Team Nautique Blog

March 27, 2012

Shaun Murray Blog #4: We’ve Created A Monster

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It didn’t hit me until our 2nd day of shooting, with the helicopter buzzing above my head and my legs shaking from my burning quads. I’ve ridden hard in the past, and I’ve been sore in the past, but this is a completely new ball game. There have been some things invented in the sport of wakeboarding to take the sport to the next level: symmetrical boards, the high pole, the Flight Control Tower, and internal ballast. While we have seen some improvements in gear and boats in the past 10 years, there hasn’t been anything to change the sport like Gray in a long time. And I can assure you that there hasn’t been a boat like Gray, ever.

Sitting in the boat with the entire team taking in the realization of what this project resulted in was amazing. The more we sat in the boat and used it, the more little things we noticed had been put into it that set it apart from anything we had ever see before. We couldn’t get over it. It was here, it was big and it was awesome! I still can’t believe it’s real.

We all wonder what is possible. You’ll draw inspiration from other sports or get an idea from something you see and want to take it to the water. Those moments of sitting there in contemplation are where progression truly begins. Then, you get out on the water and the reality of it all hits you and it doesn’t happen. Gray is going to make these new dreams possible. When you are riding behind Gray, you have that feeling while you are on the water, that new tricks can and will happen. Gray can take you there and give you that extra time in the air to getter’ done and a huge landing to setter’ down. This boat will give us the opportunity for new directions and a new starting point to shape the future of our sport. Wakeboarding is about to be forever changed, and I’m super thankful to be a part of it. I cannot wait for you to get to experience this revolutionary new boat for the first time this Saturday, March 31st.

- Shaun Murray

For more info about the all-new boat that will change the course of wakeboarding, join us this Saturday, March 31st for the live webcast of the unveiling.

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March 20, 2012

Shaun Murray Blog #3: Testing

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Early mornings, late nights, and plenty of trips back to the drawing board became the story of our lives for much of the duration of this project. Everything that starts out as a great idea and theory on paper sometimes becomes a humbling reality once it is actually put in the water and tested for the first time. We were dedicated to keeping the promise that we would not compromise at all when creating this boat and I’m proud to say that what has come out of all the hard work we put in paid off in a big way.  

Keeping everything abstract and off the radar was established from the start, so we came up with the code name “Gray” when referring to the project. Working on something so monumental, it was hard to keep my excitement from showing through at times but we were all sworn to secrecy and I had to reserve my urge to talk about what we were doing to the handful of people that were on the inside during the initial phases.       

Having our own test lake at the Nautique factory allowed us to constantly make changes to the hull to dial it in.  All of the riders involved have a different style of riding and take different things into consideration when determining the perfect shape of a wake and how the boat performs under every circumstance considered. Remember, this boat had to be up to the ideal standards of every person on the team so these evaluations and tests were a very critical part of the process.  I was always impressed to see some of the different techniques the engineers used to test how their design would react in the water when developing the hull. Every drop of water was accounted for and every inch of the hull surface was put under a microscope.  

Once the final tweaks were made we brought in Scott Byerly and east coast surfing/shaping legend Scott “Butch” Bouchard to get input on the wakesurfing wake before making the finishing touches.

Testing lasted well over a year before we moved to the inside of the boat and the interior was laid out and implemented into Gray.  The riders didn’t just walk away after the wake was created, we spend just as much time driving these boats as we do riding behind them so the information kept flowing until the last wrench was turned.

Reps didn’t know about Gray.  Dealers didn’t know about Gray.  It didn’t exist.  Kinda like some super-secret covert government ninja program where people don’t have names, just numbers or logos. These were exciting times at Nautique, every one of us were proud to be included and took our involvement very seriously. I can’t wait until the world gets to see what came out of all of this. Only one more week until we approach the moment that will change it all

-       Shaun Murray

For more from Shaun Murray and continued updates on the Gray project, keep checking as we keep getting closer to March 31st when we will reveal it all.

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March 13, 2012

Shaun Murray Blog #2: Blank Canvas

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At the beginning of any design process it is important to list all of your goals and to come up with a plan for how you are going to accomplish each one. This provides us a bit of a timeline and keeps everyone on the same page as we toss ideas back and forth. Any and every idea was allowed on the table. This is the most the riders have ever been involved with the design of a boat and we were blown away at what all goes into it.

There are a lot of different people involved and all of them play a major role in taking a boat from conception to finished product. As we met with each person and talked with them more and more we began to learn about what each of them does, and they began to see our vision for this boat. The best part about working with everyone is that they ride and are just as passionate about the sport as I am. This project was a dream come true for everyone involved.

The big question to Danny Harf, Bob Soven, Jimmy Lariche, JD Webb, Shawn Watson and I was: “what do you want to see in this boat?” We took a step back and asked ourselves “what makes a good wakeboarding boat?” For me, a good boat includes a good experience behind it, as well as a good one in it. So, what makes that happen?

Here is a list of the main things we wanted to see:

Behind The Boat (things I’m looking for)

  • Good take off wake (which is our ramp)
    • A lot of water to support the rider’s aggressive approach
    • Clean, without any whitewash
    • Good transition
      • Not too steep
      • Not too mellow
      • Solid lip (the crest of the wake)
  • Good landing wake
    • Long transition
  • Good distance between the wakes
    • Not too narrow
    • Not too wide
  • Balance
    • Each wake has the same characteristics consistently
    • Boat doesn’t get pulled off center balance easily
  • Dynamic Range
    • Allows the rider to run different rope lengths and speeds while still maintaining a clean wake
  • SIZE!
    • Big
      • For the rider that wants a huge wake
    • Small
      • For kids and beginners who don’t want to be intimidated

In The Boat

  • Cockpit
    • Drivability
      • Doesn’t feel like a big boat when turning and handling
      • Turns without too much bow rise
      • Stable balance side to side
      • Maintains speed
    • Visibility
      • Looking out window
      • Controls
    • Comfortable driver’s seat
    • Place for my phone/music
    • A place for everything, and everything in its place
      • Tons of storage
    • Smooth ride
      • In chop and on double-ups
    • Rear facing seats for EVERYONE (except the driver)
    • Good relaxing seats
    • Quiet so we can chat and listen to music while boat is underway

So, now what?  The Nautique product development team got out their notepads, iPads, dry erase boards, and the new project began.

- Shaun Murray

Keep checking for more from Shaun Murray along with updates from Nautique as we approach March 31st and the moment that will change wakeboarding forever.

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March 6, 2012

Shaun Murray Blog #1: I Want It All

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I’ve been on the water since I was 5 years old and riding wakeboards professionally for 18 years. I’ve designed numerous pro model wakeboards with Hyperlite and over the years I have poked my head into PD&D (Product Design and Development) at Nautique to see what they were working on and give input when I stopped by the factory. I have always enjoyed the design process that happens with a wakeboard, and as a rider at Nautique, the engineers and design team continually ask for our input on how to make their boats better.

Several years ago, the Nautique team riders were approached about designing a revolutionary new wakeboarding boat that would completely transform the industry. Nautique truly wanted to put this in the hands of the riders and do something different. So we started with a blank canvas and set out to create our dream boat.

Our plan was to begin with the wake. The wake was our number one priority in the design of this boat and we all agreed that no matter what, we would not sacrifice making the best wake in the world for any other attribute on the boat. No compromises. Once we got that dialed, we would focus on making the smoothest driving, most comfortable boat for passengers as well as the most space-efficient vessel you will ever feast your eyes on. Big Dreams.

So, there we were with a room full of engineers and designers, and our objective was to get all of the ideas we collected over the years out of our heads and onto the drawing board. We are the kind of people that if one thing is wrong out of a hundred items, we cannot take our minds off that one thing. We weren’t going sign off on this boat until every single item was perfect and up to the standards of the entire team. This process is something I will never forget as we worked on a project that would completely alter what we all thought was possible in a wakeboard boat. I cannot wait to share more with you about this incredible process next week as we approach the moment that will change it all.

- Shaun Murray

Keep checking for future updates, videos and Shaun Murray blogs in the weeks leading up to our big moment on March 31st.

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March 1, 2012

Karina Nowlan wins the 2012 Australian Open.

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Team Nautique athlete Karina Nowlan came out on top at the Australian Open held at Stoney Park this past weekend in a unique format that put the men against the women giving the females a one buoy handicap for the event. Karina pushed it all weekend and ran 1@39 in the finals giving her a score of 2@39 with the handicap to take the win. Also skiing well all weekend was fellow Team Nautique skier; Brooks Wilson who came into the finals with a score of 2@39 but was just edged out of podium on Sunday finishing fourth.

“It was a great weekend and I’m really happy with the way that i skied. I couldn’t have expected much more as I had only been on the water for 9 days prior. Competing against the guys was a first, but lots of fun and in the end we were all very close to winning the title. Coming off of this tournament, I truly look forward to skiing at the Moomba Masters behind the Ski Nautique 200.” – Karina Nowlan

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