The Malibu Wakesetter XTi earned Powerboat magazine's 2002 Tow Boat of the Year award.

The Malibu Wakesetter XTi earned Powerboat magazine's 2002 Tow Boat of the Year award.

MERCED, Calif. — Powerboat magazine has named the Malibu Wakesetter XTi its 2002 Tow Boat of the Year. The award was presented to officials from Malibu Boats Saturday, May 4, at the magazine's Awards for Product Excellence banquet in Santa Monica, Calif. It is the eighth time in the past 11 years that a Malibu model has earned the honor.

Dubbed the "Paradigm Shifter" by Powerboat magazine, the 2002 Tow Boat of the Year Award-winning Wakesetter XTi was described as a watersports boat that "redefines what a direct-drive tow boat should be."

"We kept hearing at boat shows last year from women who would say, 'I love wraparound seating,' but we also knew there were a lot of people out there who are still of a direct-drive mind-set," explained Paul Singer, vice president of sales and marketing for Malibu Boats, in a press release from the company.

According to the release, Shane Stillman, a member of the Malibu Boats Research and Development team, came up with the basic concept for the boat's interior and worked with the company's designers to bring it to life. The boat features an amidships sunpad, which incorporates the motor box, and wraparound rear-lounge seating.

The Wakesetter XTi earned top scores from the magazine's entire test team, which included ski and wakeboard drivers, a professional slalom skier and an expert wakeboarder, a lead test driver and several inspectors.

Powerboat Magazine summed up the Wakesetter XTi testing experience with the following statement, "We've seen and tested the next step in that [the water sports marketplace] evolution, and it is called the Wakesetter XTi."