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Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV (2013-)

Brief Summary

Malibu's "Surf Gate" is new and we have yet to get the opportunity to test it, but from all indications it might well be the "Next Big Thing" in the world of inboard-powered wakeboats. It was announced last summer and promoted this spring at a Malibu-sponsored event on the West Coast with top wakeboarders, athletes and surfers. Word has quickly gotten around about the "Surf Gate" among the adrenaline set who are in quest of water-borne thrills. We're told by the folks at Malibu that the new device can easily switch from wake surfing to wake boarding with the touch on the MaliView screen. Let's take a look at the Wakesetter 23 LSV and see Malibu's latest innovations.

Key Features

  • Depth finder module
  • Malibu touch command with keyless start
  • Maliview 6.5'' dash display system with depth display
  • Speed control
  • Illusion G3 tower
  • Wakesetter hull graphics
  • Midship and rear Malibu launch systems
  • Wet Tek fiberglass with snap-out carpet
  • Hot water shower
  • Fiberglass swim platform


Length Overall 23' / 7.01 m
Beam 102''
2.59 m
Dry Weight 4,100 lbs.
1,859.73 kg
Draft 27''
0.69 m
Deadrise/Transom N/A
Max Headroom N/A
Bridge Clearance N/A
Fuel Capacity 53 gal.
201 L
Water Capacity N/A

Engine Options

Tested Engine Currently no test numbers
Std. Power 1 x 350-hp Monsoon 5.7 CAT
Opt. Power 1 x 410-hp Monsoon 409/96.6 6.0 CAT
1 x 450-hp Monsoon 427/LS3 6.2 CAT
1 x 555-hp Monsoon 572/LSA 6.2 Non CAT (N/A CA dealers)

Captain's Report

The Mission of the New Wakesetter 23 LSV

The Wakesetter 23 LSV equipped with Malibu's patented "Power Wedge," has been been the best selling boat in the wakeboard segment since its introduction in 2007. Now with the advent of the "Surf Gate" it can be a multi-sport boat that can make world-class wakes of several kinds all controlled by the touch of a MaliView screen.
As a result, the Wakesetter should appeal to an expanded group of watersport enthusiasts, one of the most vibrant segments of the boating market. The boat's mission: "awesome wake!"

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The Wakesetter 23 LSV is 23' (7.01 m) LOA, with a 8'6" (2.59 m) beam and a draft of 27" (68 cm). She weighs 4,100 lbs. (1,863 kgs.) dry, and has a carrying capacity of 2,115 lbs. (961 kgs.). Note her white "Sea Gate" below the swim platform and the "Power Wedge" behind the rudder.

Distinguishing Features

There is a long list of distinguishing features on the Wakesetter 23 LSV, but we are going to drill down on three of the most obvious and most innovative--

Surf Gate.

This is the newest of Malibu's innovations and may well be the most significant of all since it's design is counter-intuitive and it solves a lot of the traditional problems encountered by enthusiasts trying to create huge wake. It is generating a lot of excitement and it is available on all Wakesetter models.

Power Wedge.

This V-shaped flat plate hinged to the transom of the 23 LSV when raised or lowered can create different sizes and shapes of wakes. It is adjustable and used in concert with adding ballast to the boat in specially-designed tanks located around the boat. It has been used for years on many Malibu boats and has proven quite successful at creating wake and being easy to use. When not wanted, it is simply lifted out of the way. All functionality of the Power Wedge is automated, as easy as pressing a button.


This is Malibu's brand name touch screen device and software that controls many functions of the boat including speed and ballasting in addition to many other things. Most significantly, it can be programmed easily to replicate several rider choices through presets for each individual so its performance can be reproduced automatically. You can even name your preset after yourself.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The Power Wedge is hydraulically operated by commands from the helm and swings down to any position instructed within its range of motion to create wake with different characteristics.

Power Wedge

The Power Wedge is used to increase the size and customize the shape of the boat's wake. When a wakeboarder's sweet spot is found the MaliView with Touch Command software can save that data for future recall. Then save your favorite spot on a preset.
By using the preset information the boat can immediately find the right Power Wedge angle and boat speed, thus saving fuel and getting on plane faster.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The "Power Wedge" shown here in the down position. In this position, with the stern weighted down with ballast, it acts like a spoiler creating wake that pops to the surface on the boat's centerline.

The Power Wedge which is used in the Wakesetter 23 LSV, and all other Wakesetters, as well. Essentially it acts like an underwater spoiler, pulling down the stern of the boat to create more and bigger wake.

Ballast Tanks.

In addition to the Power Wedge, Malibu has installed ballast tanks on the 23 LSV. These tanks are strategically placed throughout the boat to improve or change the wake. The 23 LSV has four ballast tanks, one in the bow, one in the center, and two in the stern. Each tank can be filled separately or jointly to accommodate individual board enthusiasts.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

By putting weight in the stern and activating the Power Wedge the stern is dropped massively.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

Wakes will take different shapes at different settings of the Power Wedge. Some folks may not be quite ready to jump the moon and they can be accommodated with the system.

The significance of the Wedge is that it allows each wakeboarder to dial in the best wake for their needs. In essence, a bigger, better wake means greater air for board tricks. Beginners can start with the wake at one level, and as confidence and expertise grows greater wake can be dialed in over time.
The Wedge is built out of marine-grade aluminum and is covered by Malibu’s three year bow to stern warranty.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The Power Wedge works its magic under the water for this high-flying wake boarder.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The MaliView with the Touch Command screen is easy to understand and use. Simply tap the screen for the desired function.

MaliView with Malibu Touch Command

The MaliView boat function control system now comes standard along with the Malibu Touch Command on the Wakesetter 23 LSV. The combination of these two technologies provide quick control of cruise speed, presets, media such as music and video, ignition, lights, ballast, heater, blower, Power Wedge, Surf Gate System, navigation and more.

Not For Luddites.

Opt for the latest in technology with Mobile Device Gateway including Bluetooth allowing the operator to control audio and rider presets from a smart phone. About the only thing you can’t do is start the boat from the parking lot…yet.

Luddites Hear This.

The screen is easy to understand and operate. Now the driver has control of all of the major aspects of the boat, thus controlling wake and speed. Preset parameters can be customized for each user insuring repeatable wake every weekend.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The Touch Command screen is in view from the helm and handy to the operator's right hand.

More Data Flow.

MaliView with Touch Control will indicate the level of each ballast tank, the position of the Power Wedge and the speed of the boat, among other things. At the push of a button, the operator can control the wake of the boat and level of the ballast tanks. Each tank has two pumps: one to fill and the other to drain.

How To Use.

MaliView also presents critical boat information in the 6.5" graphic color format. This system includes 10 buttons for easy boat system navigation. For example, the "Cruise" button cues graphical Precision Pro Speed Control information and displays additional gauge information as well as current stereo play selection at the bottom of the screen.
The "Gauges" button reveals format choices for various gauge data. Simulated analog gauges, digital gauges and graphical depth are just a few of the options.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The helm of the Wakesetter 23 LSV has MaliView and Touch Command screens to give the operator state-of-the-art control over his vessel.

Precision Pro Speed Control

can be turned on or off and the speed can be increased or decreased from any of these gauge screens. The "Preset" button takes the user into a graphical list of available presets. This new thumbnailed list of presets makes the choice quick and easy.

Default Presets.

The Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV comes equipped with the MaliView as standard with a number of presets and each of those can be easily modified to the boat owner's personal preferences. Additional presets can also be easily added, up to 200 in total.

Media Control.

The "Media" button provides stereo control and access to switched video inputs. MaliView also features is video connectivity. Video sources from DVD players, to camcorders, to rear-view cameras can be used with this system.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The Surf Gate is a simple-looking vertical flap that diverts passing water into high wake with the energy of the boat's forward momentum.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

This image shows the Power Wedge deployed and the Surf Gate tucked in the default position.

Surf Gate

We have not tested the Wakesetter 23 LSV with Surf Gate so we can make no representations for this new technology. We are basing our comments on what surfers are reported as saying who have used the system.

Wake Making Contortions.

Heretofore, in order to wake surf, it was necessary to have an adequately weighted boat – one weighted to either the port or starboard side, which produces a larger wake. Wake surfing required boaters to empty ballasts on one side of the boat and subsequently refill them, often displacing passengers and shifting weight accordingly. In this scenario, the crew might be piled up in one stern quarter of the boat.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

These three images show theSurf Gatee in three positions, the one at left dormant and the one at right in the most extreme position.

Surf Gate Solution.

One of the main advantages of Surf Gate seems to be that world-class wake can be created without having to heavily ballast one corner of the stern and pile as many people back there as possible. We're told that the boat can be weighted evenly and still create a long, glassy wave on either side. Since the boat can be weighted symmetrically, this makes it easier to drive and decreases wear on the drive train.
For that reason Surf Gate alleviates the time-consuming process of shifting ballast. Since extreme leaning of the boat is no longer necessary, Malibu says that Surf Gate enables riders to cross the wave and perform previously impossible moves. Surf Gate is opening up a whole new realm of tricks called "transfers".

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

This wake surfer has an endless wave to work with behind a Malibu with Surf Gate.

Different Strokes.

To change from wake boarding to wake surfing or to change the surfing from one side of the boat to the other, it is just a matter of touching the control screen, says Malibu. Switching from one mode to another can be done in seconds by a simple tap of the Touch Command screen.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV is a purpose-built boat designed for making the wake high.

Basics of the 23 LSV

The Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV is not a warmed over skiboat, but rather a boat specially designed for wake sports. Everything about the boat has been designed for that purpose, along with creating a convivial atmosphere for a great party on the water.
Wakeboats need as much weight in the stern as possible. For that reason the Indmar engine has been placed in the stern with a V-drive. For the same reason, seating has been moved to the rear of the boat as much as possible. By wrapping the seating almost completely around the perimeter of the cockpit, the center has been left open so that people can easily move around.
Because as much of the crew as possible should be in the stern of the boat Malibu has minimized the bow seating area, essentially making it a sunning spot when the boat is at rest.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

Wake surfer getting air with the spotter and crew in the bow looking on. Note the weight is actually forward in this boat.

One of the most unusual aspects of the boat is its pod-style helm that has been moved significantly forward. With the stern buried to create wake in most boats, the bow is naturally pointing in the air thereby hampering the operator's visibility forward. This is why most wakeboats have their forward sheer shaved down so as to preserve some forward visibility with the stern sunk.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The helm pod is compact and forward on the 23 LSV. Note the position of the huge woofer which should set up some vibrations of its own.

By moving the helm forward and making it compact Malibu has greatly increased the driver's view forward, which is -- after all -- the most important aspect of all, including the size of the wake. We think Malibu has done an artful job of moving the helm forward without making the boat look awkward.
Malibu rated seating capacity, arrived at through ABYC standards is for 15 people and certainly that many can be seated in the boat sitting upright. However, owners should keep in mind that the boat's maximum passenger carrying capacity is 2,115 lbs. (961 kg.). Happily most wake jumpers we've seen are in great shape so many people can hop aboard.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The Bimini top for safe sun, sound equipment, video cameras, board racks and cargo containers are all options that can go on Malibu's new G3 tower.

Tower & Accessories

No wakeboat is complete without a proper towing arch. The arch gets to tow a bit high so that wakeboarders have the scope and height of rope to get over high wakes and make spectacular jumps.
Malibu is the only manufacturer in the towboat segment that makes its own towers. Not only does this give Malibu full control from design to attachment, it reduces the tower cost significantly from its competitors. The Wakesetter 23's Illusion G3 tower is Malibu’s latest iteration in tower design. One person can easily lower the tower below the windshield with its weightless, gas spring assisted design. The tower can be optioned out with speakers, lights and racks for boards. The G3 oversized Bimini or the Z5 Cargo Rack can also be added to provide safe sun.

Engine Options

The Wakesetter can be fitted with four different engines from Indmar. All will be in a V-drive configuration. The lineup:
●350HP 5.7 L CAT
●410HP 409/L96 6.0L CAT
●450HP 427/LS3 6.2L CAT
●555HP 572/LSA 6.2L (Supercharged)
We recommend that boaters interested in this boat discuss which engine is best for the desired application with a Malibu dealer.

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

The 16 orange spots on this image indicate all of the places where Malibu allows its customers to select different colors or materials to customize the Wakesetter 23 LSV.

Customizing the Dream Boat

Malibu understands that much of the final appearance of a boat needs to reflect the personality of the owner. It is this customizable aspect of its boats that let its buyers know they have "one of a kind." Malibu offers the broadest ranges of color and material choices in class. Here are some of the areas available for customization in the Wakesetter 23 LSV--
• Floor type (carpeted or snap-out carpet)
• Gelcoat schemes
• Gelcoat colors (solids and metalflakes)
• Vinyl grain choices
• Vinyl colors
• Upholstery bead colors
• Hand-wrapped dash colors
• Tower colors
• Tower speaker options and colors
• Tower light colors
• Mirror bracket options and colors
• Trailer colors (including Malibu-exclusive metalflake options)
• Trailer wheel choices
• Bimini top styles

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Currently no test numbers