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  • 08 Malibu Surf Gates Retrofit

    • Year: 2008 Brand: Malibu Model / Trim: VTX Device Type : Hinged Gate Style Surf Device Material: Starboard or a HDPE Control: Powered with Automated Controller Cost: $2000-$3499 Platform Type: Fiberglass

    Fall 2020 I decided to go ahead with a surf gates retrofit on my 2008 Malibu VTX. The goal was to have these gates as close to factory as possible thus requiring a surf gate style swim platform. Luckily a member on the Malibu Facebook group was selling off his platform from a 2020 MXZ when his flip down step platform arrived. He was willing to wrap it up and ship it up to me in Canada thankfully! I got him to take a ton of measurements of the platform to make sure I could fit it on my boat, he was really helpful with this. All the measurements checked out and a couple weeks later I had the first part to my build. 

    The Subject:


    New Platform:


    Stock platform:


    New platform:



    An interesting issue I ran into when mounting the platform was that the left side of the platform sat lower than the right side. The fiberglass on the underside wasn't laid deep enough and as a result the platform sat crooked. I had to shim up the left side with a 1/4 piece of aluminum on the mounting bracket to make the platform sit level. 




    Next I moved onto mocking up the gate shape. I just cut a piece of cardboard to a rough shape and went from there. The ending shape I went with is almost identical to the original cardboard cutout. I got the gates CNC cut out of 3/4" HDPE from a HDPE outdoor furniture manufacturer. 



    Made a wood mock up to make sure the thickness was going to work in relation to the transom width and the swim platform width. The new surf gate swim platform was wider than my stock platform so things are really tight. 



    From there I tried my hand at CAD to get a file to the HDPE supplier. After a couple hours of messing around I was able to get a nice CAD of the gates. Really pleased with going this route as it makes the finish of the gates really nice around the edges. (as nice as HDPE can be). I have no experience with CAD so this was a bit of a challenge for me. 



    Received the gates a couple weeks later and they came out just how I had hoped, nice smooth edges and perfect dimensions. 



    I was able to track down some surf gate dress up plates locally for a really reasonable price. Really like this idea as I'm not crazy about this HDPE finish but this dresses it up makes them look nicer. 




    For hinges I tracked down some really nice polished stainless hinges with welded pins from Aliexpress. They look identical to the factory hinges Malibu uses. Best of all they were really cheap and lay flat. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000481015618.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.6ea04c4dC698iv  Definitely can recommend these hinges after a season on them. 



    Mounting the hinges/gates was a bit tricky because the corners of the transom are slightly curved so the hinges don't sit perfectly straight, but I made it work. I looked at some photos of factory gates on VTX's and the hinges seem to sit the same way as mine. Lining up the gates and hinges is fairly challenging to get them just at the right position. I luckily have this heavy duty friction arm that can be adjusted to any angle and hold the gates where I need them, worked really well for placement. 







    Tape mounted the actuators to find the correct placement. This takes a lot of trial and error with extending and retracting the actuators to make sure your placement is bang on. Again, because this swim platform is wider than my original, it didn't leave much room for the gates so they're a really tight fit.  



    I had to get two Lenco 7 Degree mounting shims for the actuator mounts on the transom. This angled the actuators up to sit more level with the surf gates and allowed me to hide the actuator mounting screws on the gates behind the dress up plates like Malibu does from the factory. 






    On the controller side of things, @Hyperryd was kind enough to make me one of his push button controllers. I wanted something simple that anyone can run with a low probability of problems or failure, and his relay controller seemed to fit the build the best. Really pleased with how it's put together and functions. 



    I got my hands on a circa 04?-07 helm Malibu stereo controller bracket that I utilized for mounting the control buttons. Where the stereo controller mounts I made an aluminum fill plate with holes for mounting the surf controls. The bracket I got also has 2 rocker switch mounts, one of which powers the surf system and the other is just USB ports/voltmeter for now. I got a custom made rocker switch for powering the surf system from an eBay vendor.




    Mounting the bracket on my 08 boat was a little tricky. This stereo bracket was never meant to be used on my year, therefor the fiberglass behind the dash has been cut away from the factory, leaving nothing to mount to. I built an aluminum bracket to span the fiberglass and give the bracket something to mount to. 




    Finished controller. 



    I also wanted to toy with the idea of a Surf Band. I went with 102F fast lenco actuators so wave transfers are nice and quick. I found a cheap $80(CAD) 433mhz remote relay controller that I am able to wire into the surf control buttons and it controls it perfectly. It has a small waterproof remote that I strapped onto a jetski wrist strap. Push 1 for Left and 2 for Right. Works great after a season of use. Buttons are a little small to push, but it gets the job done for $80!


    Wireless Controller:


    Ghetto Band:




    Final results:




    Had a fantastic season with them and no problems whatsoever. 🤙













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    1 hour ago, SONICJK said:

    Really well done, i don't think anyone would know it's not factory by looking at it.

    Thanks! And a HUGE shoutout to @SONICJK for helping me get the actuators and some other misc parts shipped up to Canada for me. Project would have cost me a lot more without his help. Really appreciate it!

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    On 12/11/2021 at 12:32 PM, CUCV said:

    Very nice project, well done!  I may have to hit you up for some info on the wireless setup.  What are you ridding for a foil, I'm thinking of grabbing one soon? 

    Thanks! The wireless controller I'm using is just a simple 433mhz relay controller that triggers the push buttons connected to my surf gate controller. Its made by a company called RF Solutions. They make various wireless controllers and parts. This is series I am using, very basic: RF Controllers. You can order their products through sites like DigiKey who carry a lot of their products. 

    As for the foil I have, that is a Liquid Force Nebula Foil package with the Horizon 160 wing. It's a blast, so much fun, I foil more than I surf now. It's a nice and stable wing, good for gliding and learning on + a little more affordable. 

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    Thanks for posting the link for the controllers. 

    I hear so many folks say they now foil more than they surf.  For the past few years I've been watching foilers on the lake but wasn't getting the itch to try.  Then one day we saw a group of guys that could really ride and made it look so fun.  We struck up a conversation with them and got a chance to try and had a blast.  I just pulled the trigger on an Axis foil and am looking forward to the 2022 season.

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    20 hours ago, Russell said:

    Your foiling wake is seemingly perfect.  If I could get my boat to do that, I’d be super-stoked.

    You shouldn't have too much trouble making a smooth foil wave. Not much weight and a little more speed is required, 10-11mph. I like a long smooth roller with no white wash. I fill my center tank and put the surf gate out and that's about it. Much easier than making a good surf wave. 

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    I’m assuming you’re running much more ballast than I am.  My loaded, shaped wake is significantly smaller than yours.  I’m just not wanting to throw bags on the floor and/or back seat.  Being a direct drive, already makes floor space and backseat tight.  I want all ballast hidden.  The one thing I’d consider is throwing lead into the trunk, under ballast sac.  Just not sure how much I’d need to make a notable difference.  I’m certainly not aspiring to a traditional surf boat.  Foiling is my go to, and I need zero ballast for that.  When I’ve foiled behind surf boats with big ballast, I was most definitely envious.

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    I wouldn't underestimate the positive impact of bow weight, if you have some hidden areas up front to add weight, I would definitely give it a try.  I'd suggest adding hidden lead in the amount of "missing passengers in the rear of the boat, so try 500 lbs.  Something else to consider might be a different foil.  The guys that turned me onto foiling, foil behind a pontoon boat, no gates or tabs and they are able to do transfers.  We ended up meeting them when they were peeling off their wave and hijackings ours.

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    I have ballast in my ski locker, which runs forward enough to probably be considered bow weight.  You mentioned possibly a different foil.  The foil is not deficient.  I can foil almost effortlessly with zero ballast.  The ballast I currently run, along with the Delta shaper, do a good job of making the wake more fun.  I’m just guilty of wanting more than I have.  1st world problem, I know.  I’ve seen video of people with dd boats that are really heavily sacked, and producing impressive wakes.  I’m just not wanting to give-up floor space and rear seat, in the name of increased wake size.  I’m very aware that when you set ski boats deeper into the water, the opportunity of taking an unplanned roller over the side means you might put your boat on the bottom of the river.  I’m trying to find a bit more displacement, safely and hidden.  Thanks for your thoughts.

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    I'm looking to do the same thing here, but I'm planning to build my own swim platform (can't source a new one for my 08 247).  Would you mind providing me with the dimensions of your swim platform?

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