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Image Of The Week: The Most Unforgettable Sunsation

Longtime Sunsation Boats customer Jason Tolliver of Ohio has never owned a model built by the Algonac, Mich., company quite like the F4 sportboat he’s been enjoying this year at events such as the Lake Cumberland Thunder Run in Kentucky and the Emerald Coast Powerboat Poker Run in Florida. That’s because the 43-foot V-bottom powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 700SCi engines features what Mitch Tolan, the founder and Mitcher T. Custom Painting and Design in Middleville, Mich., called “probably my most difficult airbrushing and design job.”

Hard Decisions, Jason Tolliver’s Sunsation F4, was one of the most attention-getting boats at the Florida Powerboat Club’s Emerald Coast Powerboat Poker Run in late September. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

Tolan—with assistance from several members of his talented team—wrapped up the extremely detailed paintjob on the massive canvas in 2020 after spending nearly 10 months of his spare time on it. And Tolan and company don’t have a lot of spare time as their schedule has been booked for a few years now thanks to a continuous stream of new Sunsation center console models. In any case, if you look at the image above and the pictures in the slideshow below, it’s easy to see the level of detail in the F4 dubbed Hard Decisions, which Tolliver called a “controversial theme” as it addresses the everyday battle and constant temptations that people face in making decisions in their daily lives.

“The controversy theme is something I had in my head for some time,” Tolliver explained. “I never came up with a design or put anything down on paper, but I told Mitcher T about it and he said, ‘Give me a few weeks and I’ll have something to review.’ I kind of had to twist his arm to paint the boat in the first place but he agreed to it and he nailed the new look.”

Tolliver, who had never dealt with Sunsation and Mitcher T on a new build, said he enjoyed working directly with Tolan. The veteran painter said he’s not sure he would—or could—take on another project like Hard Decisions ever again.

“I probably had more than 500 hours in airbrushing alone,” Tolan said. “Even though it wasn’t part of our regular production—I did it all on weekends and in the evenings after work—I’m glad Jason talked me into it. To me, Hard Decisions is on another level.

“The demonic starboard side features the creature with his leathery wings and color shifting eyes that appear to watch you as you walk down the side of the boat,” he added. “The four aces card hand and the human/primate skull prompting the argument between Darwinism and Celestial/Devine creation that is all on fire. The port side is a celestial mix of statuesque and sensual angels, a Roman Catholic cathedral arch, a celestial time piece that emanates bilge water from the 11th hour time hands, freehand scrolling and the smoky angel wing intertwining itself amongst the mural. The angel and demon eventually come together on the deck to commingle and copulate, finding a balance of coexistence in the physical world.”

Yes that’s a lot to take in, but so is the paintjob, which is pearl coated to give it that extra glow on sunny days.

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Take a closer look at what’s arguably the most elaborately painted Sunsation Boats F4 sportboat.

“I was really glad when I was finished with Hard Decisions—painting the deck was incredibly exhausting,” Tolan said. “I’ve painted some fantastic boats, but nothing quite like this one. Bill and Monica Reiffer’s 43-foot Checkmate with the Statute of Liberty on the deck was cool as was Chris Wall’s 36-foot Spectre Red Dragon with the dragons and flames all over it.”

And now that Hard Decisions is in full poker run mode, Tolliver’s hardest decision just might be whether he uses the F4 or his radical 40 CCX powered by three Mercury Racing 450R engines during his next boat adventure.

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