Boat Science: The Nautique NCRS

nautique ncrs
“We realized early on that if we wanted the G23 to do everything — get up on plane quickly, stay on plane in tight turns — we were going to need more than a static running surface,” says Eric Miller, chief engineer at Nautique.WBM

Take a look:

The Nautique NCRS

It’s easy to overlook the Nautique Configurable Running Surface (NCRS). After all, its set-it-and-forget-it design is intended to enhance your on-water experience without the driver having to worry about it. Despite being so inconspicuous, however, the NCRS could stake a fair claim as one of the most important wakeboarding innovations in recent memory. Sound like a bit of a stretch? Well, first consider the impact the G23 and the rest of Nautique’s G ­series has had on wakeboarding progression over the past five years. Now consider the fact that the engineers behind the G23 say its celebrated performance wouldn’t be possible without NCRS.

  • The most obvious comparison is a trim tab. After all, NCRS is fundamentally a plate that moves up and down. Unlike a traditional trim tab, however, NCRS is actually part of the running surface rather than an add-on component.

  • Like the traction control in your car, NCRS automatically makes adjustments based on user settings — how much help you want out of the hole, dialing in the shape of your wake — and dynamic conditions in the boat, such as load.

  • Sensors relay conditional data to the LINC system, which determines how far the plate needs to be deployed based on user settings, optimizing the running surface under any condition for every application in real time.

  • NCRS was inspired in part by movable surfaces on aircrafts. In fact, Bill Snook, director of design and development, relates NCRS' automated function to that of military aircraft, in which pilots aren't responsible for the control of many movable surfaces.

nautique boats
Eric Miller, Chief Engineer, Nautique Boats Q: How is NCRS different from a trim tab? A: It's always wet, meaning it's part of the running surface at all times. If the boat didn't have NCRS, the hull would be shaped like the hull and NCRS together. Q: How novel is NCRS? A: It's more about the brains of it and our approach, because obviously a movable plate with an actuator isn't new technology. The way that it's integrated into the hull is definitely novel, but the innovation really lies in how we chose to take the guesswork out of the user experience and let the boat do the work. Q: Does the performance of the G series with NCRS surprise people? A: Initially, we got a lot of comments like, "I'm not sure I like how this G23 handles when it's loaded down for wakeboarding." We asked why, and people would say, "Well, it kind of feels like a sports car." Good — that's what we were going for. We didn't want the sluggishness that's normally associated with a heavily laden wakeboard boat.WBM