By: Kevin Smith

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The MasterCraft X-35 is a sexy, high-tech super styler with more bling than sense, writes a smitten Kevin Smith.





Where do you start when it comes to the new MasterCraft X-35? Well, straight off the bat, it's a boat that's packed full of style and bling - lots of bling. MasterCraft boats come out of the 'States and have been available in Australia for some time now. They are the typical, no-nonsense mean-machines you'd expect from the Yanks and the X-35 is no exception - there are no compromises when it comes to the overall finish, quality of build and, of course, performance.

Yes, MasterCraft boats do carry one of those price tags that raises the left eyebrow, and you'd be looking at a cool $101,000 to get into bed with the X-35, or $138,900 for this fully optioned machine as tested. But before you go creaming yourself over the price, you have to remember this is not your standard two-bob-ninety-nine waterski boat. These boats are seriously classy, and have been innovatively designed to suit avid and professional wakeboarders, waterskiers and wakesurfers alike.

However, before I go any further, I should mention that there was something of a twist to this test; namely, that this boat wasn't tested in its "usual" environment. For obvious reasons, when we put a boat through its paces we ensure that it takes place in the environment most suited to the craft. For example, small tinnies obviously don't go out to the Shelf. However, this test was a little different. I was in need of a camera boat to shoot another vessel, a big Boston Whaler heading offshore, and since conditions were just short of perfect we decided to use the X-35. These salty offshore conditions would definitely not be the typical playground of a MasterCraft X-35, so it sure was going to be an interesting test.







The MasterCraft X-35 as tested sported a whopping 6.2lt V8 Ilmor motor. Ilmor Engineering designs serious racing powerplants and has had a number of wins in NASCAR and IndyCar racing. In short, the X-35 had one bad boy of a donk under the hood that had no quibbles with shunting a heavy load, or pulling wakeboarders and waterskiers.

When I began putting the X-35 through its paces, I noticed the motor was pretty quiet but it still had a nice crackle that would turn heads. Out of the hole it was gutsy but still smooth, which is exactly what you need to get boarders and skiers out of the water quickly and comfortably. From there on the X-35 bolted up to a fair top speed of 34.5kts (64kmh) at 5500rpm at WOT (wide open throttle). Not a lightning top end, sure, but then this boat wasn't designed for racing.

As mentioned, the test was in an offshore environment where you wouldn't normally see boats like the X-35. However, it has a selfdraining wet-deck so if you did happen to take one over the snout, it would drain pretty quickly. The hull also has a unique shape whereby in the bow the deep-vee flares out to large shoulders that run all the way through to the stern. These shoulders add to the stability and do a good job of deflecting the spray downwards. The hull is also built as solid as a rock, and it weighs in at healthy 2227kg.

These combined factors saw the X-35 work exceptionally well offshore, where it delivered a superbly soft, dry ride - something I definitely didn't expect out in the swell. Back in the flat waters of the seaway the ride was just as good, only I could throw it into some tight turns at speed. Overall the handling was exceptionally good and it felt smooth to drive and safe on the water.







As is standard of MasterCraft boats, the X-35 came loaded with features and one hell of a layout. The stern has a large, non-skid transom step / boarding platform with loads of space for wakeboarders and their gear. Seating consists of a spacious wraparound lounge in the stern, a passenger seat adjacent to the skipper (which is fully reversible and flips over in an instant for rear viewing), the captain's comfy and adjustable wraparound seat, and pickle-fork bow seating up front.

From the stern through to the bow all the seating is ultra comfortable and spacious, with the usual storage compartments beneath. All seating materials now have a new pleated carbon fibre look and an assortment of colour choices. This boat is rated for 16 occupants, which is typical of wakeboats from the States. Hang on a moment… can it really seat 16? At 23ft (7m) long, 2.6m wide and with plenty of open space and seating, it sure can.







The X-35 has a number of awesome features which on this blinged-up model included a fantastic retractable wakeboard tower which can be lowered at the flick of a switch for towing and garaging. The wakeboard racks are also on a swivel system which allows them to be swivelled into the boat for towing and storage.

The command centre has a distinctive dash featuring a "BIG" (Boat Instrument Gauge) display and servo electromechanical gauges. It has an impressive array of analogue gauges, combined with a technical digital system. What's great about this BIG system is that you can program it to suit many different riders. Each rider sets up their desired speed and wake, which is then stored in the memory and is accessible at any time - thereby eliminating the hassle of setting up your wake each time you're on the water.

Another new feature on the X-35 is the surf-tab system - a set of trim tabs used to help set up the perfect surf wake. The electronically-assisted ballasts are filled and the tabs are used to lower one side, which creates a larger and sharper wake just off the stern, similar to a small wave of about a metre or so. You can then free-surf off the boat without a ski-line.

Other nice features include the built-in fridge and sink and the Esky-type cooler, so you're well and truly covered when it comes to keeping your food and drinks ice-cold.

These were just some of the X-35's features. The boat has many more to offer and just too many to mention. It's one of those boats you truly need to see for yourself and, if you can get a ride on or behind one, it will blow your mind.







You can wakeboard and waterski behind any boat that has sufficient power to pull you out of the water, but it's always nice to do it in style - like behind the MasterCraft X-35. It's an undeniably hefty price but the cliché "you get what you pay for" applies, and with the X-35 you get a boat that's superbly designed and finished. It's dedicated to the avid and professional wakeboarder and waterskier, but is also well suited to cruising with family and friends. It has more than enough bling and gadgets to please the most avid of technophiles and if classy cruising is right up your alley, one of these babies is well worth a look. You'll be the envy on the water.







Wind: None


Sea: 1.5m swell




On the plane...



Luxurious finish and design


Superb ride and handling


Awesome new surf tab system


Incredible features and options list




Dragging the chain...



Price is fairly heavy


Wide beam means some towing restrictions






Specifications: MASTERCRAFT X-35






Price as tested: $138,900


Options fitted: Surf tabs, plug 'n' play ballast system, 4 x tower speakers, fibreglass platform with teak inlay, underwater lights, forward lights, rear lights, powered tower, saltwater series kit, shower, water system


Priced from: $101,000







Type: Wake / skiboat


Material: GRP composites


Length: 7.14m


Beam: 2.59m


Weight: 2227kg (hull)


Deadrise: 15°







People: 16


Rec. HP: 350


Max. HP: 440


Fuel: 227lt


Water: 30lt







Make/model: Ilmor MV8 6.2lt OPS


Type: Multi-port, sequential, fuel-injected, vee-drive


Weight: 466kg


Displacement: 6.2lt


Prop: 14.75in x 17.5in







MasterCraft Boat Company


Vonore, Tennessee


United States










Queensland Marine Centre


Cnr Nerang / Southport Road & Bailey Crescent


Southport, Qld, 4215


Tel: (07) 5591 7032




First published in TrailerBoat # 274

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