Ten years ago it was easier to find sushi at a major league baseball stadium than to see a pontoon at the Miami International Boat Show. Don’t get me wrong, this show is still busting at the seams with million-dollar yachts as far as the eye can see, but when it comes to the growing demand for pontoon boats across the U.S., this unique craft appears to know no boundaries.
As far as world-wide attraction, many consider the Miami show to be the biggest and most important boat show of the year where many manufacturers debut new products and launch boating-specific products in hopes of getting a positive industry buzz from the thousands who attend.
In a continued effort to stir up excitement, pontoon boats are becoming a regular sight each year. Not only are you guaranteed to see at least a dozen or more pontoons at this annual Florida show, but the ones in the water are attracting a lot of attention too. These “show-stoppers” now have attendees doing a double take, as they get caught up on what the rest of us already know—pontoons are great all-around vessels.
All Eyes On Avalon
One particular pontoon that was catching its share of glimpses this year was the Windjammer 2485 Elite from Avalon. Docked in front of the Honda Marine booth in the on-water section of the show, the popular pontoon was constantly going out on test rides and didn’t appear to spend a lot of time tied up. The PDB crew looked for an opportunity to take the pontoon out ourselves for a test run and when given the chance we didn’t hesitate. With help from the Honda Marine team we were able to get the test information we needed, plus get a much-needed break from the show as we distanced ourselves from the dock and ventured out for a relaxing cruise
Equipped with the Saltwater package, the Avalon cut through choppy water with ease and with the Honda 250hp four-stroke on the back, we enjoyed surprising those in fiberglass boats who were out on their own test runs. They didn’t seem to take it very well when they’d get passed by a pontoon boat that just a few years ago was strictly known as only a lake boat.
The top-end Windjammer 2485 Elite offers the classic pontoon interior layout with cutting-edge looks and features that we’re not used to seeing on high-end pontoon models. The exclusive Deco-inspired two-tone wall design, fiberglass driver's helm with wood grain dash, plush seating with exclusive Matrix 50 Vinyl, built-in LED dock lights, and superior construction are just a few examples of the great features onboard.
At full throttle we reached a top speed near the half-century mark, but even in the rougher ocean water we still felt like we were just out for a lake cruise. True, there is plenty of added thrill to this ride, but when you’re surrounded by an amenity-packed layout that is filled with high-end luxury, it just tends to relax you and put you in a vacation mindset—regardless of the speeds you’re reaching. It’s an option, but based on how well the pontoon handles, the Triple WaveGlider Performance Pontoons can easily fall into the must-have category. Avalon really has it dialed in with this performance hull and when paired with the powerful Honda outboard there’s no telling how much fun you might have.
With the right mix of standard features and key options, as tested this Avalon pontoon is ready for anything you want to throw at it, including the Atlantic Ocean. While pontoon boats will continue to thrive on freshwater lakes, it’s good to know that when Avalon is involved the sky really is the limit on how far you can take your pontoon.
Avalon Windjammer 2485 Elite
LOA 25’ 5”
Pontoon Length 24’
Beam Length 8’ 6”
Pontoon Diameter 25”
Hull Design Triple WaveGlider Performance Pontoons
Dry Weight 2,400 lbs.
Fuel Capacity 45 gallons
Person Capacity 15
Max Weight Capacity 2080 lbs.
Engine Honda BF250
Type Four-Stroke V6
Throttle Range 5300-6300 RPMs
Induction SOHC VTEC
Gear Ratio 2.00:1
Weight (20” Shaft) 600 lbs.
RPM MPH GPH MPG
1000 4.2 0.9 2.21
2000 8.9 2.5 3.56
3000 18.5 4.1 4.51
4000 26.0 7.4 3.51
5000 37.5 11.8 3.18
6000 47.0 19.7 2.38
Options As Tested:
White Flake Metallic Walls, High-Back Reclining Admiral's Chair, Battery Selector Switch, Garmin EchoMap 50s Coastal Fish Finder, Hour Meter/Tachometer, Premium Sound System, Raised Helm Stand Platform, Better Than Teak Full Flooring, Extended Rear Deck w/ Stainless Ladder, Mood Lighting, Lights, Underwater Lights Under Rub Rail, Saltwater Package, Aluminum Waveshield, Pontoons Triple WaveGlider CTS HPP, Outboard Ski/Tow Bar, Stainless Cup Holders and 4 Lighted Cup Holders.
Base MSRP boat with motor including WaveGlider package: $59,523
MSRP as tested with all options: $75,400
Once considered just a Midwest vessel, pontoons are reaching to the far corners of the U.S. today. PDB caught up with Carl Alexen to find out how he’s enjoying his Windjammer pontoon from Avalon. His 24-foot Elite is powered with a Mercury 250hp Verado four-stroke and is kept on Lake Havasu in Arizona.
Alexen picked up the boat last year from Got Water in Havasu, a popular pontoon dealer with really great people who he says, are easy to work with.
“Lake Havasu is a big lake so I knew I would need a three-pontoon boat so I looked at all my options in the area and felt the Avalon was the top dog,” says Alexen. “It was as good if not better than the other boats I was considering and I just like how clean the outside looks and how nice the boat really is.”
With the Mercury 250 on the back, the owner has had it up to 44 mph hour, but admits that most of the time he just cruises around in the mid-30s where the fuel mileage is better.
Alexen has been enjoying his ‘toon for almost a year now and proudly says there’s nothing he’d change if he were to do it again.
“I would recommend Avalon in a heartbeat to anyone looking for a high-end pontoon,” says the owner. “From the comfy upholstery to the way the boat corners, it’s just a great boat. Years ago I had a pontoon and to compare my Windjammer to it would be like going from a stagecoach to a Mercedes. It’s better built than others I looked at and everything just fits right.”
When he’s not cruising with his family, Alexen can be found striper fishing with the guys.
“At first my friends were hesitant to want to fish from such a high-end pontoon, but with the snap-in carpet, it’s easy to clean and life’s too short to worry,” says Alexen. “This pontoon gets used.”