Air Nautique 220

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Air Nautique 220

Rod Holders Not Included

If you are mad about your wakeboarding, 360’s, 540’s, indy’s, tantrums and double back rolls, then there is nothing better than a purpose built boat to do it. Freddy Foote went to Lake Karapiro and tested the new Super Air Nautique 220.

A year ago we tested the Air Nautique SV-211 team Edition, which was a cross-over boat that was equally at home doing a slalom ski run, or with a rider behind doing big air tricks. However on this occasion we are looking at the Super Air Nautique 220, a no-holds-barred wakeboard boat – no bait board, no live bait tank, and definitely no rod holders! Some of the main differences between the two boats is the sheer size, of the 220, it being 350mm longer and 80mm wider than the 211, and when you’re up close to it, you really do notice just how big it is.

Practicality and Style

Comfort and practicality are at the forefront of the Nautique design, with every conceivable space utilised to the utmost, loads of luxurious features added, and who could forget the 12-cup holders! In fact, on looking through the boat I almost had to give up checking out all the storage compartments because there were just so many!

Forward, the bow seating has seats for three. The forward seat in the nose of the bow faces aft, while two other seats allow passengers to either sit and face inwards with the support of padded backrests or face forward. The bow area also incorporates four stainless steel cup holders, and two of the Polk/Momo audio speakers.

One of the stand out features was the versatility of the rear seating arrangement. By pulling out a two-person bench seat, which sits aft, you can rotate and move it around to have one arrangement aft facing and two forward facing, this option is available only on the Super Air Nautique 220.

Staying aft, the large sun pad lifts up on gas struts and has enough space to store boards, tubes, vests, wet gear – anything big and bulky really that you want to get out of the way.

Forward of the passenger seating on the port side, a glove box is mounted into the console, and houses the stereo head-deck which is the main control for the stereo system. An additional control is available at the helm.

Pretty much all of the cockpit seating lifts up and provides tons of cavernous storage space throughout the boat. A deep underfloor locker is located forward of the helm, under the walkthrough to the bow. This locker is deep and long enough to store skis and boards, and is easy to access with the hatch being supported on gas stays.

Clip in carpet is another great feature, allowing you to pull the whole lot out and give it a wash with the hose or vacuum it accordingly.

If you read the test we did on the SV-211 you will remember that it was the first boat of its kind to feature Nautique’s patented Hydra Gate system. What the system does is that it opens and closes a dispersion tunnel around the prop shaft, which effectively changes the hull shape, altering the way that the boat moves through the water and changing the shape of the wake. The 220 now comes standard with the Hydra Gate system, with the small control lever just above the throttle control at the helm.

The system is also available on the Nautique closed bow water-ski boats to provide a clean wake for trick skiing, which enables the boat to be suitable for three-event skiing.

Comfort 24/7

After finishing off our wakeboarding session, it was time for me to have a drive. Having driven only a couple of boats like the Nautique before; I remembered that they are pretty easy and fun to drive. With no trim to worry about, just put the throttle down, listen to that grunty V8 purr and enjoy the ride.

Grunty is probably not even the right word to use to describe the power plant of the 220. Sitting snugly in the aft engine bay is a 6.0L PCM V8, producing 375hp. The PCM engines in the Nautique range from 275Hp through to the top of the line 375hp option. While top speed isn’t a prerequisite for a wakeboard boat, as they are gear and propped for acceleration out of the hole, the 220 managed a healthy 44.5mph @ 5400rpm.

It’s the kind of boat that you would comfortably drive all day long; the seat is a very snug bucket seat with adjustable bolster that could swing so when you’re not driving you can move around to face the passengers. And if you want to wakeboard all year round or early in the morning a heater pumps out warm air around your feet. There are air outlets throughout the cockpit area, and can they be pulled out on a springy tube, so riders can put the hose up their jackets to warm up when they have just come out of the water. Sounds kind of gimmicky I know, but I have talked to numerous wakeboarding enthusiasts and they swear by them, particularly when you’re boarding some of the colder lakes in the South Island.

Now, I’m no wakeboarding expert by any means. I’m lucky if I can stay up crossing the wake, and usually just find myself driving the boat. So for test day, we were lucky to have current rookie of the year wakeboarder Jamie Bourke along to ride behind the boat and show off a few tricks for the camera.

After riding behind the boat for half an hour or so, Jamie described the wake as being nice and rampy and exactly what you want in a wakeboard boat. But in saying that, it doesn’t mean that this is the kind of boat suited for the professional and ace riders out there, as our other rider for the day, young grommet rider Michael Leask demonstrated. With the boat unballasted, it still provided enough wake for Michael to have a good ride and practice some of the smaller tricks. In time, as the rider gets better, you can add more ballast and more ‘ramp’ to the wake, to perfect those aerial manoeuvres.

Running the boat without ballast and not utilising the Hydrogate still provides an awesome wake to ride on, and obviously as the riders get better you can fine tune the wake to their preferences using the three ballast tanks and the Hydrogate.

Getting in and out of the boat looked pretty easy, with the larger padded swim platform ideal for helping the riders get in and out of the water. There is also plenty of storage for boards, either under the floor or under the aft sun pad. But the most preferred and accessible storage option is to utilise the board racks mounted on the wakeboard tower. These racks were even better in the way that you pull a small pin, and the rack itself spins inwards, allowing you to mount your board to the rack, then push it back out and re-insert the pin, avoiding the hassle of trying to reach around and mount the board from the outside.

For any wakeboard boat, you need a wakeboard tower to provide extra elevation to pull off the big tricks, and the 220 is no different. It comes from the factory equipped with the tower, board racks, ballast system, Perfect Pass system and stereo system. Pretty much, to sum it up, the boat comes fully loaded with everything you could possibly want.

This particular boat is the new boat for the Ballistics wakeboard camp, and with the large seating capacity it’s perfect for taking out large groups, coaching and running their camp.

I was also quite surprised at the price – pretty good – if you add up everything that you get, this particular boat was $115,000 as tested, with packages starting from $92,000.

So if wakeboarding is your thing, and you hate fishing, the Super Air Nautique 220 is pretty much perfect.

Specifications

  • Model: Super Air Nautique 220
  • Price as Tested: $115,000         
  • Designer: Correct Craft
  • Material:  GRP
  • Type: Wakeboard Boat
  • LOA: 7.39m
  • Beam:  2.44m
  • Hull Configuration: Variable deadrise mono
  • Engine Capacity: 275-375hp
  • Power Options: Inboard V-Drive
  • Fuel Capacity: 189 litres

Engine

  • Make: PCM
  • Model: ZR6
  • Horsepower: 375hp
  • Cyl. Config. :V8
  • Max RPM: 5400

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