Racing champ rapt by Hurricane
Dick Johnson is a motor racing legend, with an appetite for speed and performance since 1967 when
he burst onto the track.
The winner of three Bathurst 1000 titles, and five Australian Touring Car Championships in a career
that lasted more than 30 years, Dick now leads DJR Team Penske and is as active as ever in the
racing scene, mentoring the next generation.
But there’s another side to Dick – the hands-on granddad for whom time spent with Jett, aged 13
and a half, and Lacey, 10, is time best spent.
Dick has sold his much-loved Integrity Motor Yacht and is now the proud owner of a Hurricane
Fundeck 236 deck boat – the limousine version with all the bells and whistles.
“Life changes and your requirements change,” he says. “There’s nothing more important to me than
spending time with the family out on the water, day tripping.”
His 7.16m “deck boat” as the Americans call them, boasts a sturdy, stable fibreglass “cathedral hull”,
wide beam and plenty of room onboard for up to 13 guests.
“The kids love it because we can charge up to the Pin [Jumpinpin], beach it and spend the day
swimming, having lunch, enjoying the Broadwater. We’re planning to use it fishing, diving, skiing,
towing . . . and anything that ends in ‘ING’!”
Equipped with Simrad touchscreen sounders, high-tech stereo and sub woofers, lounges that double
as beds, bar, table, refrigeration and plenty of storage, the Hurricane 236 is a versatile platform for
all kinds of on-water activities.
Pontoon boats may have had an aura of “slow and steady” in previous incarnations, but ask DJ
whether his Hurricane deckboat represents a retreat into “old man boating” and you’ll be blasted
with an emphatic “HELL NO!”
“It tips into turns like a regular boat, plus it has enough grunt to tow skis or inflatables, and to get
out of the way of the jetskis. The Hurricane 236 has a top speed of 80km an hour, which is 43 knots,
and we’re decked out with stereo and LED lighting so you’ll see us coming, and hear us!”
Brett Flanagan, seasoned boatie and founder of the successful Integrity Motor Yacht brand, came
across Hurricane, the world’s number one selling deck boat, in the US during his own search for the
ideal family pontoon boat.
“Hurricane pioneered the deck boat business in 1974 and are the number one selling deck boat in
the world, producing over 22,000 each year from their four factories in Indiana. There are around 60 different models over the size range and innumerable options when it comes to custom colours,
finishes and options.”
Hurricane produces a variety of deck boats up to 24-feet, including the FunDeck, SunDeck, Sundeck Sport and Centre Console Series. Brett’s brother, Grant Flanagan and son-in-law, Paul Atallah run the
dealership from Sanctuary Cove with an array of models on display, ready for testing and immediate
delivery – and many more on the way from the US for delivery in time for summer.
The FunDeck is characterized by its secure high rails, plenty of seating and stowage space beneath
the seats, in-floor lockers, a toilet, shower option, barbeque and dual biminis. With a draft of 25cm,
the FunDeck can access shallow reaches and pull up on the beach, which is ideal for the safety and
comfort of kids and the elderly.
The benefits over aluminium pontoon craft are almost innumerable, as Paul explains. “They are tri-
hull, moulded vinylester fiberglass construction, so they’re thicker and more durable than
aluminium, and can be easily anti-fouled. They use the latest techniques and materials and have
fastidious quality control.
The tri-hull outperforms alloy triple tube hulls and delivers better fuel economy, better banking and
handling, and less drag for superior performance from smaller outboards.
“Fibreglass construction is far superior and will outlast the alloy-type pontoon boats currently on the
market,” says Paul, adding that all hulls are backed by a 10-year structural warranty.
Seating is made from multi-density foam with triple-needle stitched vinyl. The Hurricane self-
bailing system keeps the cockpit and everything in it dry and comfortable. A wide-body design and
spacious floor plans create the ultimate comfort zone for any activity. Every cavity is filled with
urethane foam flotation. The foam provides structural rigidity, hull stiffening, sound dampening, and
reduction of vibration and minimizes water absorption.
Most importantly, Hurricane boats have positive floatation which makes them virtually unsinkable!
“The FunDeck is going to please all kinds of boaties, from first boat buyers and families, to people
who have a larger motor yacht and just want something fun, fast, fuss-free and family-friendly,” says
“They will suit the waterways of the Gold Coast, Moreton Bay, Sydney Harbour, Pittwater, Port
Phillip Bay and Mandurah, as well as canals, lakes and dams – Hurricane deck boats are the
“It’s a great boat for multi-generational families, young people looking for a fantastic party platform,
and groups of friends wanting to enjoy every kind of water activity.
“We’ve loaded them up with all the gear, like lights, speakers, sounders, all the nav equipment,
refrigeration, pop-up change room and bimini for a perfect day on the water. And we have an
exclusive deal with Yamaha for 90hp to 300hp engines. These Hurricanes are turn-key and ready to
Coming into spring, Dick Johnson and his family intend to explore the Broadwater, which DJ deems
“the best bit of boating on the east coast”, to Moreton Bay, Tangalooma and up to Mooloolaba on
the Sunshine Coast.
“The Hurricane is exceptional in rough water – stable, dry and a hell of a lot of fun. Getting out onto
the water is the best place to bring up kids. They make lifelong friends and enjoy the freedom and fun only boating can deliver.”