Regina Jaquess signs with Nautique Boats

Jaquess Signs With Nautique, Ending Two Decades with Malibu Boats


Regina Jaquess signs with Nautique, ending two decades with Malibu Boats

Regina Jaquess signs with Nautique Boats

Jaquess of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, becomes the newest member of the Nautique Team (image: @nautiqueboats)

By Jack Burden

Regina Jaquess, arguably the greatest female water skier of all time, announced today that she has signed with Nautique Boats, ending a two-decade relationship with Malibu. The 39-year-old is the current world record holder in slalom, setting her most recent mark last year at the Malibu Open.

“I am incredibly honored and excited to represent the Nautique brand,” shared Jaquess in a press release on the decision. She added, “I look forward to competing for many more years and being able to ski behind the #1 towboat in the world every day.”

This marks a significant departure for Jaquess, whose affiliation with Malibu Boats dates back to 2010. At that time, as Malibu’s newest addition to the waterski team, she made history by breaking Kristi Overton Johnson’s world slalom record, which had stood since 1996. Since then, Jaquess has broken the world slalom record eight times, totaling nine records—more than any other woman in history. Few skiers in the world have deeper ties or are more associated with a boat company than Jaquess with Malibu.

However, Jaquess’s move comes amidst significant turbulence at the Tennessee-based boat manufacturer. Malibu has faced scrutiny in recent months, with its stock value plummeting and allegations of inventory fraud emerging from one of the nation’s largest boat dealers. The dismissal of Dennis Kelley, a 30-year company veteran, earlier this year fueled speculation about the discontinuation of the TXi model. While the company has denied these rumors and Malibu Boats Australia recently reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Australian water skiing, the scaling back of support for tournament water skiing in the US has clearly soured Jaquess’ relationship with the company.

In her announcement, Jaquess made what appeared to be a thinly veiled criticism of her former sponsor, expressing excitement at “having the opportunity to align with a company that is true to its water ski heritage.” Ultimately, this marks a disappointing end to one of the most iconic water ski brand relationships of the 21st century.

Nautique appears eager to welcome the disaffected world record holder, with their President, Greg Meloon, expressing enthusiasm for the partnership. “Throughout her career, Regina has set new expectations and inspired the waterski community. We are looking forward to her next level of performance behind the Ski Nautique!”

Jaquess, who has raised the women’s world record from 1 to 5 at 10.25m (41’ off), has her sights set on one final frontier. She expressed her desire to “catch that elusive 6 ball at 10.25m and go beyond into territory no other female water skier has ever ventured.”

The fate of Thomas Degasperi, Malibu’s sole remaining water ski athlete, remains uncertain for now. Losing the support of one of only three boat manufacturers would be a significant blow to the sport. Hopefully, Malibu can weather the storm and bounce back once economic conditions improve. However, for now, Malibu’s loss appears to be Nautique’s gain.

Night show fireworks for Australian water ski nationals return

The TXi is Alive and Well Down Under; Malibu to Support Australian Nationals Through 2030


The TXi is alive and well down under; Malibu locks in support for Australian Nationals until 2030

Malibu Boats signs with Tournament Water Ski Australia until 2030

Malibu will be the exclusive towboat for the Australian Nationals through to 2030 (image: Mulwala Waterski Club)

By Jack Burden

Amidst speculation surrounding the future of Malibu’s Response TXi model following recent company layoffs, Malibu Boats has solidified its dedication to tournament waterskiing in Australia. The company announced a long-term sponsorship agreement with Waterski & Wakeboard Australia (WAWA), ensuring its support for the Australian National Water Ski Championships until at least 2030.

The announcement, made during the Open finals at the 2024 National Championships by Noel Gordon, a representative of Malibu Boats Australia, reaffirmed Malibu’s longstanding commitment to the sport in Australia. Gordon expressed Malibu’s pride in continuing to sponsor the national championships, highlighting the company’s long history of support for tournament waterskiing in the country.

Mark Quinn, President of Water Ski Australia, echoed Gordon’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of Malibu’s sponsorship and its positive impact on the sport over the years. “It’s great to have them back on board for the next five years,” shared Quinn, “hopefully we keep running in this direction for many years to come.” Quinn praised Malibu’s involvement in various initiatives, including the New South Wales Malibu Series and junior development programs, underscoring the value of their continued partnership.

The sponsorship announcement comes amidst rumors surrounding the future of the Response TXi model following recent company layoffs. However, Rob Corum, Malibu’s marketing manager, dispelled these rumors, affirming Malibu’s commitment to producing the world-record ski boat for the foreseeable future.

Corum, now overseeing the promo program in the US following Dennis Kelley’s unexpected termination, is collaborating with AWSA to try to maintain the presence of Malibu boats at tournaments across the country. The stated goal is to continue to use all three manufacturers at AWSA Regional and National Championships this year, although there are areas of the country where this may be challenging.

Despite some uncertainties regarding promo boat availability in the US, Malibu remains a key supporter of tournament skiing in Australia. Malibu’s strong presence in Australia dates back to the early 1990s when it acquired Flightcraft, subsequently establishing a manufacturing facility in Albury, New South Wales, in 1994.

The company retains deep ties to the water ski community in Australia, perhaps exemplified by Gordon, who is himself competing in the Australian Nationals this week and whose wife, Cathryn Gordon (née Humphrey) is a former Moomba Masters champion.

The move to sign a long-term deal to continue to support Australian water skiing is a positive sign, signaling that the TXi is here to stay. Gordon, for his part, is adamant, telling us to “look out for the TXi 25, [we’ve] got some improvements coming!”

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.

A brand new Malibu Response TXi

Malibu Discontinuing Ski Boats? Here’s What We Know So Far


Malibu discontinuing ski boats? Here’s what we know so far

A brand new Malibu Response TXi

The end of an era? (image: Malibu Boats Australia)

By Jack Burden

Rumors have emerged within the waterskiing community regarding the potential discontinuation of Malibu’s Response TXi model. While Malibu has yet to make an official announcement, multiple sources have speculated that the future of the company’s ski boats may be in jeopardy.

The company, which manufactures Malibu, Axis, and Cobalt boat lines, is facing significant financial trouble. Malibu’s stock price plummeted following a sharp decline in revenue, as revealed in their most recent quarterly earnings report. Adding fuel to the fire, Dennis Kelley, the longtime National Promo Team Director of ski program, was let go by the organization.

Kelley, who celebrated 30 years with Malibu in late 2022 and managed their ski program for much of that time, is uncertain about the future of the TXi. While Return to Baseline has reached out to Malibu for comment, no response has been received thus far.

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

Malibu dealers and others close to the organization have not received any news of changes to the program from the company at this stage, leaving us cautiously optimistic that the rumors may be unfounded. However, the plausibility of one of the big three manufacturers ceasing production underscores the tenuous situation of three-event skiing. The limited market leaves us dependent on the legacy goodwill of boat manufacturers, who typically earn much higher margins on their other products.

Malibu’s recent stockholders’ earnings call portrayed a bleak outlook, reflecting broader industry challenges. CEO Jack Springer candidly acknowledged the tough quarter, attributing it to economic uncertainty and soft retail demand. Expressing his frustration, Springer remarked, “It is a tough market to say the least.”

Bruce Beckman, Malibu’s CFO, underscored the severity of the company’s financial predicament, stating, “We anticipate a year-over-year decline in annual net sales ranging from a mid to high 30s percentage point decrease.”

The Tennessee-based boat manufacturer, founded in Merced, California in 1982, quickly rose to prominence for its innovative ski boats. Over the years, the company expanded its offerings to include wake boats, capitalizing on the rise in popularity of wake sports. Today, the company manufactures boats in Tennessee, California, and Australia.

The rumors of discontinuation have sent shockwaves through the waterskiing community, raising concerns about the future of the sport. Athletes like Regina Jaquess and Thomas Degasperi, Malibu’s remaining water ski athletes, face the loss of their primary sponsor. Additionally, the fate of the longstanding Malibu Open tournament hangs in the balance, casting a shadow over the 2024 season.

Moreover, dwindling competition and production in the ski boat market pose significant challenges for water skiers. The rising cost of boats, coupled with a smaller supply, could further inflate prices and limit accessibility to the sport. In recent years, the Response TXi has consistently been the most affordable top-end ski boat on the market, rivaled only by the limited run of Nautique 200s still in production.

While hopes remain that competitors like Nautique and MasterCraft would fill the void left by a potential Malibu exit, uncertainties loom large. Both companies have historically prioritized higher-margin wake boats, leaving waterski enthusiasts anxious about the future.

These are potentially challenging times for the sport of water skiing, and we remain hopeful that the rumors turn out to be untrue, or at the very least, that Malibu’s decision is only a temporary measure and that they are able to reenter the water ski market in the future.

Malibu Boats liable for failing to warn of a hazard posed by its 2000 Malibu Response LX

Jury Awards Family $200 Million, Malibu Boats Found Liable | NBC


Jury Awards $200 Million to Family of Boy Who Died in Boating Accident

Malibu Boats liable for failing to warn of a hazard posed by its 2000 Malibu Response LX

A jury has awarded $200 million to the family of a little boy who died in a boating accident. They found Malibu Boats liable for failing to warn of a hazard posed by its 2000 Malibu Response LX. (Image: IBI)

By Susan Hogan

NBC Washington

A jury has awarded $200 million to the family of a little boy who died in a horrific boating incident.

The Florida family and their lawyers called the verdict a major victory.

A Georgia jury found Malibu Boats liable for failing to warn of a hazard posed by its 2000 Malibu Response LX, a boat that 7-year-old Ryan Batchelder and his family were riding back in the summer of 2014 on a lake in Georgia.

Full article at NBC.