The Nautique Strapless board racks made their debut in 2017. Designed to make it really simple to stow all of your boards up and out of the way, these racks cradle your wakeboards or surfers rather than compression to keep them secure and in place. Let Nautique team rider Shawn Watson tell you exactly why these are the best board racks on the market.
Sometimes the most important piece of the production is the one that’s hiding behind the curtain. Such is the case when it comes to marine engines. This year though, GM Marine Engine Technology will be front-and-center as the presenting sponsor of the 58th Masters Water Ski and Wakeboard Tournament to showcase their revolutionary innovation. As the exclusive engine in all Nautique models for 2017 Masters, the direct injection PCM engines with GM Marine Engine Technology will be the workhorses that pull the world’s best athletes on the water in every discipline. With a strong presence on shore as well, the GM team will be there all weekend long to give consumers a hands-on experience and understanding of what goes into each engine. Whatever information you may need, the GM Marine Engine Technology team will be on hand and happy to provide insight into their cutting-edge product line.
“The partnership with GM Marine Engine Technology and the Masters truly highlights the synergy that they have within our industry,” said Nautique President Greg Meloon. “Not only have they shown their unwavering support in terms of product innovation, but they’re also supporting the worlds elite event and we couldn’t be happier to have GM involved.”
Down in Australia they are enjoying summer right now to the fullest degree. Long, hot days with of plenty of time on the water and plenty of Nautiques. One of our largest partners down there are the good folks over at Nautique Central, a multi-location dealer set up on the Gold Coast and in Penrith as well. Each and every year, they push the level of participation and increase the awareness of towed watersports to so many fresh faces in Australia. As the main players for their area and with a team who really encompasses the Nautique lifestyle, we caught up with them to find out about their Aussie summer, what they have going on and to learn more about their presence and philosophies as a Nautique dealer.
What’s new guys? How’s summer been in Australia so far?
We’re half way through our summer season in Australia. People ride all year round here but the most popular time to ride would be from September to April. We’ve been busy introducing a number of new people to the brand, and the interest in particular for the new models - the GS20/22 - have been unprecedented.
You have a big event coming up with your annual Nautique Owners Reunions, when and where are those?
Each year we hold an Owners Reunion for both states that we look after. The first reunion is on March 18-19 at Grafton on the Clarence River. The 2nd reunion will be on 25th & 26th March at Wisemans Ferry on the Hawkesbury River. These weekends give owners the opportunity to meet other owners, discover new waterways that they might not normally visit, look at and experience other boat models that they might not have the opportunity to, meet and interact with athletes and just generally have a good time. We organise activities on and off the water and have a themed dinner on the Saturday night that we encourage our owners to participate in. We also give each of our registered owners a Nautique Central merchandise pack as a thank you for attending.
How long have you been doing the reunions?
The reunions started back in 2008 before Nautique Central even existed. A dedicated group of Nautique owners decided to organise a social weekend for Owners and ran a Queensland owner’s reunion for several years based on the Tweed river. The idea behind them was to get people with similar interests – owners - together to socialise and get to know other owners. When NC started, we decided to take over the reunions as a company sponsored event and have developed the concept into the current format - 2 reunions each year since 2014. We still have some familiar faces from our very first reunions but numbers are growing each year.
How many boats do you typically get?
At each reunion, we will have upwards of 30 boats. Each year our NC family grows.
Tell us a little about Nautique Central and your backstory.
Nautique Central opened its doors in October 2010 with a branch on the Gold Coast in QLD We have a simple philosophy – to provide the water sports community with access to the best sport specific boats on the market and the backup service that Nautique Owners should expect. Our second branch opened in Penrith in NSW in September 2011. We are passionate about providing an service and sales experience that is second to none.
What are some of your philosophies about creating a watersports culture and staying active in your community?
• We support the local state run wakeboard competitions by towing rounds for each state each season.
• We sponsor several young wakeboarders that have Nautique boats in their family
• When we sell a boat we make sure to do a full on and off water handover whether they’re new to the sport or already water enthusiasts. We make sure they use their boats responsibly and appropriately on the waterways. And always encourage involvement of their whole crew in the boat hand over.
• Whenever we visit local waterways we always make sure to interact with our other boats we see on the water – no matter the brand - and assist them with using their boats in ways they might not have experienced yet and also taking them onto our demo boats to show them features they might not have on their boat.
• We give back to our community by being involved with a local charity called DreamTrack which help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to face life’s challenges with a positive attitude and instil a confidence within them to believe they can achieve their dreams and ambitions. We use our boats to take the kids out to experience something they wouldn’t normally do or get the opportunity to do.
How has Nautique Central grown the local scene?
We feel our customers are our best ambassadors. If we give good service and products, they become our best tool for expanding the watersports scene. We feel our owners reunions also are a tool to not only promote our business and the brand but also to instil a sense of family and group ownership to our customers.
What kinds of things do you focus on in in terms of your business and customers?
We focus on providing a top level of service and support and also quality and performance both on and off the water. Nautique Central was born from a dissatisfaction of the service that was provided by the dealer at the time. So providing a high level of product backed by top shelf service is what we are passionate about.
What other types of things are going on in your area?
There is a new cable park opening soon that is located 15mins away from our Gold Coast shop. WE believe this will encourage more people to get into the sport. More people in the sport is good for us.
Tell us why you carry Nautique and what the brand means to the watersports scene in Australia.
We believe that Nautique boats are the best on the market. We’re the only dealership on the East Coast that is focused 100% on towboats. Quality products backed by a high level of service is a winning formula. We’ve worked hard to re-introduce the brand to the Australian market over the past 6.5 years. At every Boatshow and event we attend, we get the opportunity to give people the Nautique experience and show them our amazing boats.
Shawn Watson has been a longtime mainstay on our team here at Nautique. A pro wakeboarder hailing out of South Florida, when Watson made the move to Orlando almost 20 years ago he played a key role in the ride of the Pointless Posse and their major movement in wakeboarding. Ever since, he’s made a name for himself with his effortless style, seemingly endless successful pro model boards and a knack for living and breathing the wakeboarding lifestyle. During that entire long strange trip, it’s always been behind Nautiques for Watson. From his parents’ first ’94 model to the 2017 G23 that resides at his dock now, we’re proud to have played a part in the success of a long and illustrious career in wakeboarding.
When and where did you get your start? I started wakeboarding around the age of 12 down in Lantana, Florida where I grew up.
Who inspired you to wakeboard when you started? When I first started riding Byerly was God in wakeboarding. I watched every single one of his video parts and tried to imitate his riding whenever I got behind the boat.
What was your first Nautique? That was a 1994 Ski Nautique my family owned (pictured below), and we eventually ended up with a 1997 Sport Nautique after that.
What have been some of your career highlights? Winning Rookie of the Year in my 1st year on tour, 2-time Nautique National Champion, multiple Pro Tour wins, placing 3rd and getting 2nd twice at the Wake the Line rail events, and winning the Carnival Rail jam!
What do you hold more dearly, being the first to land a 900 in a contest or your multiple Feet-on-Fire wins? That’s a tough one! Winning Feet on Fire was pretty all-time but landing a 900 in a contest was amazing. The 900 was at a double-up contest in Germany back in 1999 and I was last off the dock. Matt Staker was up before me and killed it with a grabbed heelside 720. I didn’t know what else to do at the time to one up him, I had never even thought of trying a 900 but decided to go for broke and give it a go in the contest; ended up stomping it and won the event!
You’ve had a long career, what keeps the fire burning? It’s crazy to think that I signed my 1st contract with Liquid Force 20 years ago back in 1997! But I think what keeps the fire burning is that I still enjoy wakeboarding as much today as I did the very first day I started.
What was the best thing about “the good old days” for you? Oh man, the best thing about the good old days were the trips and the friendships and relationships you make with teammates. Whether it was to Lake Powell with the Liquid Force crew, catalog shoots on Lake Tahoe for Nautique or back in the Monster days when we used to take house boat trips out on the Shushwap up in Canada. It was fun to be a part of those crews and the companies we represented, and not to mention the amazing times we all had!
What’s better about being in the sport today? Well, I think it probably is the same with any sport with the progression of products. Back when I first started, I was riding behind a ‘’SKI’’ Nautique that was meant to put out the smallest wake possible. We were loading the boat down with as much weight as possible to create the best wake we could and doing as many tricks we were capable of. Now boats like the G23 that are designed for wakeboarding have incredible wakes and we have guys like Mike Dowdy doing multiple variations of double flips. It’s insane. We also have a crazy amount of cable parks and System 2.0s going up everywhere throughout the world making the sport more accessible to everyone and letting riders push the sport to higher levels.
Is there someone who you’ve tried to model your career after? I said who inspired me in the first question, and I think Byerly rings true here too. I definitely looked up to quite a few guys growing up, but the two that have been the most important to me are Byerly and Shaun Murray. I still look up to those guys and have somewhat tried to follow in their footsteps. It’s really cool to see both of them over the age of 40 and still killing it.
If you had to guess, how many boards have been sold with your name on it? Haha! Hmmm, that is a tough one! I had my 1st pro model back in 1999, there has been some years where we had 3 different shapes with up to 4 sizes in each shape so that would be so hard to even guess. I’m going to say around 25k, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s above that!
Give us 3 solid airline travel tips: Stick with one airline to build up status, get a credit card with that airline to help build that status and try to always sit up towards the front of the airplane (the further back you go is a bumpy ride and typically where the families with screaming babies tend to sit).
Trick you want to learn? I’ve always wanted to learn some sort of double rotation. I’ve always been hesitant with previous knee injuries and not wanting to risk injuring again especially after all the injuries I have seen with guys this past year attempting them. I think this is going to be the year that I buckle down and get one though!
Who are your typical riding buddies? Typical would be guys like Jim Lariche, Jeff Langley, Shane Bonifay, Massi and Chad Sharpe.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Orlando? The best thing about Orlando for me is that it is the mecca for wakeboarding, there are a crazy amount of lakes and pretty much every great lake in Central Florida has a wakeboard boat on it. So you never find yourself without someone to ride with. If it’s a windy day and my lake is blown out, there’s a good chance there is another lake close by with countless amounts of the boys that I could hit up to get a ride! (boys, boats??)
Give us a typical day in the life of Shawn Watson…
A typical day for me would be waking up (not crazy early but also not the type to sleep in), I’m a breakfast person so I enjoy making a solid breakfast. Then some sort of a workout, a bike ride or twice a week I’m in the gym with my personal trainer. Lunch, then depending on what the weather is like from there I’ll get out on the boat for an afternoon shred with some of the boys. That might followed up by a round of golf on the course that’s connected to my lake. And just before dark if the light is bangin’ then get out for another wakeboard session to get some photos taken. A proper meal and some downtime with the ol’ lady and call it a day!
Any photo/video projects coming up? It’s the off-season right now so I’m in the planning stages of that. But I do plan to start my season off the beginning of March by going to Singapore for a film trip and from there to Australia to compete in the Nautique Moomba Masters and do some photo/video trips there for a few weeks to catch the end of their summer and come back home to the beginning of our warm weather! I’m looking forward to some amazing travel, and I’ve got a few new locations on the radar to tap into this summer to have an amazing time doing what I love to do every day!