If you asked those involved with the creation of the new NepToon 25TT Sport SunLounger from JC Manufacturing, they'd probably tell you this model wasn't designed for any specific region of the country. However, when the first 25-foot version of the new SunLounger came out of the plant in Indiana, it felt destined to end up in the west.
Complete with rear loungers in the stern, a large swim platform with speakers and a new color scheme, there are plenty of beaches that are begging for a boat like this in those states where it's impossible to go a mile without seeing a cactus.
Arizona is home to several famous bodies of water that are surrounded by miles of beautiful desert scenery and the latest NepToon turned up the heat in a state that is already known for its hot summer temperatures. The boat was scheduled to be delivered to Boat Brokers in Havasu City, Ariz., but in an attempt to get the scoop, PDB magazine intercepted the delivery. It wasn't exactly a hijacking of this rear lounger NepToon, but we did delay its arrival to the JC dealer by a few days so we could be the first to test this pontoon beauty ourselves.
"Many of our competitors have introduced models with rear loungers, but we had several areas of concern with the majority of the designs," explains JC President Kim Cripe. "Many of the designs sacrifice a level of safety when seated in the rear lounges while underway and we were also concerned about the loss of normal seating while cruising."
When we came aboard for the first time we quickly realized those concerns were clearly addressed with the release of the SunLounger. The rear lounging area is contained within JC's normal rail package and the high-back lounges make it a very safe and smart design. Plus the new softer foam lounges in the rear of the boat may be used for normal seating while cruising, or extended on the JC designed slider for comfortable sunbathing. In addition, the standard movable gate seat may be placed in the stern for pit-group seating in the rear. Our first impression was a good one and we were ready to get this boat off the trailer and into the water.
The burnt orange double bimini top stood out against the Arizona desert background, especially at places like Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake, which are both just east of Phoenix. JC calls this new color scheme its copper/taupe package and it's sure to become a popular choice in other regions as well.
With the sneak peak, PDB magazine was able to gather instant feedback from other boaters as we toured these Arizona lakes. "It's like sitting in your own living room but the walls have been knocked down," commented Willie Fruechtnicht as he made himself comfortable on the front bow bench.
One sun worshiper came aboard and headed straight for the rear loungers, which has become the hottest trend in the industry. With the adjustable headrest and fold down armrest, it didn't take her long to figure out where the best seat on this boat was.
"I'm sorry, but I don't want to ever get out of this chair. Will you tell my husband to meet us at the launch ramp?" joked Marie Olsen at one beach in Canyon Lake. "This is the kind of boat that we need!"
On the Sport versions of this SunLounger, the pontoon comes standard with lifting fins, SeaStar hydraulic steering and power assist steering and is rated for up to a 250hp engine, which is what we had on this first production model. With a huge power plant on the back, the Suzuki 250hp engine was a perfect fit for this 25-footer. When combined with JC's lifting fins, this engine did very well with this performance Sport pontoon that is capable of reaching speeds over 50 miles per hour. When dealing with this kind of speed, the optional ski/tow bar is one of those must-have upgrades that you won't regret. The SeaStar hydraulic power assist steering allows finger-tip steering, even in those tight corners on Canyon Lake.
With the continued focus on performance in this niche of the industry, JC holds its own with this NepToon, while still adding those little comforts that have helped this Indiana-based manufacturer continue to grow. The SunLounger is available in 23- and 25-foot versions and is designed for outboard power with plans to expand into the sterndrive market on the horizon.
This boat goes beyond just performance and two great lounges in the stern. There is a generous vinyl-covered open stern area that is perfect for launching water sports and the double swim platform with a built-in ladder provides easy access out of the water. Plus with extra cup holders, two 12-volt outlets and speakers outside the rear gate, you have the ultimate setup to relax at your favorite sandbar.
At the helm is a complete set of gauges, plus the optional Humminbird Matrix 788c color depth finder. When exploring different lakes as well as dealing with the ever-changing water levels, GPS systems like this one really come in handy and are a solid addition to any boat. The optional Visionaire Mesh flip-up bolster helm seat takes breathability to a whole new level. Because air is free to pass through easily, the captain's chair is as cool as it looks.
Popular standard features include stainless steel quick release bimini fittings, movable gate seat, vinyl floor in stern, upholstery trim package and the 55-gallon fuel tank that is built into the center pontoon. The SunLounger is available in either JC's standard TT hulls or Sport TT version. One other feature that you can't possibly appreciate until you find yourself in just the right situation is the helm stand that can be raised like a car hood to access the wires to all gauges and all of your electrical connections. Lying on your back looking up to check a connection is no longer a concern with this unique design.
Options included on the SunLounger version that we tested include the in-tube storage compartment, swim platforms, Visionaire captain's chair, Humminbird 788c, extra two aft speakers and amp, second bimini top and a pop-up changing room that stores nicely below the rear chaise lounge..
The new SunLounger retails for substantially less than a lot of other rear lounge models that are available today. There are many combinations that can influence the price, but for a well-optioned SunLounger 25 with a 150 hp engine, you're looking at less than $40K.
With apologies to Boat Brokers for hijacking, ahem, I mean borrowing the pontoon for a few days for our test, we are sorry that we robbed you of the chance to be the first to splash this boat. We know we delayed the delivery, but it was worth it and we'd gladly do it again. Many more SunLoungers will be heading out west this summer and for more information visit www.theboatbroker.com or call 800-488-0258. To learn more about JC Manufacturing visit www.jcpontoon.com or call 574-834-2881.