Malibu to continue production of the Response TXi

Malibu Confirms They Will Continue Production of the TXi in Wake of Rumors


Malibu confirms that they will continue production of the TXi, albeit with reduced tournament support

Malibu to continue production of the Response TXi

Image: Malibu Boats

By Jack Burden

In response to swirling rumors about the potential discontinuation of Malibu’s Response TXi model, Rob Corum, Malibu’s marketing manager, has stepped forward to dispel the speculation. Corum confirmed, “Yes, these rumors regarding the discontinuation of the Response TXi are untrue. Malibu is committed to continuing to build the world-record ski boat and qualifying the boat as an approved AWSA towboat for the foreseeable future.”

However, Corum also shed light on the company’s strategic cutbacks to the ski program in response to recent financial challenges. “The business realities of a small and declining ski business have necessitated change going forward,” he explained.

One noticeable consequence of this change in direction was the unexpected termination of Dennis Kelley, the longtime National Promo Team Director, which sent shockwaves through the waterski community. While the company has assured continued production of the Response TXi hull, the promo boat program, spearheaded by Kelley, appears to be in jeopardy.

Corum explained, “The decision to streamline Malibu’s ski competition activities/staffing was certainly not taken lightly as we considered the heritage of Malibu and our role in the sport that has been so passionately fostered by DK, ski promo personnel, and talented skiers over the years.” This development raises concerns about the future availability of Malibu boats at tournaments, particularly in the United States.

The loss of company support for promo boats could result in a significant reduction in their presence at tournaments, potentially making Malibus a rare sight on the competition circuit. With only around 50 TXis produced in 2023, the odds of these boats making it to tournaments with minimal financial incentives for private owners are uncertain. Additionally, it is unclear if Malibu boats will continue to feature at titled events such as AWSA Regional and National Championships, potentially diminishing the appetite of die-hard tournament skiers to purchase and train behind the TXi.

Cost efficiency emerged as a recurring theme during Malibu Boats Inc.’s recent quarterly earnings call, with CEO Jack Springer highlighting the company’s efforts to control variable costs. “We have spent the past couple of months ensuring cost efficiencies throughout our organization,” remarked Springer, underscoring the company’s commitment to adapting to market conditions.

Malibu Boats Inc. is under significant financial pressure following a sharp decline in revenue, as revealed in their most recent quarterly earnings report. It is understandable then that the company has decided to attempt to cut costs within their ski program, where the smaller size boats typically generate a significantly smaller margin per build slot. The decision underscores the precarious position of three-event skiing, with the limited market leaving us dependent on the legacy goodwill of boat manufacturers.

As Malibu further rolls back their involvement in the tournament water ski scene, the water ski community faces hard questions about the future of the sport with declining industry support. While the confirmation of continued TXi production offers reassurance, the implications of reduced tournament support raise questions about the affordability and accessibility in the sport moving forward.

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Chad Lough
3 months ago

I hate to hear this. I was in the barefoot promo program in 2005-2008. Dennis Kelly was great to deal with. Had much respect for him. Hate to see he is gone. I know companies have to cut back when margins aren’t there but this is tough to hear.