Super Air Nautique GS20 Review

The Super Air Nautique GS20 provides everything you need, in a tight little package.


This article originally appeared on boats.com. Reprinted by permission.


The emphasis in the world of watersports lately has been focused on wakesurfing, and for good reason. It’s not difficult to learn, and the potential for injury is diminished. Wakesurfing is revolutionizing watersports the same way wakeboarding did 20 years ago and it’s bringing new participants to the sport, so boat builders have been gearing their products toward it. In reality, though, there are still segments of the market that want to do more than just surf. They want to wakeboard, pull tubes and, yes, water ski—maybe even barefoot, which is something for which you need much tamer wakes. That’s the reality the new Super Air Nautique GS20 is geared for.

Wakesurfing is the current king of watersports, but many tow boat owners want more watersports options—and that’s what the 2017 Super Air Nautique GS20 delivers.

Wakesurfing is the current king of watersports, but many tow boat owners want more watersports options—and that’s what the 2017 Super Air Nautique GS20 delivers.

What makes it tick for all those disparate disciplines? For starters, it has a much smaller footprint in the water compared with a contemporary wakesurfing boat. At just 20 feet long and 8’4” abeam, it’s more the size of a ski boat than a wakeboard boat. But it doesn’t feel cramped, thanks to a smart use of space.

Stowage compartments to either side of the V-drive engine package are cavernous for a boat this size, and the right and left sunpads are hinged at the gunwales so you can access the compartments from the cockpit or the swim platform. The swim platform itself is an appropriate size, and it also features a jump seat to either side, which provide a place to gear up or hang out while the kids are swimming behind the boat.

The walk-through to the platform is covered with SeaDek foam padding and it also features a pop-up tow pylon to satisfy the skiers in your crew.

The cockpit itself is pretty straightforward, with a G-shaped lounge that wraps from behind the driver’s seat to an observer’s lounge wide enough for two to sit close. It’s in managing the gear that the GS20 shows a lot of forethought. For example, the tower is located behind the driver and nearly at the back of the cockpit. That means the ropes clear all passengers when there’s a rider in tow. It also keeps the driver’s peripheral vision clear of any obstructions. The tower features articulating board racks designed for wakeboards and surfboards, and has a tow point with a GoPro camera mount that swivels with the rope to always remain focused on the action. The optional Bimini top is fitted with low-profile stowage pockets for two surfboards to either side. What’s more, the GS20 tower folds lower than windshield height for maneuvering under bridges on lake chains, or storing the boat in a garage.

There isn’t much deck space to speak of in the GS20—you don’t get that on a 20-footer—but there’s enough room to maneuver riders in and out of the water and manage their gear.

There isn’t much deck space to speak of in the GS20—you don’t get that on a 20-footer—but there’s enough room to maneuver riders in and out of the water and manage their gear.

In terms of power, the GS20 offers a lot. The standard engine is a 400 HP port-fuel-injected Pleasurecraft Marine V8, which is included in the approximate base pricing of just under $100,000. You can opt for the H5, which is a 355 HP 5.3-liter V8 with direct injection (which translates into better fuel economy). There’s also the H6, which displaces 6.2 liters, creates 450 HP and also is direct-injected.

All that power falls to the hands of the driver, who gets treated to a nifty helm that comes fitted with a well-bolstered swiveling bucket seat. Of course, key to the helm is the 12.4-inch LINC touch screen, which Nautique says is the largest in the industry. The touch-screen displays and controls all systems, with some controls also coming via the control knob forward of the right side armrest.

The preferences that can be adjusted include settings for up to 1,850 pounds of ballast, and positioning the Nautique Surf System and wake-tuning plate mounted at the center of the transom. Nautique calls it the Nautique Configurable Running Surface, which can be used for faster planning, faster turning, and different wake tuning. It also can deliver a flatter running attitude at slower skiing speeds.

In addition to the driver’s ability to tune wakes, the Nautique Surf Select system offers a remote control that lets a rider switch the surf wake to the other side at the touch of a button. You also can turn things up to 11 if you have a Pebble smart watch and download Nautique Surf Select app—then the rider can control boat speed, the Nautique Surf System and the trim plate, stereo volume and track, and ballast shift. The rider may need to look at his or her wrist more than the water at times, but that’s a huge amount of control in the riders’ hands.

Of course, none of that matters if you’re pulling tubes or a slalom skier, but that’s also the point. With the new Super Air Nautique GS20, you can satisfy everyone from the wakesurfer to the skier—with one boat.

Other Choices: Interested watersports fans will also want to see the Tige R20. The Centurion Ri217 will also be of interest, if you want a watersports boat just a hair larger.

 

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