Review: MasterCraft X-26

By: Kevin Smith, Photography by: Nathan Jacobs


Mastercraft X26 wakeboat 09 Mastercraft X26 wakeboat 09
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The MasterCraft X-26 is among the biggest and best of the MasterCraft sports boats fleet.

High-tech wakeboats boats, pumping tunes, highly competitive athletic men, woman and juniors carving up wakes and doing some wild manoeuvres – that’s what the burgeoning wakeboat industry is all about. And many of them are relying on the revolutionary MasterCraft brand of wakeboard boats.

 

MasterCraft X-26

Mastercraft X26 wakeboat

At a glance, the MasterCraft X-26 sports typical sci-fi-meets-hip looks both on and off the water – once again, it’s an absolute stunner. As the largest MasterCraft in the fleet, this has enabled more features to be incorporated. So, what’s new and just how could MasterCraft improve on a product that’s already close to near perfect?

Innovatively designed to suit entertainers and water sports enthusiasts alike, the MasterCraft X-26’s interior has the typical refined balance of luxury and sociability incorporated into the layout to suit the massive capacity rating of up to 18 people. The interior styling and layout is classy, to say the least, with the huge wraparound lounge, rear surf lounge, convertible centre seat and extra seating up front in the bow maintaining the social aspect to suit big days on the water.

As reviewed, the latest MasterCraft X-26 was optioned-up to the max; electric head, vertical surf racks, refrigerator, heated seating, built-in heater for winter boarding, hydraulic seat lift, wet-bar, power-jet bow-thrust were all present – and that’s just to mention a few of the new features to this beast.

I particularly like the addition of electric head with pump out, which is accessible via a door built into the passenger console. The decent-sized fridge and wet-bar with sink and plumbed fresh water would certainly keep you on the water for longer during the day.

Like all MasterCraft wakeboats, the helm set up is a flashy as they come. The combination of analogue and digital gauge systems, surrounded by stylish aluminium craftsmanship, is something I’ve ever seen before on a boat. MasterCraft’s multifunctional touch screen digital control panel (Murphy) is the control centre or hub to on-board engine monitoring, as well as the key to setting up the perfect wakes to suit boarding and surfing.

Rider information can be pre-loaded or stored on the system, with speed, wake size, style and even music stored and readily available at the mere touch of the screen.

 

Performance

Mastercraft X-26 wakeboat on the water

Like all MasterCraft boats, the X-26 is a slick experience on the water with the new hull design producing a far smoother, drier and sportier ride even in quite rough conditions.

Under the hood, the X-26 test boat had the Ilmor V8 6.2L 430hp marine engine fitted. Initially, I was quite surprised – considering the boat’s size, I would have expected the V8 7.4L 522hp. As far as torque, power and consumption is concerned, I couldn’t fault the 430hp. It effortlessly handled 10 people on-board, with boards and full ballasts at times, without the motor feeling like it was straining or underpowered. There is quite a big price difference between a 430hp and 522hp, somewhere around $15,000, so it’s quite a saving for those looking to streamline their budget.

Additional features aiding performance include the launch assist, which auto locks the tabs down to create a faster and more level hole shot, as well as the new jet-thruster bow thrust option, which makes docking in wind and current so much easier and well suited to this model. It does tack quite a bit on to the price tag, but it’s worth it considering you are manoeuvring a 26ft boat around. Another bonus is the motors closed-cooling system, which enables salt water use without the stress of corrosion through the motor system.

 

 

On the water

Wakeboarder champion Harley Clifford behind Mastercraft boat

To top off the new MasterCraft X-26 experience, the Queensland MasterCraft team pulled out all the stops and had the pros doing their thing behind the MasterCraft X-26. Men’s world champ Harley Clifford assisted with driving for the day, along with the junior girls 2014 world champ, Mackenzie McCarthy, while a few other top boarders put on a spectacular show for our entertainment.

On the wakeboarding side, it’s simply mind-blowing just how extreme the sport has become. As for the wakesurfing, well that’s more up my alley – slower and less chance of injury. Back in my day, it was a matter of getting towed behind the boat with your old surfboard, with re-entries and the odd tail-slide off a 1ft wake as extreme as it got.

Now it’s a whole new ball game, with riders using specially designed boards to freely ride the 2.5ft plus crisp wakes behind the boat without rope assistance. The Gen2 surf systems feature a number of pre-set wakes to suit the rider’s style and conditions for the day – simply dial up your setting on the Murphy and off you go.

 

MasterCraft Gen 2 Surf

Mastercraft Gen 2 Surf

Designed purely around sculpting the perfect wakesurfing wave, the Gen 2 Surf consists of four pillars including: individual boat hull (also available on other MasterCraft models), a colossal sized ballast system (up to 3000 pounds to be precise), software to control it all and a wake shaping device beneath the transom that sculpts the wave (space age trim tabs of sorts that make it all happen).

Designed and calibrated to the individual boat, the Gen 2 Surf System creates cleaner, larger, longer and more push at length through simple control of the ballast system via the touchscreen on the dash. Basically, select the wave type to suit the rider – the ballasts are filled once – and away you go. The boat does the math and dials in the perfect forehand or backhand wave of choice.

Back in the day, older style or conventional boats used for wakesurfing needed to be manually manipulated by adding/shifting weight to achieve some form of larger wake. On the new MasterCraft, fitted with Gen 2 Surf, the hard yards are eliminated and with four separate pre-set zones for the dedicated wake-surfer, your life is far simpler and faster when it comes to adjustments.

ZONE 1 | For building confidence and honing skills with a powerful, stable wave that’s great for learning to surf, recovering or riding out some chop. Distance approximately 0-5ft from platform.

ZONE 2 | Step it up with a stronger push and more defined lip edge in zone 2 – good for charging and a bit of air. Distance approximately 5-10ft from platform

ZONE 3 | Add some agro and take it next level in Zone 3, providing the most vertical lip and steepest face to drop in and accelerate. Distance approximately 10-15ft from platform.

ZONE 4 | Exclusively on the MasterCraft X-23, you can spread it out in Zone 4 with room to roam, recover or surf bigger boards. Distance approximately 15-20ft from platform.

 

The Trade-a-Boat verdict

Deck space layout on Mastercraft X26 wakeboat

MasterCraft boats bills the X-26 as refinement and sophistication meets performance and power – and I certainly agree, in fact, it’s probably more.

Every year new models are released and I always wonder how they could possibly further refine and add more innovations, most of them are as near to perfect as you can get. Yet, somehow I’m always surprised by what designers manage to come up with. The MasterCraft X-26’s size, features, stylish looks, refined finishes and superb performance are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to recreational and professional wakeboarding and surfing.

 

 

MasterCraft X-26 specs

MasterCraft X-26 price: $269,000

Price as tested

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Saltwater series 6.2L Ilmor engine, jet thrusters, wet bar, refrigerator, under water lights, electric head with pump out, vertical surf racks, metal flake, rear surf lounge, convertible centre seat, triple-axle low profile trailer with upgraded wheels, four towers speakers with lights, rear lights, heater, heated seats, 240v battery charger, custom colour package, red speaker trim lighting, anchor, hydraulic seat lift

 

PRICED FROM

$225,000 – incl. trailer, surf and convenience packages

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Monohull wakeboat

LENGTH 7.92m

BEAM 2.59m

WEIGHT 3039kg

DRAFT 74cm

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 18

FUEL 333L

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Ilmor 6.2L marine engine

TYPE V8

RATED HP 430hp

DISPLACEMENT 6160cc

GEAR RATIO 1.56:1

 

SUPPLIED BY

Wynumm Marine 

31 Fox Street

Wynnum QLD 4178

Phone (07) 3396 9777

Web wynnummarine.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #481, August / September 2016. Why not subscribe today?

 


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