Tige Boats is a brand of boats focusing on wake sports.
Their boats are made for wakeboarding and wake surfing, as well as water skiing.
Before we dive in, however, make sure to check our list of the most common problems with Tige boats.
If you are looking at getting a wake boat, you have probably heard of Tige. Here’s what you should know!
Here’s How Good Tige Boats are:
Tige is considered to be an upper-tier brand specializing exclusively in wake sports. Their construction quality is among the highest and most time-consuming in the industry, accomplished through their patented hull design and trim tab system.
A Brief History of Tige Boats
Charlie Pigeon started his own company, Tige Boats, in California in 1991. His first boat was being produced in 1992, the 2000 SLM, and he and his father took it to various dealers to showcase his design and performance.
The boat combined performance with comfort and functionality for the whole family and was named “Rookie of the Year” by Waterski Magazine. The orders began rolling in quickly, and Pigeon had to expand. In 1994, he moved the company to Abilene, Texas, and set up shop in an old bakery.
Tige Boats continued to grow exponentially, and in 2006 the company broke ground on a new 130,000 square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. By this time, they were employing 225 people.
The company has continued to grow and innovate, even as other companies have come and gone in the often volatile marine industry. Pigeon’s first patent was for the TAPS system (Tige Adjustable Performance System) for making wakes, and he currently holds two more patents (Convex V Hull and Convex VS).
In 2019, they opened up a subsidiary company, ATX Surf Boats. These boats are all designed and built by the same people and in the same facility.
With the addition of the ATX brand, the company added another 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space, and they currently have 400 employees.
The Tige Wakeboat:
The purpose of a wake boat is to generate waves large enough and of the proper shape for wakeboarding or wake surfing, and to a lesser degree nowadays, water skiing.
Tige uses their TAPS system and their Convex V Hull design to create and shape their waves, in addition to the ballast. Ballast is important as the deeper the hull, the more water displaced and may be shaped.
The Tige Adjustable Performance System is in its third generation. It consists of trim tabs capable of up to 3 tons of pressure and adjustable to the millimeter.
The Convex V Hull is a patented design that shapes the water going to the stern using the Coanda Effect, causing fluid to adhere to a convex surface.
So the water displaced and shaped by the hull is adjusted by the TAPS system to give the ultimate versatility in wave creation.
This is more than just marketing hype; owners and industry professionals have seen this as it has developed over thirty years.
Online testimonials to the wave quality are easy to find. A typical comment, from 2004, before the latest innovations:
“For what it’s worth, with 4-6 decent size guys and a 540lb sack in the front, the wake is about to my lower thigh. It’s not only the size that makes the wake sweet- it’s the shape. My 22v has a REALLY curly wake that throws you up like a kicker. As far as width, (it) is pretty wide like the 03 and later Xstar- but a lot curlier.”
How Durable are Tige Boats?
Since their introduction, Tige has received positive reviews for its durability from owners and industry observers alike.
It is not an exaggeration to say they set a new standard for performance and comfort in wake boats.
A primary reason for the quality of a Tige boat is that each one has a dedicated Quality Control Auditor following it throughout the construction process. So every boat has an experienced overseer verifying every step of construction is done right.
The laminating process is laborious and uses premium fiberglass. It produces a boat that is a little heavier than many brands, but this is not a drawback as it adds to the ballast in creating the wave. The fiberglass of the hull is thicker than most comparable brands. Tige says that it is not overbuilding; it is properly building.
Tige Construction Materials & Reviews:
For most of its existence, Tige used XL plywood in the construction process, such as the stringers.
Though encapsulated in fiberglass and backed by a guarantee of replacement, it was still controversial. Sometime in the early 2010s, it seems that Tige eliminated the use of all wood in their manufacturing process.
Some owners were dissatisfied with the durability of the upholstery on Tige boats. Some had to replace it within ten years. Most of those with this complaint seemed to be from more southerly latitudes, where the UV is stronger.
There have been fewer of these complaints from about 2006 moving forward, so it seems that Tige may have upgraded the material they use in the upholstery.
Up until the late 2000s, the wiring on Tige boats was not known to be particularly good. Many brands have a reputation for messy wiring, so this was not unusual. However, from the early 2010s forward, most owners said that the company got a lot cleaner in their wiring layouts and were better at labeling.
Beginning in 2017, Tige began switching its electronics to a different manufacturer. They had been using Medallion, and currently, they use Murphy. This has been widely regarded as a quality upgrade in electronics, improving not just the reliability but also the touch screen functionality.
In examining these aspects of Tige’s durability, we have highlighted where concerns and problems have arisen, but it is important to note that these problems were not universal. The majority of Tige owners seem to love their boats, and the company responded to scattered complaints and possible problems before they developed into major issues.
There are several testimonials, but a typical one from 2016 ran:
“I bought a 2012 Z3 and couldn’t be happier. I came from a 2009 Supra 24SSV Worlds. The surf wave on the Tige Z3 is phenomenal (upgraded ballast). The interior on the Tige seems more closed in compared to the Supra but I love how deep you sit in the boat! The fit and finish is second to none. The boat also feels solid in the water (no rattles, etc.). Tige has a great following and very few unsatisfied owners.”
[Source: Wake World]
How Long do Tige Boats typically Last?
There are Tige Boats from their earliest years still on the water.
While the company has continually innovated and improved on their models over their existence, 1992 models of the 2000 SLM can still be seen on the water in recent videos online and sometimes be found for sale.
There is no evidence that we found that Tige Boats are susceptible to any rot, either in the hull or the deck. Only one complaint of a soft deck was found in an online search.
Based on this, it is safe to say that the hulls are among the most durable in the industry.
The engines are a slightly different story, as they are for all manufacturers. Engines need to be maintained, and after a certain point, they need to be rebuilt.
For Tige Boats, it seems that most will last for 1,500 to 2,000 hours of use before needing to be rebuilt.
Has Tige made any Recalls?
According to the United States Coast Guard database on recalls, there has been a single recall issued by Tige over their 30-year existence.
It only affected a single boat in the 2013 R20 Z1 line. Not the whole model line, just a single boat. There was an issue with the electrical system. The case was closed in 2016.
The subsidiary brand, ATX Wake Boats, has had no recalls.
What Are the Most Popular Tige Boats?
The very first model of Tige, the 2000 SLM, caused tremendous waves when it was introduced nationally in 1992.
Pigeon took it to many dealers to showcase on his way to a Waterski Magazine boat test in Florida. That test was successful and caught the interest of everyone in the comparatively new wake sports industry.
The 2000 SLM set many of the standards that would be the basis of Tige for the next 30 years: remarkable performance combined with comfort and functionality.
The Z1 was an early successful model for the company, combining all of their features into a small, 21-foot package. It was eventually replaced in the lineup by the larger Z3, but the Z1 has been brought back, slightly redesigned with the company’s recent innovations, due to popular demand.
The Z3 has been a very dominant model at competitions all over the United States. It is a longer boat at 23.5 feet and often serves as an observer boat at these events because of its high passenger capacity.
However, the Z3 is primarily known for its performance, being the first model to incorporate the 2nd generation of the TAPS system.
The Z3 had been retired for a few years, but popular demand has brought it back in an upgraded fashion.
The 20RZX is among their most popular current models. It is their smallest model at 20 feet, but it is one of the widest 20-footers on the market and features all of their luxury upgrades to match the company’s performance, featuring the third generation of the TAPS system and their convex V hull.
Where Are Tige Boats Manufactured?
Since 1994, Tige Boats have been made in Abilene, Texas.
They originally set up shop in an old bakery, but their constantly growing business led them to a larger location a few years later.
Their growth forced them to relocate again, and in 2006 they broke ground on their current manufacturing facility. Originally a 130,000 square foot facility, expansion has pushed it to nearly 200,000 square feet.
The company currently employs over 400 people. Charlie Pigeon is still the owner and CEO of Tige and the in-house subsidiary ATX Wake Boats.
How Is the Warranty On Tige Boats?
Tige touts their Tige5 warranty as being the most transparent, most comprehensive in the industry.
On the hull, this is a lifetime replacement warranty. If the hull has any structural failure, it will be replaced. In pointing this out, Tige says they have never had to replace one of their hulls in 30 years.
The Engine and the electronics – including the stereo – are covered by 5-year warranties. This does seem to be very generous compared to other manufacturers’ warranties on parts they do not manufacture.
The warranty will transfer in full to a second owner.
Which Brands Produce Boats Similar to Tige Boats?
Wake sports have generated a lot of manufacturers that specialize partly or exclusively in them.
While it is fair to say that they compete, some brands target the lower end. Tige’s primary competition is at the higher end of the market.
When looking at Tige comparisons online, five brands are most frequently brought up:
Nautique, Malibu, and Mastercraft are generally priced higher than Tige for comparable size and features. Supra and Moomba are generally a little cheaper.
These brands have their supporters with differences in ride or performance of layout that cause an owner or observer to favor one over another. Other popular brands such as Axis and Centurion have loyal followings, but Tige is generally considered superior.
Tige Boats took the wake sports world by storm when Charlie Pigeon created the company.
They set a high bar, and they have continually challenged themselves to produce better boats, as seen in the evolution of the three generations of the TAPS system.
While Tige does not have the market penetration that some top-tier brands have, it respects the marine industry with a host of awards in customer service, quality, and innovation to back the company up.
If you want to buy a top-tier wake boat, you must give a Tige boat a trial.