There are two kinds of boaters: Those who think that "Tige" rhymes with "prestige" and those who know that "Tige" is actually pronounced "Tye-guh." The name comes from the word Tiger, which was the childhood nickname of the company's founder, Charlie Pigeon. They dropped the "r" and added an accent over the "?" to create a brand that would stand out from the competition.
That was about 15 years ago. In the time since, Tige has emerged as one of the most respected names in specialty watersports boats. The 22i has been in the company's line of boats for four years now and is still considered one of the most versatile mid-engine direct-drive watersports boats around.
Like all eight of the boats Tige will offer in 2006, the 22i is built using the company's patented Convex V hull and TAPS2 technology, which allows Tige to offer a variety of performance characteristics with minimal complexity.
Unlike the hulls of traditional ski boats that have a hooked transom, the transom of the 22i has a rocker shape like that on the lip of a wakeboard. With the TAPS plate set in the up position, the non-planing hull settles into the water at boarding speeds and plows out a wake made for catching big air. The push of a button adjusts the TAPS plate down, which lowers the bow, raises the transom and delivers instant planing. Running it up to waterskiing speeds delivers a faint slalom wake that carvers of the first order would drool over.
So what you're really looking at here is a direct-drive multi-species boat that delivers on wakeboarding as much as it does waterskiing. Direct-drive boats have long been favored by slalom pros for their straight tracking, but large amounts of ballast (and more power to drive the boat) are required to wedge the transom into the water at boarding speeds to offer a lot to wakeboarders. The fact that the 22i meets the expectations of both without complex ballast systems and more expensive higher horsepower engines is reason enough to give this boat a closer look.
We put this boat through the paces out at Possum Kingdom Lake near Tige's headquarters in Abilene, Texas. We had smooth morning lake conditions, three people aboard and two thirds of a tank of fuel (31 gallons — about 194 pounds). For power we had a 340 hp 340 GM Vortec 5.7 MPI spinning a 13 x 11.5 three-blade NiBrAl prop.
With the TAPS plate set for slalom we jumped on the throttle for an on-plane time of 3.9 seconds and a 0-30 mph time of 8.2 seconds. Our top speed was 42.3 mph at 4,700 rpm and our cruising speed was 27.9 mph at 3,000 rpm, which yielded 3.17 mpg for an estimated cruising range of 134 miles. While this craft is all about watersports fun, it's good to know you've got long enough legs to get to your favorite patch of flat water.
We dropped down to about 18 mph and pushed the button to adjust the TAPS plate into wakeboard mode. The bow came up and the transom slid down to push out a very respectable ramp with nice form and shape. Further adjustments of speed and the TAPS plate allowed us to change the shape and amplitude of the wake to suit skill levels that range from beginner to pro. Thanks to the craft's symmetrical design, we were able to move our bodies around to distribute the weight to tune the wake even more.
Pushing the TAPS plate into the slalom range and running from 28 to 30 to 32 mph allowed us to see how the 22i was able to produce a nice, quiet wake for slalom sets. This is also when we experimented with the company's brand-new cruise control, Tige Speed Set. Thanks to the drive-by-wire systems Tige uses with all its GM Vortec engines, you can simply raise or lower the speed incrementally by pushing an up or down button. This allows you to make minute speed adjustments without ever taking your eyes off the water, which is a plus in the safety department.
Thanks to a set of standard triple hull tracking fins and the direct-drive setup, this boat pulled through the corners without an inch of slippage. It would take a really big guy pulling some serious Gs while doing slingshots behind the boat to pull this craft by the tail.
Tige has built its reputation around patented technology that allows it to produce boats with desirable wakeboarding and waterskiing characteristics without having to rely on bulky and complicated ballast systems or higher amounts of horsepower.
To the boater this means you don't have to worry about a ballast system breaking down or leaking or having to bring aboard ballast sacks and limit your passengers' comfort. And even though Tige offers plenty of horsepower (a max of 380 for the 22i), you'll usually find that a smaller to midrange amount of power is typically recommended, which translates to a direct savings in terms of price and operating cost.
The 22i is a neat boat that should surely be a consideration if you like to ski as much as you like to wakeboard. If wakeboarding is your thing, you could probably do better with a V-drive wakeboard boat, which will give you even better wakeboarding performance and more space in the cockpit. But if skiing has to be part of the equation, a multi-species boat like the 22i gives you the ability to enjoy both activities.
Tige quality and performance does come at a price, so you should expect great things from this boat in terms of materials and fit-and-finish. Tige is so confident in its construction that it offers a LifePlus Lifetime Replacement Warranty, so if there is ever any structural failure, degradation or delamination for as long as you own the boat, Tige will replace the boat at no charge.
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Manufacturer Contact Information
Tige Boats, Inc.
1801 Hwy. 36
Abilene, TX 79602