In an era when many builders blur the lines between deck boats and bowriders, Hurricane is staying with the original deck boat concept: an open bow boat with more seating than a comparable runabout and excellent water access from both the bow and stern. The SS 202, which eschews the full windshield for the original open deck boat layout, is a perfect example.
Hurricane deck boats have long used the same running surface, working with a wide, shallow V — akin to a cathedral-style hull — that tapers to 12.5 degrees of deadrise at the transom. The result is a boat that planes quickly with minimal bowrise — our test boat planed in 3.3 seconds — and offers stability similar to that of a pontoon. But because a ’toon rides on its outer tubes, and a deck along its centerline and chines, the 202 had less lateral stability than the Sweetwater.
The SunDeck’s layout features wraparound seating in the bow deck, with a filler cushion covering the step to the bow platform. It’s way more functional than a bowrider’s and features angled backrests against the consoles that mimic the forward-facing lounges on the Sweetwater. It has the same rugged GX48 vinyl that comes standard on the Sweetwater and offers decent stowage underneath the seats: less than the ’toon’s but more than a runabout would have.
There’s a table pedestal insert in the main cockpit, so the wraparound seating can turn into an aft dinette. A transom walkway to starboard leads to a small swim platform — the real acreage is on the bow. With water access like this, the deck boat is superior for beaching and for prepping for water sports.
Most decks put a small head in the port console, but Hurricane puts an entertainment center there, saving space in the main cockpit. So that you can change or use the loo, the 202 borrows from its pontoon cousins; an optional changing room unfolds from under the seating forward of the helm.
As far as head-to-head performance goes, there’s no comparison. The deck beat the ’toon to 30 mph by a full second and carved turns in circles tighter than the 220 SL could muster, even with the third tube — although the performance package really does narrow the gap. But deck boats have an ace in the hole. Hurricane builds a sterndrive version of the 202, which carves more nimbly than any outboard-powered pontoon could hope to, and with a dual prop drive it’s the true master in docking and loading onto a trailer. Families with boarders will gravitate to the 202 for another reason; it can be outfitted with an optional wakeboard tower.
Another advantage? Despite their comparable sizes, the SunDeck 202 has a fuel tank twice as big as the 220 SL’s. (The Sweetwater can be upgraded to a 29-gallon tank.) Even with the lighter weight giving the ’toon an edge in efficiency, the bigger tank gives the deck much greater range. Look at the performance charts; throughout the rpm band the SunDeck’s range is almost double. For cruising and tow sports, the deck boat carries the advantage over the pontoon.