By Capt. Rob SmithThe Tigé RZ4 is both newest and the flagship of the Tigé line at 24’. It is the logical evolution from the highly popular RZ2 which was introduced a couple of years before. “RZ” stands for razor’s edge, a design that many Italian sports cars emulate. The “4” stands for 24’, just as the “2” stands for 22’ on the RZ2 model.The RZ4 model is new but the hull shape is not. It is the same patented ConvexV hull that is on the RZ2 and Tigé 22Ve, that was first launched in 2006 and which has proved to be immensely popular with sales growing as the word has spread.There are several reasons for this popularity, but primary among them is the fact that you don’t have to add ballast to get terrific wake from the RZ4. The reason for that is the ConvexV hull which is different than all other ski boats. It is deeper in the middle of the boat than at the ends and does not have any “hook” in the bottom. To help understand the concept, think of a rocking chair and how easy it is to move the ends of the bowed “rockers” down to the floor and up again as the seat moves fore and aft. Likewise, the ConvexV has put “rocker” in the bottom of the boat. Now the transom can be rocked up and down with the exertion of a little force in the right place.
The Wake Beater
Take a look at the drawing shown here of the stern quarter of the Tige RZ4. As you will see, the bottom rises slightly as it goes aft to meet the transom. That is the aft end of the patented ConvexV. That is what is so new and revolutionary for ski/wakeboats. Conventional ski/wake board boat hulls are, for the most part, simply skiboat hulls that have been used more or less unchanged in any significant way for decades below the waterline. Most have what is known as “hook” in the bottom just forward of the transom. Many boats traditionally had “hook” to help raise the stern and keep the boat from squatting.Boat builders using wedges and other devices can’t get rid of the “hook” because it is molded right into the fiberglass bottom. So the hook is raising the bottom while the devices are trying to lower it to create wake. This is one reason why most ski boats have to have ballast tanks to create any decent size wake.Now, in the picture above note what appears to be a trim tab coming off the bottom of the boat at the transom. That is the TAPS2 plate and it is on the centerline. This is device is also patented. Together with the ConvexV hull the two innovations work together to allow the helmsman to control the size and the shape of the wake created by the RZ4.
Icing on the Wake
Finding a boat that is both good at producing first class wake for boarding, and a flat wake for water skiing is not easy. When I tested the RZ4 I discovered that in a few seconds you can go from large wake board wake-making, to relatively flat water so a slalom skier could carve a fine edge. No pumping, no worries.For example, when you use the Tigé patented TAPS2 system and set it on the “3” setting, it makes what everyone agrees is a nice, meaty wake. When the setting is turned to “5” it makes at sharp, or “peaky” wake that many hotshots like to shoot up to get huge air. Others like to follow the wake’s curl to see how long they can stay with it.In fact the boat can make pretty good wake for the beginner and moderate wake boarder without any additional ballast at all, which of course means the boat will be more nimble, and easier to handle. Because the boat is heavier and has the ConvexV hull shape combined with the TAPS2 system, the RZ4 simply needs less ballast than many of its competitors which are using hulls designed before the advent of wakeboarding.Tellingly, the folks at Tigé say that they urge new customers to try the other brands before coming to test drive a Tigé so that they will know the difference. We think that speaks volumes.
A Piece of Wake
When I set the TAPS2 in the down position “1” for instant planing, optimum forward visibility and clean, it makes faint slalom wakes. Move the knob to “3” and get good-size, meaty wakes. On to “5” for the spiky wakes that the air heads love. I found that having the rider out about 70’ and going from 20 to 24 knots was the sweet spot. But finding your own particular sweet spot is part of the fun of the sport. And with TAPS2 you can precisely create a large variety of wakes.
Pickle the Bow
The boat has a rated capacity for 17 on board. Without the need for ballast tankage (as some brands need), the bow seats actually have room to stow all the gear you may want to bring along for swimwear, toys and snacks. The “pickle fork” design makes the bow area seem even more massive than her 30 square feet of space. Often times, a good indicator of how many are expected in an area by a builder are the number of drink holders and there are 4 stainless drink holders in the bow of the RZ4.Some people don’t like the “pickle fork” look, but once they sit in the bow they will love it. It’s different but not new. We first saw it over 40 years ago on Lake Como in Italy. In the beginning it was used on race boats, but now sportboat designers all over the world are evolving the concept. By getting rid of the pointy bow, one can create more room in the boat, more usable boat for your money, it is dryer and with time everyone will get used to it as six or eight builders have adopted the concept in sport boats and ski boats alone.
Tower of Power
Every RZ4 is built with a tower in mind. Tigé has reinforced the deck for some of the best, including this Tower of Power upgrade with Clarion Marine stereo, six speaker system with amplifiers, 6 speakers, Wet Sounds XS 10” sub woofer and Pro 60 150watt coaxial tower speakers. The optional collapsible tower has swivel racks for the boards and optional tower lights. The aluminum is 6463 T6 grade aluminum which means you will have this tower in great shape for many years to come.
Cockpit and Helm
The helm is very well laid out using Medallion can-bus digital instrumentation. Tigé has a clear understanding of the need to have the controls within easy reach of the driver’s hands. I found it simple to keep my left hand on the wheel while working with the throttle, setting the speed and using the TAPs 2 system with my right. All the seating was comfortable and the Vision Air driver’s seat should help keep you cool on the hot summer days.The lounge seating wraps from the port side dash around to just behind the helm seat, meaning everyone has a good view of your tricks when your turn on the boards arrive. Cockpit space measures 71 square feet with 10 drink holders for your chilly beverages. Docking cleats and fender holders are easy to use so you aren’t fumbling around when you come into the marina to freshen up or take on another tank of fuel.Talk about storage, with 64 cubic feet of storage, I was able to slide into the aft compartment and stretch out my full 6 feet along the port side. The storage is continuous from the aft to the bow! Another feature I have seen on other Tigé boats is the cool corner cushion that flips over to form a step off the transom activity center rather than stepping on the cushions. In the center just behind the aft seat back is a ski pylon for that extra height you want for skiing without using an optional tower.
At anchor, two adults can stretch out and relax in the sun on the sunpad. There are three hatches in this section for excellent access to storage and extended access to the multiple power plants offered. Even if you are a super pro and add ballast systems to this rig (up to 900 lbs.), they don’t eat up all the storage leaving you with no room for snacks and gear. The transom activity center offers a comfortable spot to slip on the boards or just frolic in the water with room to sit and enjoy the tunes. An oversized swim platform gives you space to prepare for your run.
The Measure of It All
The Tigé RZ4 measures 24 feet length overall with a beam width of 102”. She seats 17 with a load capacity of 2715 lbs people and gear. Weighing 4485 lbs dry, she has a 26” draft. This model carries up to 48 gallons of fuel. She can hold 900 lbs. of ballast, but you may not need it to do what you want.
If you are really into the fine art of water sports, including wakeboarding, competition ski or another of the popular sports that requires precision waves or handling, the RZ4 has the guts to deliver with the heart to prove it. She can take everyone out for those days you are just enjoying the fun of the sport, yet produce the eye-popping action on the days you are competing in the local wars.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Tigé RZ4 (2009-) is 46.8 mph (75.3 kph), burning 34.3 gallons per hour (gph) or 129.83 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Tigé RZ4 (2009-) is 25.0 mph (40.2 kph), and the boat gets 3.37 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.43 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 146 miles (234.96 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 409-hp PCM 6L ZR409.
Standard and Optional Features