Who doesn’t love reading about the space at the top of a given market, in any industry? The finest cars, watches, boats, wines, scotches, restaurants and homes are all great fun to cover, and to read about. Heck, Robin Leach made a career out of “champagne dreams and caviar wishes.” Here at boats.com, we are guilty of similar indulgences, with boats and—specific to this space—tow boats. Nearly all tow-boat builders cater at least one of their products to the top of the market. Unashamedly, they tout all the features, technology and benefits, and don’t even blush when the prices top $200,000, and to be honest, any builder can do it.

There is a special skill, however, something admirable about the builders who can offer tow boats that cater to the wakeboarding and wakesurfing crowds, and can do it for an affordable price. MasterCraft offers two value-leading tow boats, the NXT20 and the NXT22. The NXT22 is the latest offering, and a convincing one at that.

MasterCraft NXT22

At the current MSRP, this is one wakesurfing boat you'll want to steal.

The NXT22 weighs in at 4,200 pounds and comes with 2,140 pounds of water ballast with the Gen 2 system. The boat also comes with a standard manual folding tower and a surf system, which has surf tabs to either side and wake tuning plate at the center of the transom. The NXT22 also has a 4.3-inch display to the right of the steering wheel.

Now, here’s where the savings come in. The screen is for display only. There are buttons under the screen that let the driver toggle between the gauges, cruise settings, trim settings and a full menu. Part of what makes high-end tow boats so expensive is the touch-screen displays and programming it to control essentially all of the boat’s functions. The system on the NXT22 is much simpler, but it gets the job done.

The driver controls the ballast settings—forward, aft left and right—with rocker switches to the left of the screen. The tabs on the surf system are actuated with rockers located in a panel in the shape of the boat below the ballast switches. It is intuitive to use, but there are no gauges to tell you how much ballast is in the tank. You know they’re full when the system starts pumping water overboard.

That might disappoint some pros, but this boat isn’t meant for professional riders. Even so, most riders are going to want the ballast tanks brimmed. They can use the tabs to fine-tune the wakes and waves to their tastes.

In terms of design, you'll notice the pickle fork bow and wraparound U-shape lounge.

The boat itself is a bit like a MasterCraft product from the late 1990s, or early 2000s. Pickle fork bow, flip-up observer seat, wraparound U-shape lounge and a full-width aft bench. Stowage compartments to either side of the engine hatch are hinged on the outside flanks so you can access them from the interior or the swim platform. The platform itself is a fiberglass piece topped with SeaDek foam padding. The aft bench for suiting up also is topped with foam padding and flanked by cupholders.

There is a bare essence about this boat, but it could almost be better described as primal. Its focus is on delivering wakes and waves behind the boat, not coddling its passengers in opulent comfort—although no one in the boat will suffer, to say the least.

MasterCraft said MSRP is $70,860 for an NXT22 that’s “surf ready.” In today’s wakesurfing boat market, that’s a steal.

See MasterCraft NXT22 listings, or read the full review on other similar models like the MasterCraft NXT20.
Displacement4,200 lbs
Fuel capacity49 gal.

Editor's Note: Pricing listed is valid as of date of publish.

Written by: Brett Becker
Brett Becker is a freelance writer and photographer who has covered the marine industry for 15 years. In addition to covering the ski boat and runabout markets for Boats.com, he regularly writes and shoots for BoatTrader.com. Based in Ventura, Calif., Becker holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in mass communication from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.