployment for 2016, the Waveplate extends outward and down from the transom intercepting and redirecting the flow of water to clean up the opposite wake and form a surf wave like no other boat. This not only gives you the ability to form a wave on either side instantly but also allows for wave customisation with variable intensity settings that adjust wave steepness and shape by controlling exactly how much the plate is engaged. Controlling the NSS is the simple press of a button. Integrated into the Nautique LINC system, users have the ability to customise their settings on the fly and save them in a personalised profile that stores and automatically engage your preferred speed, ballast settings, and Waveplate position. The NSS uses the Waveplate technology to manipulate the waveform without the need to move people and ballast from side to side. This is done by redirecting the flow of water coming off the boat instead of having to change the position of the boatǯs hull surface to create the desired flow to get the wave shape you want. This not only gives you the ability to form a wave on either side instantly but also allows for wave customisation with variable intensity settings that adjust wave steepness and shape by controlling exactly how much the plate is engaged.

Mastercraft XT23 PIC 4 & 4A

Length: 7.11m | Beam: 2.59m | Fuel capacity: 208 litres | Seats: 11
Designed to be a do-it-all crossover without compromise, the new XT23 will anchor MasterCraft’s new XT line of boats targeting the sweet spot between the company’s entry-level NXT line and its award-winning, premium X series. Embracing the idea that endless possibilities result in endless fun, the XT23’s intuitive digital dashboard interface instantly dials in the size and shape of the wake for any sport on the water: wakeboarding, waterskiing, wakesurfing, towsports or tubing. Equipped with MasterCraft’s Gen 2 Surf System and 2,600 lbs of built-in ballast, the XT23 can be loaded up with a quiver of gear and up to sixteen friends for an action-packed day on the water. The hull on the XT23 has been specifically redesigned to create more interior depth resulting in a spacious lounge, a surplus of storage and more room for families. The comfortable yet durable rotocast seats provide perfect vantage points to take in all the wake-focused action and the boatǯs oversized sunpad serves as a relaxing gathering spot. New for 2017, the entire boat can be outfitted in MasterCraftǯs new optional DzCool Feeldz vinyl that remains cool to the touch even after extended exposure to direct sunlight. Also new for 2017, XT23 owners can choose from a wider selection of engine options. The XT23 comes standard with Ilmorǯs multi-port injection 5000 MPI V8 model (5.7L) with the option to upgrade to the 7000 MPI V8 version (7.4L). For those who prefer gasoline direct injection, Ilmor has introduced the new 5500 GDI V8 model (5.3L) along with the bolder 6000 GDI V8 model (6.0L). All of these power plants provide impressive horsepower and responsive handling, simply push down on the throttle to tow in with a grin. The new XT23 is the first MasterCraft boat to debut more than a dozen upgrades that are offered on the companyǯs 2017 models. Head-turning new hiplines, a functionally redesigned dashboard, bejeweling new aluminium billet and a broadened palette of gel coat and flake patterns are but a few of the new signature stylings making their debut on the XT23.
Completely customisable from bow to stern, the XT23 will be the first MasterCraft that includes a choice of now customs towers – either the ZFT4 or ZFT7 Power Tower – available in countless configurations of colours, speaker layouts and vertical storage options. The XT23 will also be the first MasterCraft to offer the new Dockstar Handling System, an innovative flanking rudder system that makes manoeuvring in tight spots and crowded marinas a breeze.

Mastercraft Gen2 Surf System

Mastercraft’s Gen2 Surf System, lets you tune the wave exactly the way you want it, producing four distinct zones and a custom ride for every surf style, rider size and skill level. The Gen2 Surf System consists of the boat, the ballast system (including tanks, plumbing and placement), software to control it all and a wake shaping device beneath the transom that sculpts the wave. Our touchscreen controlled surf system is super easy to use. The ballast tanks are filled once and that’s it—the boat does the math and dials in the perfect wave every time. 

No moving people around. No emptying and refilling tanks. The Gen 2 Shaping Device is an evolution of the surf componentry that was introduced in 2009 by Mastercraft. It is custom matched to each boat model to enhance the waterdisplacement from each side of the hull.

Malibu Wakesetter 20 VTX

Length: 6.0m | Beam: 2.5m | Fuel capacity: 144 litres | Seats: 11
Malibu has had the Wakesetter 20 VTX in its lineup for years, but this year its designers did more than hit the refresh button on an already successful model; they created a new, compact multi-trick pony that can go from wakeboarding to wakesurfing to slaloming without missing a beat. Malibu’s Wakesetter 20 VTX is the company’s luxury multisport boat with a hull that compromises as well as any inboard on the water. If you’re looking for a wakeboard boat that can still pull recreational slalom in the Malibu line, the 20VTX is ideal. The VTX can pull anything from slalom to wakeboarding to surfing, and itǯs all thanks to the Cut Diamond hull, which has a wake when you want it and flattens out when you don’t. The new-for-2015 dash was incorporated into the VTX for 2016. This boat inspired the entire dash redesign with the first iteration of the anodised finish, but it didn’t get the massive 12-inch touchscreen and the 7-inch secondary screen until this year. Rider profiles within the touchscreen really pull their weight on the VTX, because you can hit a button to set a profile for speed, ballast, wake-shaping and surf characteristics, then hit another button and completely reconfigure the boat for another sport. The driver enjoys a new bucket seat that features an optional electrically powered adjustable-height seat pedestal. Opt for the Sport Package to get the multifunction rotary switch, which makes it really easy to tweak your settings while underway. Surf Gate has a decent amount of push with this hull, and when you add in the Power Wedge, you’ve got a winning combination for a decent wave despite the boat’s small footprint.

An Indmar Monsoon 410, is the standard engine, producing 350hp. The engine generates a lot of torque and when you are hauling 1600 kgs of ballast plus 11 people, this is more important than its estimated maximum horsepower.

Malibu Surf Gate & Power Wedge

Malibu has always been innovative and one of the market leaders in their field. In 1993, they introduced the power wedge, in 2012 the Surf Gate and 2015 went a step further with the bigger, hydraulic Power Wedge II hydrofoil and the dual-touchscreen Command Center. Their Surf Band wrist remote, even allows you to control every aspect of your wakes and waves while you ride them. 

The Power Wedge II hydrofoil—now with hydraulic actuators—is another evolutionary leap and compared with the original Power Wedge, the bigger, more versatile, hydraulic Power Wedge II features a larger foil, with a 21% surface area increase, equating to an additional 300 pounds of ballast, for a total of 1,500 pounds of wake-creating water displacement. Now wakesurfing is making waves all its own, and Malibuǯs answer is ǮSurf Gateǯ. Unlike wakeboarding or waterskiing, in which the rider is physically towed behind the boat, once a wake surfer is towed into position, he or she can release the tow rope and follow the boat simply by riding its wake – the wave itself provides sufficient ongoing propulsion. However, the ideal surfing wake has its own unique characteristics – and thatǯs where Surf Gate comes in. The actual system comprises two plates hinged on either side of the transom. The tops of the plates are about level with the boarding platform and slightly recessed into each side of it. Unlike the Power Wedge, which hinges vertically down, the Surf Gate plates swing laterally outward on hydraulic rams, changing the direction and shape of the flow of water from along the sides of the boat. Because a surfer rides on one side of the wake, the wake needs to be Ǯadjustableǯtoeither side of the boat to suit left-foot-forward or right-foot-forward surfers. Surf Gate neatly, efficiently and quickly does this as the plates on each side can be deployed individually. Itǯs also a five-second operation to change the boat to suit left or right surfers – far faster and easier than mucking around with ballast tanks or moving crew members around in the boat. This system can be used in conjunction with a Power Wedge and ballast tanks to give an unmatched level of control over the shape and size of the wake, all tuned via a simple touchscreen at the helm. Simplifying things even further, Surf Gate comes with factory presets for each form of watersport and different skill levels. Once a rider has Surf Gate, with more experience, countless additional pre-sets can be added. Then, with the press of a button, any desired setting can be retrieved and the tanks, Power Wedge and Surf Gate automatically re-set accordingly.

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