Review: Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV

By: John Willis, Photography by: John Willis & Thorry Heaney

The 2016 Malibu Boats flagship, the Wakesetter 25LSV, is an impressive salt and fresh water specialist watersports craft.

The bold new Malibu 25 LSV Wakesetter is set to send a sporting tsunami across the global sweet and saltwater. It is the reincarnation of the Big Kahuna, the God of the Waves, sent back to serve endless crystal peaks with long steep faces that would make Hawaiian kings drool. It is the flagship of the world-wide goliath Malibu Boats. The boating shamans kept the campfires burning with its design and construction – its sheer presence will inflame your heart’s desire. This is the raging beast, it is the stage, it’s the launching pad, it’s the techno elite, it’s party central and it’s all done with that unmistakable Malibu DNA that just wants to rumble and feast in a soiree of pure ecstasy. This is a big, brassy boat – a truly huge Kahuna!


2016 Malibu 25 LSV Wakesetter

Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV wakeboat

The Malibu 25 LSV Wakesetter is a pinnacle of state of the art wake and wave progression. Any confirmed boatie would want the opportunity to party in this voluptuous water sports machine. Who doesn’t like "the smell of napalm in the morning" with the ballsy note and unsurpassable grunt of a modern, high performance 6.2L V8 powerhouse? When all of life’s seriousness is over and you simply want the ultimate in ‘big boyz toyz’, come play in the big Kahuna and blow your cares away while satisfying your mind, body and soul.

The Malibu 25 LSV isn’t built in Australia – yet. The first of the big units has hit the country to test our resolve before taking the investment plunge into producing the unit from the Malibu manufacturing base in Albury, NSW. At this stage the unit is fully imported from the good ol’ USA, the world’s capital of water sports boats where unless you produce premium packages with exceptional value and quality, you won’t survive. Malibu Boats USA is a leading force driving the market through honest principals and magnificent designs.

Can you imagine the wake produced by this monolith of displacement? Not only does it bear the integrity that comes with all Malibu hulls, it has the sheer weight of construction and up to 19 (yep I said 19!) passengers, plus 828kg of sub-floor ballast in twin stern tanks, one amidships and one in the bow. You can even add more stern bags (aka plug and play ballast) for another 680kg if you’re brave enough. Add in the Surfgate and Power Wedge 2 and grab the board because you’ll be surfing what Malibu and its riders claim "are unmistakably the biggest, cleanest wakes ever produced!"



Malibu Power Wedge 2

Helm on Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV

The electro-hydraulically actuated Power Wedge 2 with two lift mode gives the equivalent of up to 680kg of extra ballast by its design. The wedge tilts down and forward creating an extra planing surface allowing the hull to lift faster from the rear. This innovation alone has increased wake size, allowed adjustable height, reduced fuel burn, allowed quicker up and go for the rider on to the wash, as well as better driver visibility.

Malibu has introduced a new bolster-style helm seat which is exceptionally comfortable and swivels 360°. Our demonstration unit was also fitted with the power-adjustable helm seat option (which is terrific when your companion is seven inches taller than you), allowing touch button height adjustment. There’s an entire new look to the upholstery and fabric with the use of Simtex marine vinyl throughout. It looks great and wears exceptionally well. Malibu now offers Seadeck flooring as an option. It’s very comfortable underfoot and is very easy to clean when the party’s over.

Wakesetters constantly evolve and the new windscreen shape and stunningly innovative G4 Tower looks sensational. The tower features very hi-tech machined aluminium design with honeycomb billet construction, exceptional strength, innovative looks, easy manual tilting and rippled powder coated finish. It is fully loomed for a range of LED lights and speaker options, while our demo featured optional board racks that have independent clamp locking  – a very nice touch.

We had a ball rocking the Gold Coast suburbs with the Rockford Fosgate sound machine’s tower of power reversible speakers, sub-woofer, two amplifiers and added speakers in the walkthrough. Overhead shade is provided by the pistol bimini, which also pivots with the tower for storage.


Layout and design

Bow lounge on 2016 Malibu LSV

The helm is a statement of modern technology and style dominated by a big, high-resolution, glare-proof and visually stunning 12in touch screen, plus a further 7in touch screen for all of the house elements such as lighting and power. The 12in screen gives clear and friendly indication of the Surf Gate and Power Wedge position, as well as ballast levels and a multitude of functional controls. The touch screen instruments are thoroughly tested to be waterproof, temperature and pressure resistant. They have also undergone rigorous electrostatic testing up to 3000V and provide wireless connectivity. Among the many technical features, the 25 LSV has a handy ‘go home’ mode that dumps all of the ballast, retracts the Surf Gate, stows the Power Wedge and sets the cruise control to 32km/h to take her home easily. Incidentally, the Surf Gate is now powered hydraulically replacing the older electric actuators.

The advanced design and feel of Malibu’s 2016 Helm Control steering wheel denotes the premium nature of Malibu’s entire presentation. The black stitched leather wheel has a solid centre hub with the embossed Malibu logo surrounded each side by touch button controls for the Surf Gate, Power Wedge, cruise control and sound system, including a handy mute button.

To the left of the Command Centre is an expandable smart phone cradle which has been enlarged for 2016 to accept iPhone 6 Plus, and then the all new Intuitive Analogue Control Dial which is basically a touch-friendly toggle joystick for the Surf Gate, Power Wedge, speed and stereo, allowing the driver full control of all main drive functions without taking their eyes of the course ahead.

The innovations in standard equipment keep on rolling with a reprogrammed and very user friendly touch menu system, GPS and depth as standard, new USB outlets in the cockpit, phone profiles via Bluetooth and Malibu-branded drop-in Igloo coolers.


New features

Wedge Surf Speed wrist attachment for Malibu wakeboat

One of the reasons Malibu Boats is at the top of the premium sport boat market is an amazing array of standard features. We got to play with some of the options on our fully equipped demo boat. How good is the new Surf Band? It is a rider’s wrist-operated remote control giving full control of both sides of the Surf Gate, speed and Power Wedge position to shape a custom wake from the board whilst you’re riding.

I particularly liked the rear view camera which initiates instantly when you hit reverse. This would be particularly handy with a boatload of passengers restricting the driver’s vision. Out in front, a pair of swing-down armrests gives even more comfort and out back the optional Wake View reversible lounge allows absolute versatility whether socially boating or towing with a crew.

It’s not just the volume provided by the big deep hull that creates ultimate comfort, it’s the convertible seating options, particularly the pop-up backrests on the passenger side for both forward and reverse positioning. Malibu has increased the quality of all of the moving parts with billet alloy hinge joints for the backrests and replaced the older piano hinges with strong new stainless steel units for even greater longevity.

There’s no doubt that this Malibu 25 LSV Wakesetter is one hell of an impressive unit both in and out of the water, with a look accentuated by a new range of gelcoats and very funky combinations of optional external and internal finishes. Malibu has put its money where its mouth is by increasing the conditional warranties to up to five years.


Malibu 25 LSV Wakesetter price

At over three and a half tonnes on the road and 2.6m wide, this is certainly a package that needs strong consideration for towing applications. She starts out at around $158,000 and fully stacked with a full optional kit as displayed is around $237,000. Yep, it’s a lot of money – but it’s certainly a lot of boat! It’s also worth considering that Malibu products in Australia quote a resale value at a very high 78 per cent over four years and the premium nature of this offering should forecast similar depreciation.


On the water

Malibu Wakesetter on the water

The Malibu Wakesetter 25LSV isn’t just a rider’s boat; it’s a driver’s boat and a passenger’s raging machine. Malibu tell us that this is the most popular selling boat in its sector and I don’t doubt it – you certainly feel like a king as soon as you jump into the driver’s seat, plant the throttles and the big 6.2L super-charged Monsoon/Indmar V8 roars into life. What’s more, this boat has genuine blue water credentials with excellent ride and handling yet nimble performance for tight sweet water streams. Closed system cooling is standard for saltwater confidence, expanding the usable applications dramatically. Paint on some Propspeed and antifoul and add a few more anodes and it becomes a realistic proposition for a saltwater mooring and classy commute.

It’s all about the feeling of absolute confidence and control, backed up with the grunt of 575lb-ft torque conversion from the big Ford block – also a new concept for Malibu/Indmar. I was thrilled to find just under 80km/h top end performance with three passengers and a 15 x 12 torque wake tuned propeller that erupts out of the hole.


Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV specs





Engine upgrade, gelcoat, hydraulic steering, rotary VDC knob, softgrip flooring, wideview camera, power lift helm seat, wakeview seat, sports dash, clamp racks, bow ballast, Surf Gate inc wristband, Power Wedge 2, Illusion G4 tower and pistol/surf bimini, Wetsounds R8 Horn tower speakers, sub and tower power, walk-thru speakers, paint over galv trailer, Diamond matting on steps and guards, 18in alloy wheels, spare wheel with carrier, Easyloader semi roller bunks, pre-delivery & much more



$ 237,490



TYPE Monster Monohull wave and wakeboat

MATERIAL Fibreglass     

TYPE Wake and wave boat

LENGTH 25ft (7.62m) plus platform

BEAM 2.6m

WEIGHT BMT approx. 3700kg    



PEOPLE (DAY) 19 (manufacturers)




MAKE/MODEL Monsoon 6.2L 575 Supercharged marine engine

TYPE Super-charged V8 petrol marine engine

RATED TORQUE – 575lb-ft



PROPELLER 15 x 12 torque wake tuned propeller



Malibu Boats

813 Hope Ct, North Albury NSW 2640

Phone 02 6040 1174



See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #479, on sale June 15, 2016. Why not subscribe today?

Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV hull side Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV hull side
Monsoon Indmar V8 marine engine Monsoon Indmar V8 marine engine
Malibu Boats decal Malibu Boats decal
Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV at boat show in Queensland Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV at boat show in Queensland
Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV on the water Malibu Wakesetter 25 LSV on the water
Thorry Heaney wakeboarder Thorry Heaney wakeboarder


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.