So, even though both have a lot of crossover purposes and offer a lot of things to a lot of people — and in a trailerable package — pontoons reign supreme for packing in the crew and socializing and deck boats win out on sports and running rough. End of story? Not so fast. Hurricane offers a third way, the fiberglass hull of the SunDeck mated with the aluminum framing and furniture layout of the Sweetwater. Intrigued? It’s like the H. Ross Perot or Ralph Nader third-party options, only with a realistic chance of getting your vote. Enter the FunDeck 216 OB.
The FunDeck 216 has the same shallow V-hull tapering to 12.5 degrees at the transom and, with the same Yamaha F150, exhibits nearly identical performance numbers to the SunDeck 202. Climbing onto plane was slightly slower — 3.6 seconds compared with 3.3 — and it took about a half-second longer to reach 30 mph. One thing the performance numbers bear out, though, is that the FunDeck 216 is noticeably louder, recording a 12-decibel difference at top end. Chalk that up to the more open layout, the thinner aluminum sides (compared with fiberglass) and the flimsier windshield atop the fiberglass helm console. Neither of the boats offer much protection from the elements, but the 202 did a better job.
The 216 FunDeck features the same opposing sofas in the bow of the boat as in the Sweetwater 220 SL, only with one forward-facing recliner on the starboard side. The port side has more like a love seat, shortened to accommodate the side boarding gate, a functional feature I’ve come to love about pontoons because you can board amidships without stepping on any cushions. The SunDeck 202 has a side boarding step (more of a notch) molded into its gunwale topsides portside, but unless you’re NBA-ready you’ll likely still have to step on some vinyl before your feet find their way to the deck.
There are some compromises compared with the true deck and ’toon. The 216 has better water access from the bow than the 220 SL but worse from the stern. It has a better social layout than the 202 but no option for a sterndrive or a wakeboard tower. It has snap-in carpet and molded-in nonslip like the 202, making it salt water friendly. With roto-molded compartments in the seat bases and the ability for an in-sole locker, it wins the storage wars over the other two. It’s heavier than the others but has more freeboard than the SunDeck, so it falls in between in handling in wind. Is it the ultimate compromise? No, but as a third option, it’s a damn good idea.