coansha, welcome aboard.
Have you tried adjusting the outdrive trim to see if better time to plane can be achieved. Once on plane trim drive in to get the bow down. If you don't already have them either trim tabs or smart tabs will help here.
For cruising I would think either a 14 1/2 X 17 or 14 1/2 X 19 three blade prop would work. Regarding water sports I am sure others will help here.
1997 2400 SCR
5.7 Vortec / Bravo 2