We have a new test video of the remarkable Tigé Z3 which can be loaded up with 2300 lbs. of ballast to create surfing conditions that are world-class. But as can be seen in the photo above, wake-making is only part of the mission of the Z3. She also must play host to a bevy of spectators who have come to wake-boarding virtuosity of the Z3’s lucky owner. Let’s drill down to find out all about this cult classic.
- Lifeplus lifetime replacement limited warranty
- Seating capacity for 16 passengers
- High flex gel coat
- Tige speedset cruise control
- Helm seat with flip-up bolster with storage underneath
- Integrated insulated, self draining cooler
- 21 oversize drink holders
- Shark-eye navigation lights
- Convex rear-view ski mirror
- Fiberglass non-skid removable/collapsible swim platform
|Length Overall||23' / 7.01 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||2.5 sec.|
|0 to 30||8.6 sec.|
|Load||2 persons, 7/12 fuel, no water, 50 lbs of gear|
|Climate||78 deg., 68 humid.; wind: 5-10 mph; seas: light chop|
1 x 415-hp Indmar 6.0 M60
1 x 350-hp Indmar 5.7L Premium M57
1 x 415-hp Indmar 6.0L L96 M60
1 x 455-hp Indmar 6.2L LS3 S62
1 x 555-hp Indmar 6.2L V-8 S62 Supercharged
The Tigé Z3 was created to be the ultimate surfboat, but in creating the best surf wave, she can also create a variety of waves on up to the largest. That allows her to also satisfy the desires of the pro wakeboarder, and even the slalom skier. Then, there are the folks that aren't looking for wake size and just want a snazzy-looking sportboat and don't want to be "me-too" boat owners.
To accomplish its goal, Tigé created the ConvexV hull that flies in the face of conventional wisdom of hooking the stern down to create a fatter wake. With a hull design of that nature, there’s no flexibility, the wave it creates is the wave you get.
But with ConvexV, the hull is curved up at the end. Then Tigé adds an adjustable plate at the center of the stern called TAPS2, for Tigé Adjustable Performance System.
T.A.P.S. (Tigé Adjustable Performance System) is exactly as the name implies. Behind the transom is a plate, which is adjustable at the helm, to tweak the characteristics of the hull, and therefore, the wake. The adjustment is right on the engine control, taking the place of the trim switch. Although some would correctly argue that it still is a trim switch.
And just like that, Tigé now has a planing boat with a light wake, and at the touch of a switch to lower and raise the plate, it squats the stern to increase the wake. It’s performance heaven for watersports enthusiasts and it’s on every Tigé hull.
But What about Cruise Mode?
Once a typical boat gets on plane, there’s the usual tendency to bring the trim up to get into planing attitude. With the Tigé hull, it’s still done but in the opposite direction. The bow is already high thanks to the upward curve of the ConvexV hull. And just like when a normal hull is trimmed too high creating bow porpoising, so is the case here. It’s just a normal side effect to having this creative hull. So now it’s time to bring the bow back down by dropping the TAPS plate to about 1-2 on the TAPS gauge. Then cruise away.
Going one step further, and it’s a big step, Z3 also offers an option for Convex VX. It’s a cleverly engineered fiberglass extension that attaches to the underside of the swim platform that channels the prop wash down under, and into, the wake. This has the result of actually pushing the wake up from the bottom, adding size, volume, and density to the wave.
And now, with these longer waves, surfers now not only have more room for free styling but more room to recover from tricks. It’s one more reason why the Z3 is billed as the ultimate surfboat. And it still works in conjunction with the TAPS system.
For those days when converting the Z3 to a family boat, or the day's itinerary just calls for cruising around, the VX extension is easily removable. It simply attaches to the underside of the swim platform.
There’s one more ingredient to the equation of creating the perfect wake. And that’s adding weight to the boat to get it down further in the water. This is done by the tried and true method of adding ballast or weight to the boat. And the easiest way to do that is with the closest available source of weight… water. It’s readily accessible and weighs 8.35 lbs. (3.785 kg) per gallon of fresh water, and saltwater weighs about 8.3 lbs. (3.9 kg) per gallon. But we can’t just open up a thru hull fitting and let the water come in now can we?
Ballast bags, or sacs are strategically placed around the boat to hold water. A flip of a switch at the helm, one for each ballast sack, will start a pump which brings water into the individual ballast sacs. Once they’re full, the boat is much heavier, and because it sinks lower in the water, a larger wake is generated. Now the previously mentioned methods can dial-in that wake to perfection.
At the end of the day, reverse the pumps and empty the liquid weight out.
So How Much Weight is Enough?
The standard ballast package is 900 lbs. (408.2 kg) and should suffice for intermediate to advanced riders. This standard base package consists of two 250-lb. (113.4 kg) tanks below the floor of the rear storage compartments, and two more 200-lb. (90.7 kg) ballast sacs in the bow of the boat.
Now, for the intermediate wakeboarder to the advanced wake surfer, an optional ballast package is offered that utilizes larger 600 lb. (272 kg) tanks in the rear of the boat bringing the total up to 1,600 lbs. (725.7 kg).
Put this prodigious weight together with the Convex VX hull and the TAPS2 system and monster wake is created.
By the Numbers
With the 415-hp Indmar M60 engine powering our test boat we reached a top speed at 5400 rpm of 44.7 mph. At that speed she was burning 30.75 gph giving us a range of 63 miles. So that will get us out to the play area, but just how long can we play for?
Surf Speed and Surf Shape
Remember, this is a pro surf boat, so we’ll top off the ballast sacs and run between, say, 9…9.5 to 11.5 mph. 9 mph will give a shorter wake, but a taller one that beginners like as it gives more push. That speed will show a fuel burn of around 3 gph and the Z3 can keep doing it for well over 14 hours. Bump it up to the high 10s or low 11s and the wave lengthens out giving more room for free styling and moving around. That produces a fuel burn of around 4 gph which she can keep up for nearly 11 hours.
For wakeboarders, drop some of that ballast, and dial-in a typical speed of 18-23 mph. Lets shoot for the middle of that range. 2500 rpm gave us 19.5 mph while burning only 6.2 gph. That means our Z3 can keep up that pace for 7 full hours while still maintaining a 10% reserve.
Finally, let’s get rid of all the ballast, and pick it up to slalom skiing speeds between 28-36 mph, where the wake all but vanishes. 3500 rpm had us running at just over 32 mph (32.5 mph) with a fuel burn of 11.7 gph. That means continual skiing for 3 hours and 42 minutes. Still with that 10% reserve.
Remember that all the settings can be put into memory, and identified with the name of the rider, for easy recall at the touch of the screen.
The Z3 accelerates quickly and comes on plane with a 12-degree bow rise in only 2-1/2 seconds. Normally, trim would be added at this point to bring the bow up, but with the ConvexV hull, and TAPS2 plate in the center of the transom it's time to start bringing that plate down to about one or two on the taps gauge to settle into her cruise attitude. Otherwise she'll start to porpoise when she gets up to speed, but this is a normal characteristic of the ConvexV hull so no points taken away for that.
This is a wake boat, not a cruising boat. Tracking fins secured to the keel keep her glued to the water while she turns a relatively sedate 12-degree bank attitude. And she settles back into the water stern first when taking power off.
Since this is a V-drive installation, there’s more room in the cockpit without having to work around a bulky engine box in the middle of the boat. The Indmar engines not only have four engine mounts, but an additional two under the transmission as well. That translates into less vibration and less discomfort for the passengers.
Sun pad and Stern
Of course we have the requisite sun pad that is the staple of any dayboat, and a surfboat is no exception. This one is nearly full beam with gull wing style storage hatches to access the compartments underneath. Naturally these include not only storage, but inflatable ballast sacs. Between the two side pads is a center pad flanked by two elevated storage bins. The center pad itself can be unlatched from its position and flipped to create a non-skid walkthrough to the swim platform.
The swim platform is part of what Tigé calls the "Transom Activity Center" and it’s comprised of a staging area for putting on boards, self draining wet storage, drink holders and a stereo remote. With the platform itself being nearly at the surface of the water, there’s no need for a reboarding ladder.
At the bow, Tigé opted away from the pickle fork bow of the other models, and instead went with the traditional V-configuration. The bow is completely taken up with cushions, all surrounded by upholstery that is diamond stitched with UV resistant Gore Tenera thread. Fully forward a flat backrest allows for aft facing seating for another set of eyes dedicated to keeping an eye on the end of the towline.
Previous versions had an air dam that had to be pulled out from storage, and laid into place. Now the air dam is hinged and under the center bow cushion. Just raise the cushion, swing the lexan dam into place, and close the windshield… done.
Console storage is not accessed from the walkthrough, but instead through the swing-open seatbacks. The port storage is also accessed from lifting the observer’s seat, which even has a mirror and small cargo net storage underneath.
Tigé went with a soft touch helm, color matched with soft vinyl with Gore Tenera stitching. Three gauges keep the panel uncluttered. Tach and fuel to the left, speed in the center, and the TAPS gauge with a LCD temperature scale embedded in. Any other information can come from the Tigé Touch display, which is standard on the Z3 and now includes Bluetooth streaming audio and a 5-year warranty. The upholstery continues down to the lower panel where the steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base.
The cockpit seating wraps around the entirety of the cockpit making full use of all available space. Storage is underneath all seats. The corner seats are curved to allow for a more comfortable position while still facing the crowd.
Our test boat was fitted with the Alpha Z tower that is a work of art. It was custom designed in-house by Tigé, and can accommodate a host of options including tri-color LED courtesy lights, up to 4 color matched, Wet Sounds speakers, Clamp4rce ratcheting and swiveling board racks, LED docking lights and a swivel tow point camera that can display on the Tigé Touch screen.
The Tigé warranty program falls into three time periods -- Lifetime, 5-years and 3-years. As for the Lifetime warranty, here is what Tigé says on its website: "Tigé offers the only complete hull replacement warranty in the industry. If you ever experience a structural hull failure or delamination, at any time while you own your boat, Tigé will replace it with a new boat at no charge."
Tigé has a 3-year stem to stern warranty on all items and components on the boat, and a 5-year warranty on the Tigé Touch system as well as the 5-year warranty offered by Indmar on the engine.
The Tigé Z3 is an impressive boat with impressive qualities for making the perfect wake across a broad spectrum of disciplines. She transitions equally easily into the family fun boat and that makes her even more appealing.