Nautique is renowned for the high quality and craftsmanship of the boats they make, and for their great performance for wakeboarding and wakesurfing.
People looking for a first surf boat commonly test drive Mastercraft, Malibu, and Nautique models. Nautique often comes out a winner with the most consistent wave and best build quality.
Many Nautique owners have been faithful to the brand for decades. They also appreciate the brand’s customer service.
If you’re in the market for a Nautique, you may be wondering which model to choose.
Boat owners are evenly split between the G23 and the Super Air 230 as being Nautique’s best surf boat. Some riders prefer the G23’s steeper wave, while others love the 230’s longer one. Overall, though, the waves of these two boats are considered equally good.
Some riders prefer a big steep wave while others prefer a longer one. No single boat can have it all.
Another important aspect is how much tweaking you like to do to dial in your ideal wave. The G23 tends to produce the best wave out of the box. That’s why the G23 is sometimes considered the undisputed winner, closely followed by the 230 (more affordable).
Nautique vs Malibu – which to choose?
Nautique vs Mastercraft: which to choose?
Super Air Nautique G23
The SAN G23 is often considered the world’s #1 wakeboard boat. It’s very common for G23 owners to rave about their boat’s fit and finish and extremely well designed features and ergonomics.
The G23 is a great boat with many options and lots of storage. It’s robust and produces quite a steep wave which makes it a lot easier for non-expert wakesurfers to stay in the pocket.
In comparison with other surf boats, the G23 produces a surf wave with greater length, height, and push. It also lets the rider rider farther back than other boats while still getting great push from the face of the wave, all with stock settings.
The great thing about the G23 is that it gives you the best surf wave in the industry right out of the box, e.g. with stock settings, stock ballast, and just the driver and a single passenger.
Adding weight to this boat can lead to an astonishingly big wave. Adding a few more passengers including a couple in the bow lengthens the wave without affecting reducing its height much.
Simply put, for many the G23 out of the box offers the best surf wave in the industry and is worth its steeper price tag. A 4-year old G23 can often be found for a fair price under $100K.
The newer (2020 – 2021) G23 models add even more length to the surf wave without losing steepness.
The wave on the newer G23s can also be very easily adjusted based on rider’s needs, e.g. toned down for beginners or skimboarders or cranked up to the standard steep shape.
The 2021 G23 Paragon, with wave setting at 10 and boat speed at 12-12.3 mph, gives an awesome wave with more size, length, and push than any earlier generation G boats. The controls on the G23 Paragon are super easy and intuitive to use.
Nautique boat owners often agree the 2021 G23 Paragon’s wave offers more than twice the push of its 2019 predecessor’s wave – although the latter was already the best wave on the market back then.
The more affordable G23 Super Air Nautique also creates either an amazing steep and sharp surf wave with a nice curl, or a long and mellow wave. Like its predecessors, the wave has phenomenal push even with the pocket sitting way back behind the boat.
Super Air Nautique 230
The Super Air Nautique 230 is not as full featured as the G23, with less bells and whistles, but is still a very nice boat. It’s definitely more affordable and fuel efficient, which makes it very popular – and hence harder to find on the used market.
A 9-year old SAN 230, for example, can sometimes be found for around $40K. An auto ballast system can be added for $2000.
Some boat owners feel it actually handles even better than the G23 as it’s lighter weight even though the 230 still has a nice amount of hidden ballast.
Although the 230 doesn’t have the G23’s sophisticated computer system, its excellent surf wave is often considered on par with the G22 – some even like it better because it is easier to make it longer at lower speeds.
But while the 230’s wave is much longer, it’s smaller than the G23 with the stock setup. You need to add a lot of weight to the boat to match the size of the G23 wave. Adding 750 sacs in the rear and some extra lead in the bow will result in a great wave.
Boaters often feel the SAN 230 with the right setup can match the G23 for surfing. Older versions (e.g. 2007) that don’t come with a surf system can easily be retrofitted with one, making it even closer to the G23.
Some smaller riders also love the smooth and mellow wave of the stock 230. Likewise, some boat owners prefer the experience of a Nautique boat without digital systems. Boats equipped with the Nautique Surf System (2013+) are generally higher priced as well.
Many SAN 230 owners feel their boat offers the best value compared to a G series due to the quality surf wave (especially with extra weight) and the much lower price. Many feel the G23 isn’t worth the extra price. They also prefer the looks of the 230.
Others, however, feel the SAN 230 doesn’t get close to the quality of the G23’s stock surf wave even when loaded with 1000lbs of extra ballast and many passengers. For them, the G23 (or G21) is a much better choice if you can afford it.
Super Air Nautique 210
A key difference between the Nautique 230, 220 and 210 is size – 23, 22, and 21 feet respectively. While all of them are good for surfing, a 210 may fit 10 people vs 14 for the 230.
The SAN 210 (e.g. the 2001-2006 models) is well-known for its steep wakeboard wake, which can be excellent when combined with the right wave shaper. The Nautique Super Sport (1995-2006), Super Air, and 210 all have the same hull.
Nevertheless, the 210 being a smaller boat, the wave is generally not as solid as its bigger brothers. On the other hand, most owners agree it’s an excellent wakeboard boat.
For example, pre-2000 Super Sport Nautique weighted with 750lbs in the rear, as much on the surf side, and 350lbs in the locker will produce a nice short steep pocket that is nice to ride but not great for tricks.
Most 210 SAN owners find their boat very reliable and often report zero issues even after 200 hours of use.
A good 210 equipped with the Nautique Surf System (NSS) and pro ballast can often be found for under $65K, significantly more affordable than a similar year 230.
Older 210 models without surf system can also typically be found on the market for under $40K. Then can then be retrofitted with the NSS for the best surf wave.
Super Air Nautique 220
The 220 has a higher budget but is generally considered a much better surf boat than the 210. It has a deeper V than other Nautique models, resulting in a very good surf wave.
The surf wave on the 220 can be easily improved with added ballast, e.g a bow bag and 750s in the rear lockers, a sac in the front locker, and 500lbs under the rear seats.
It’s worth noting though that the 220’s wave is quite sensitive to side-to-side weighting.
Some riders actually like the 220 surf wave better than the 230’s since they find it steeper and faster, easier for tricks.
Whether you get a right-hand or left-hand rotation drive will also affect how good the wave will be for goofy vs regular surfing.
Many owners really like their 220 Nautique. Older versions can be found under $40K on the market.
Nautique GS22 (multi-sports)
The Nautique GS22 is a very good all-around boat for families as it can easily fit 8 to 10 people along with a few dogs.
It’s a very versatile boat and performs quite well for slalom ski, wakeboarding, or wakesurfing. The GS22 lets you easily switch between the three through very effective wake adjustment features.
The engine is powerful enough to pull a surfer out of the water even with many passengers on board. The surf wave is decent.
In short, the GS22 is a good do-it-all option, a versatile family boat for doing multiple watersports.
Featured: Super Air Nautique G23 Paragon – Courtesy of Nautique