By Jeff Hemmel
Tigé RZ Series: Video Boat Review
The RZ4 and RZ2 offer a customizable wake for towing fun. Reviewer Jeff Hemmel offers a detailed look inside one model in this towboat series.
Read Jeff’s detailed Tigé RZ Series Boat Test Notes
Video Boat Review Transcript
Most boat tests focus on what happens within the confines of a boat’s hull and deck. How fast it moves through the water, how comfortable it is for the crew, how well it turns. On a watersports oriented boat like this Tigé RZ4, and the 22 foot Tigé RZ2, however, an equal measure of this boat’s success is defined not by what happens in here, but back there. In that playground, it’s the size and the shape of the wake that can truly make or break this boat on the water.
Now Erik, an average wakeboarder like me likes a tamer wake, a guy like you likes a really big monster wake. Tigé can satisfy both of us with the TAPS system. Can you explain that to me?
Erik Ruck, Tigé Pro Wakeboarder: Well the Tigé TAPS is a wakeplate on the back of the boat, and along with the convex V hull, which is shaped like a wakeboard rocker, it allows you to shape the pitch and the shape of the wake all the way from pro level riding to beginner. TAPS makes it more peaky, and then you can also make it more mellow. And then you have the ballast system which actually controls the size of the wake. So you can change the size and the shape and the pitch. So you literally can customize your own wake.
The TAPS system also gives this boat the ability to trim, moving the bow up or down to match conditions, much like I would on a stern drive. Ballast options also allow me to load up one side for wake surfing.
With a 6L, 409 HP Pleasurecraft Marine engine under the sunpad, the RZ4 leaped on a plane with almost no bowrise. I recorded a top speed of 43.4 mph, and a best fuel economy of 3.2 mpg at 25mph.
The RZ series isn’t just about performance. Tigé’s also put a lot of thought into both form and function. By using a pickle fork design, Tigé’s able to bring the hull sides far forward, squaring off this bow cockpit, giving you a lot of space up front. Combined with spacious seating in the aft cockpit, the RZ4 can seat up to 17 people, the RZ2 up to 15. Boats like this attract a crowd, so that’s more room for the party.
As a wakeboarder and as a driver, this boat gives me just about everything I need. Earlier I pulled pro wakeboarder Erik Ruck. His biggest pulls, this thing didn’t flex a bit. I also like the stern, where I’ve got a recessed seat to gear up, two wet storage lockers to each side, and the transom angles inward, so it doesn’t interfere when you’re trying to get on your boots or bindings.
At the helm I found I had good access to all the boat’s vital controls. The switch that controls the TAPS system is right here on the throttle lever. The touch screen display gives me access to all the vital functions of the boat and diagnostics. I can also pull up the ballast system. Loading the boat so it’s heavier fore or aft, or even loading it to one side which is ideal for wakesurfing.
Serious watersports boats like the RZ series aren’t cheap. In fact, they’re easily some of the priciest boats in this size range. But with their long list of features, powerful engines, and impressive fit and finish, the serious watersports family will likely find them well worth the investment. Just don’t tell my kids I said that—I’ve still got some braces to pay for!
- Jeff Hemmel writes for boats.com, Boating, PersonalWatercraft.com, and Powersports Business. The former Senior Editor at Watercraft World, Jeff is a multi-time award winner as well as a 2008 inductee into the IJSBA Hall of Fame. His first book, "The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon...and 101 Other Things For Young Mariners To Try, Do, & Build On the Water," received a bronze medal in the 2010 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards. For more info, visit Jeff Hemmel's website.