When Malibu Boats goes to the trouble of introducing an all-new model like the Wakesetter 22 VLX, it usually does it with gusto; the Corvette models it built were stunning. The 24 MKZ that debuted a couple of years ago brought radical advances to the market. And the new-for-2015 Wakesetter 22 VLX is no different.


New from the hull up — or hulls up, but more on that in a bit — the new 22 VLX is a complete re-imagining of the company’s Wakesetter 21 VLX, the model it replaces.

“For 2015, our product-development team has delivered more new innovations than ever before in our 33-year history,” said Malibu Boats CEO Jack Springer. “With the 22 VLX’s new hull, our new Power Wedge II, and our unrivaled Surf Gate, we've made this the most versatile 22-foot boat on the market and have increased our surfing advantage with the continuing evolution of our wake-surf system.”

One interesting aspect about Springer’s quote is that it says nothing about wakeboarding. Wake surfing has surged in popularity as tow boat manufacturers have been able to get relatively small boats to displace a lot of water, leaving behind not wakes, but waves. It’s hard to say that surfing has taken over the market, but it sure has made a big impact on current products.

One of the most notable aspects of the new 22 VLX is that is available with two different hull designs depending on how the buyer wants to use his boat. For those who want pro level wakes for wakeboarding and surfing, go with the Wake Plus hull. For those who want to use the boat for lots of different things, the Diamond hull is the way to go. That’s brilliant.

Wakeboarding and surfing starts with ballast. The 22 VLX comes standard with 900 pounds of ballast and the Wedge system, which, when combined, press the boat deeper to displace more water. The new hydraulic Power Wedge II features a 21-percent larger surface area on the foil to create the same downforce as would 300 pounds of ballast. The 22 VLX also is available with up to 2,350 pounds of belowdecks water ballast and the company’s proprietary Surf Gate system, which works like vertical trim tabs on the transom mounted nearly parallel with the hull sides.The driver controls the Surf Gate system, not with the touch screens atop the dash, but with an analog control center to the left of the steering wheel.

power wedge ii

The control center includes a rotary knob and buttons, which control the Power Wedge II, speed control and the stereo. It’s also got a handy place for your smart phone.

But that’s just one part of the dash. The rest is comprised of some real Buck Rogers stuff, starting with the MaliView command center on the right, which controls everything from your bilge pump, blower, and lights, to the ballast systems. It even connects to your Bluetooth-enabled device. The top screen takes center stage above the steering wheel, with mimicked analog displays for the speedometer and tachometer. It also shows vital engine data, water depth, settings for cruise control, and rear-facing cameras. To accommodate drivers of varying heights, the screen tilts fore and aft on its axis. The black vinyl used on the helm is an attractive accent color, but the armrest behind the throttle can get hotter than your forearm will bear. Ouch.

In terms of seating, the 22 VLX boasts a few innovations there, too. Because everyone wants to see the action behind the boat, a cushion at the forward edge of the lounge on the starboard side flips to create a rear-facing backrest, as does the cushion just behind the observer seat to port.

malibu wakesetter

At the transom, Malibu fitted the 22 VLX with padded seats for gearing up and a sturdy center step to the sun pad. The step is treated with Sea Dek marine padding, as is the generous swim platform.

Displacement4,300 lbs
Fuel capacity48 gal.

Malibu’s new Wakesetter 22 VLX is about as exciting as a new model can be. It takes a market segment that’s already over the top and ups the ante that much further.

Other Choices: Another wakeboarding, wake surfing hottie in this size range is the Tige ASR. Or, take a gander at the Super Air Nautique G25.

See Malibu Wakesetter 22 VLX listings.

For more information, visit Malibu.

Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld, boats.com, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.