During my college years at Wake Forest University, I had the pleasure of watching current
NBA superstar and Finals MVP Tim Duncan mature from a talented-but-raw freshman into the best
college player in the nation. Along with his modest demeanor, the most important aspect of
Duncan's game was his versatility.
On defense, he possessed the power to battle for a rebound, the agility to be a superb shot
blocker, and the quickness to guard players on the perimeter. On the offensive end, he
confounded defenders by executing spectacular spin moves to the basket for dunks, while also
kissing 18-foot bank shots off the glass in the same game. In short, it was his astounding
versatility that made him a force to be reckoned with on the court.
Stingray exhibits impressive versatility of its own with the new 190FX, the company's
first-ever fish & ski model. According to Stingray, the 190FX transforms effortlessly from ski
boat to fishing boat to family boat without missing a beat. Although its modest size (overall
length is 19 feet) isn't likely to inspire the same awe as the 7-foot Duncan leaping to swat
away a game-winning layup, its performance delivers the goods.
I test the 190FX on a beautiful day at Georgia's Lake Lanier, located about 45 minutes
from downtown Atlanta. Departing from Lazy Days Marina, I idle out and admire the diverse
array of boats lining the docks. Although I'm eager to check out the 190's full range of
fishing and skiing features, I decide to first test the boat's running ability.
Settling into the comfortable captain's swivel seat, I pause to admire the simulated
wood-grain dash on the pilot and passenger's side before pushing the throttle forward. The
test 190FX is equipped with the base 190-hp, 4.3L Mercury engine and a 23-inch-pitch Laser
II prop. With two people aboard and a full tank of gas, it reaches a top speed of 51.1 mph.
Acceleration is respectable, with the 190 galloping from 0 to 30 mph in 7.9 seconds. The
decibel meter registers a calm 84 dB-A at a cruising level of 3500 rpm, and a pleasantly quiet
91 dB-A at top speed.
Pushing the FX through a series of hard turns, I'm highly impressed with the ride. The
boat handles nicely, cornering well and exhibiting stability as I put it through a variety of
hairpin turns. At top speed, the 190 feels rock solid and makes no unpredictable movements,
even when I turn the wheel moderately hard to the left and back to the right. There is slight
pounding while at running speed (35 to 40 mph), but overall I give the 190FX high marks for
After wolfing down lunch at a lakeside restaurant, I hop back on the boat and examine the
190's many features. Starting at the bow, there's a multitude of fishing-friendly features
including a two-drawer built-in tacklebox and accessory panel with trim adjustment for a
trolling motor. There's also a convenient in-bow insulated cooler with overboard drain. Other
features designed with the angler in mind include recessed stainless-steel bow rails, recessed
cleats and recessed bow lights.
The bow can quickly be transformed from runabout to fishing platform by removing the bow
cushions to reveal a seat mount for a fishing chair (the aft sunpad also removes for access to
another fishing-chair seat mount). Since we're not fishing today, I stretch out on the bow seat
cushions and relax. Although the 190FX, as would be expected from a 19-footer, delivers a modest
amount of bow space, there's enough room that this near-6-footer doesn't feel too cramped.
The cockpit is comfortable and eye-appealing. There's a standard Sony radio/cassette player
with four speakers and a handy portside glove box.
The cockpit floor is covered with the standard all-weather marine carpeting. There's also a
good-sized in-floor wakeboard storage for those looking to take advantage of the "ski" portion
of the 190FX's equation.
Moving to the aft portion of the boat, I lift the center seat cushion to reveal a 36-gallon
aerated livewell that fishermen will love. There are carpeted storage compartments on either
side of the livewell. The rear bench seat itself is very comfortable, especially after a day on
the water. The 32-ounce vinyl seat with foam back feels great and is a prime example of Stingray's
pride in creating its upholstery and interior in-house.
Looking up at the sun, I conclude that prime tanning hours are still upon us and request that
my copilot turn off the engine. Stretching out on the plush sunpad, I'm about to doze off when I
realize that I left my sunscreen back on shore. Not wanting to resemble a beached lobster, I decide
to pass on the tanning session and check out the engine compartment.
The latching mechanism on the sunpad slowly opens to reveal an engine compartment with carpeted
storage on both sides of the engine. There's plenty of room for amateur marine mechanics to inspect
the engine, and the engine side latches "fall down" to give even easier access.
Construction on the 190FX is topnotch. Its patented Z-plane hull design, in which the strakes
are cut to face the keel instead of facing out to the chines, delivers improved performance and
fuel efficiency. Best of all, the base price is just $19,377.
As I cruise to the dock, my mind wanders back to Winston-Salem's Joel Coliseum, where I
watched Tim Duncan play during his Wake Forest years. It's as though a human highlight reel is
playing in my head: Duncan blocking shots with authority, delivering passes with pinpoint
accuracy, grabbing rebounds with a vengeance, and knocking down shots with consistency. As I'm
snapped back to reality by the approaching dock, I realize I've witnessed the Stingray 190FX's
own highlight reel today. I've experienced first-hand its high level of performance and comfort,
witnessed its array of fishing and skiing features, and come away impressed. Whatever the sport,
it seems, versatility makes a winner.