With all of the 2015 boat show episodes up now, I’d love your feedback on what was covered. Please fill out the poll below to let me know your favorite interview or product from this year’s boat show episodes.
With all of the 2015 boat show episodes up now, I’d love your feedback on what was covered. Please fill out the poll below to let me know your favorite interview or product from this year’s boat show episodes.
This episode of the Weekend Water Skier Podcast wraps up the coverage of the Utah Boat Show for 2015. As usual, I bring you something directly related to water skiing, and an unusual product from the show.
For the past three years I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Sass about what HO is coming out with in their line. This year we focused on the Syndicate ski and HO’s new boot mounting system.
The new Syndicate V-Type ski combines the best characteristics of last year’s S-Type and A-Type ski into one ski that helps simplify the HO precept line, and can work for skiers who favored each of the previous skis. This new ski combines the angle of the A-Type ski with the speed across the wakes of the S-Type Syndicate into one.
We discussed some of the features in this ski, including the speed skin and clean edge technology on the ski as well as a new feature: the damper. The damp is a small weight that attaches to the front of the ski that holds a dampening pad in place to reduce the vibration inherent in carbon water skis. The weight can be moved forward or back to accommodate different skiing styles to keep the optimal amount of ski in the water.
When I learned that this was a functional adjustment on the ski and not just a decorative feature, I thought back to the (yes, I am this old) PSX Power Stix system. However, Joe let me know that this addresses the internal vibration of the ski, rather than attempting to stiffen or soften the ski for various water conditions.
Joe was also really excited about a new boot mounting system that HO designed for this year: the Direct Connect Boot System. This new system allows you to connect a boot with only 2 bolts per boot, rather than four, and moves the bolts closer together to improve the flex pattern in the ski compared to traditional bindings that have limited the flex under foot. This also helps reduce the stack height of the binding by eliminating the plate between the ski and boot.
There have been a lot of ideas about how to address the boot-to-ski interface over the past years, some more promising than others. This one takes a simple approach to the problem that seems like it would work pretty well. As I look at it, the only concern it raises for me is with the bolts being center mounted, how much will the boot roll before moving the ski onto edge. Not having ridden a ski with this system yet, I can’t address that question. However, beyond that, the new Direct Connect Boot System looks like an elegant solution to a long-standing problem.
Lillipad makes an innovate accessory for pontoon boats: a diving board. This diving board is designed to mount over the side of a boat and allow kids and adults to jump into the lake without rocking the boat. They do this by creating a system of gas shocks that absorb the energy of the bounce within the board rather than pushing it through to the boat.
This diving board has no direct relation to water skiing. However, it stopped me in my tracks as I walked around the boat show. Seeing a diving board hanging off the side of a boat, over the aisle, was quite a surprise.
This would be a great accessory to suggest to your friends who invite you to the lake with them so you can have the best of the pontooning relaxation experience and the waterskiing experience. After wearing yourself out with a couple of morning water ski or wakeboard sessions, you could then relax on the pontoon, and use the diving board to cool off between sessions of sun baking.
The Lillipad Diving Board looks like a fun toy for the who family to use while relaxing on the lake.
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The upcoming episode of Weekend Water Skier will be delayed a week. I had a sore throat that made recording a problem, then a family vacation. While you wait, it’s a great time to catch up on back episodes that you may have missed. Check out the library here on the website, or by using one of the subscribe buttons on the right on the home page.
Continuing the focus on crossover boats, I stopped in the MasterCraft pavilion at the Utah Boat Show. The local dealer set me up with Josh Palma to talk about the boats.
Josh Palma is a sponsored wake boarder with MasterCraft. He is a great guy to talk with, and knows the boats in the Mastercraft line quite well. While he’s not a dedicated skier, I felt that he represented the various disciplines who will use a crossover boat effectively. I mean, these aren’t dedicated boats either.
Josh described the NXT as MasterCraft’s “price point” boat. It is a boat that you can get into – with a trailer – for about 60 grand. I know that a 20′ Bayliiner is still cheaper, but a Scion is also cheaper than a small Mercedes.
The NXT has a lot of the same design features as the other boats in the line-up, but pulls back on the automation and control areas. Rather than the full Gen2 system on the other boats, this features a system with more manual controls. Other than that, this boat has many of the same features as the X10 that Josh talks about.
We spend most of our time looking over the X10 to get an ida of the features in a MasterCraft. As we talked, I was struck by the way that software now defines the product. I think that it was BMW who said a few years back that we would buy a car based on is software rather than its hardware soon. It appears that boats are heading the same way. While the hardware on boats – particularly the hulls – continues to evolve rapidly, the software is making the driver’s job simpler every year.
As we moved to the X30, Josh got really excited. This is his favorite crossover boat. He explained that using the Gen2 Surf System, the X30 can actually produce a better slalom wake than the X10 because the weight is distributed across a larger hull surface for lower displacement despite a slightly higher total weight.
This boat is great for taking out larger numbers of people on the lake. The only reason to not get the X30 instead of the X10 is if you have a length restriction either in your garage or at your lake.
Gen2 Surf System
A big part of our discussion was about how the Gen2 Surf System makes it so easy for a driver to set up for surfing, or skiing with just the touch of a button. Rather than having to decide how much ballast to add to each tank, how to adjust the side and center trim tabs, the driver just tells the boat what the activity is and it sets everything up.
When I compare this experience to the way I used to have to manually fill and drain each ballast tank, and figure out how to adjust the wedge on a boat we used to own, I can’t believe that we even tried to surf.
Josh explained that this system is designed to automate the set up for the driver. That has been the hard part of surfing. Tabs, ballast, etc. Tap the button on the touch screen for the sport you want, or the side you want to surf on and the system sets it up.
MasterCraft uses a symmetrical surf fill system so that the boat doesn’t tilt to one side, and you don’t have to shuffle passengers around to get the right wake.
There are products that make help you ski better, there are products that make boating more fun, and there are products that make life in a boat better. Jacket Rack-It is one of the products that makes life in a boat better.
If you’ve ever had to put on a cold, wet life jacket, then you start to understand the need for the Jacket Rack-It. Sure, if you’re already roasting on a hot summer day, you don’t mind cooling off a bit with a cold life jacket. But for many of us in northern climes, we are usually putting on a cold jacket just before jumping into a cold lake, on a temperate day. There goes the fun.
Jake Randall, founder of Jacket Rack-It, had this experience one time too many, so he did something about it. He created a product that efficiently dries life jackets out of the way. Now, instead of piling all of the life jackets into one corner of the boat until their next use, you can hang them outside the boat where they can dry in the wind, and drain the water back into the lake rather than into your bilge.
Using the Jacket Rack-It, you can hang four life jackets off each side of the boat on this ingenious tower accessory. The product has some amazing design. There are no straps or hooks to use. The jackets simply slide into the slots on each bar, then gravity and wind do the rest of the work to keep them in place while you drive.
Listeners of this podcast were offered a promo code to get the Jacket Rack-It at the boat show price. I don’t know how long they’ll honor this, but hopefully at least through the summer of 2015 you can get a Jacket Rack-It at a great price using that promo code. Unfortunately, Jake told me the code after our interview, and I misplaced it. I’m working to get it set up. I’ll update this as soon as we get it worked out so you can order from their online store at http://www.jacketrackit.com/shop/jacket-rack-it with the discount.
As a skier, and as an entrepreneur, I think that the Jacket Rack-It is a great invention, and it is executed incredibly well. I recommend that you check out their web site, and consider how it can make your time on a boat better.
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At the Utah Boat Show 2015, I had the chance to talk with Chris Sullivan about the Radar Water Skis line for 2015. We focused on their Senate ski, Profile boot, and the coolest thing ever for girls on the water: the Total Radar Awesomeness for Girls.
The Senate is Radar’s most popular ski for non-competition skiers. This year they gave the Senate the same treatment as the Vapor with a Lithium version. This started life as a limited edition ski, but pre-season sales were so popular that it is now part of their regular line-up. This brings the PVC core and carbon fiber construction of the Vapor to the Senate range, allowing weekend water skiers to get all of the advantages of a top-level competition ski in a slightly easier to ski shape.
Continuing the trend of bringing their top technology down for the rest of us, Radar introduced the Profile boot. This is based on their Vapor boot, but is cut a little wider for more comfort. So, we can now get the feels-like-a shoe comfort of boots made foot specific cut. While the Vapor focuses on total control, the Profile aims to add more comfort for you and me.
As the father of a girl — who I want desperately to love skiing — I am really excited about the new Total Radar Awesomeness for Girls ski. This brings a youth-specific ski design and puts a face on it that my daughter would love. I say “would love” because my family was out of town for the boat show, so my daughter hasn’t seen this ski yet. But the hot pink and purple top plate, with strawberry scratch-and-sniff accent is something that will appeal more to her than a camo pattern meant for boys. This is the first performance ski that I’ve seen aimed at girls. While the different graphics won’t make my daughter a better skier, having her want to ride a ski will. Way to go, Radar!
For more information on the Radar Water Skis line, visit their web site at www.radarskis.com.
There was some home-grown excitement this year as Defy WaterFlight introduced their new Jet Deck product at the Utah Boat Show.
Defy is a new, Utah-based company that is putting a new spin on the water flight industry. They have innovated a way to actually spin while flying behind a personal water craft. Their new product also makes it easier to learn this sport.
Defy has taken the standard one-axis product that was introduced a few years back, and added two more degrees of freedom, allowing you to move your feet in a full circle forward and back, and side to side. Their three-axis design lets you hold your balance better, avoid crashing as much, and opens up the door to a whole new range of tricks that you can do while flying over the water on a jet stream.
I’ve not had a chance to try this yet, but it looks like a major leap forward in a young new sport.
To get more information on Defy WaterFlight, visit their website at http://defywaterflight.com
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the interviews in this episode of Weekend Water Skier. Please let me know what you thought, if you have more questions, or if you wish that I’d done something completely different. Leave a comment below to let me know.
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This year marked the 50th Utah Boat Show. While I think that I celebrated this landmark more than the promoters did, there were some great things at the show. This is the first of four episodes highlighting new products, or upgraded precepts.
There were a number of brand new, surprising products at this year’s boat show. The UFloat was one of those. This is a life jacket designed for the inaction on the water. This is not a skiing PFD. This is a hang-out-behind-the-houseboat PFD. This is a day-on-the-pontoon PFD.
The UFloat pulls on like – okay, I’ll say it – a toddler’s pull up training pants. Out of the water it kind of looks like that, too. However, the function it serves is to let you float comfortably in the water without haveng your life jacket ride up into your arm pits and bounce off your ears. Admit it, you’ve had that experience while floating around your boat during down time
Yes, they readily admit that for years we’ve turned our life jackets upside down and slid our legs through the arm holes. However, they say that this is more comfortable in the water and is designed for floating. I didn’t have a chance to float in one. I’m pretty sure the rail jam pool wasn’t deep enough to try it even if I had been in my suit.
The jury’s still out. It’s a clever idea that may provide the solution to a problem that you have.
The UFloat retails for $110 – a little steep for me personally – and you can learn more or buy one at www.theufloat.com.
It’s been a pretty mild winter here in Utah, so there were plenty of yoga pants around the boat show. However, I only noticed about three people using them to do yoga. One of them was Rachel, the founder of On the Pond Fitness. What could have been just another stand up paddle board booth caught my attention when I saw some acroyoga on a paddle board. So, I stopped to talk with them.
Locally On the Pond provides paddle board rentals and fitness training. They will bring boards to you, and give you instruction on paddle board yoga, including making sure that everyone does a handstand on the board before they’re done. Rachel says that she’ll travel anywhere someone wants to pay her to go. If you want to test that theory, contact Rachel and she’ll let you know.
On the Pond also features inflatable paddle boards by Dave Scadden. These boards feature a lifetime warranty backed by manufacturing in the USA. Rachel tells me these are really stable boards, and they are easy to transport.
So, why feature paddle boards? Well, I constantly see them running up and down my lake between people’s sets. They’re a great way to get in some quick, easy exercise, and they’re fun for the whole family.
To leran more about On the Pond, visit their website at www.onthepondfitness.com. To learn more about Dave Scadden Paddle Boards, visit www.dsppaddleboards.com. You can watch a video of yoga on the DSP boards at http://onthepondfitness.com/#contact.
This year, I looked more at crossover boats than direct drive thoroughbreds. As part ofthis focus, I was introduced to the Tigé RZR. It’s a 20 foot boat with the ability to lay down surf wakes or clean it up for a pretty clean slalom wake using the TAPS system.
Like most corssove boats, the RZR is a V-drive, so there will be more bow rise and the boat will carry more weight at the back compared to a direct drive. However, for a family looking for one boat that will let them open water ski, and chase wake sports in the afternoon, a crossover is a good compromise. The shorter length of the RZR makes it easy to tow and store.
Tigé takes a unique approach to creating surf wakes with its AVX system which actually extends the hull when deployed rather than just adding a wing on the side. They say this pushes the surf wake back a few more feet and extends it.
To learn more about the Tigé RZR you can visit www.tige.com.
There’s more to come from the Utah Boat Show, so subscribe to Weekend Water Skier through iTunes, Stitcher, Miro, DoubleTwist, or your favorite pod catcher.
Please leave your comments or questions about this episode in the comments section below.
Utah Water Sports brought a MasterCraft ProStar to our lake on Memorial Day for members to try out. (This was the same boat I saw at the Utah Boat Show in Episode 18.) I took a try with my neighbor, brother, and sister-in-law.
I don’t know how many marriages or serious relationships have ended in a paddle boat, but I know mine nearly did a few years ago. I tried to share an experience that I had loved at an amusement park as a tween with my wife on a vacation. #fail. I don’t know if we were fighting currents in the ocean, or if there was algae wrapped around the propeller, but either way I got mad at her for not pedaling and she got equally mad at me.
I finally found the solution to save marriages at the Utah Boat Show this year. That’s right a marriage saver at the boat show.
In other words, if you surprised your significant other with a new boat this year, you may want to also add this to the surprise mix. It may just do the trick.
I’m talking about the Go Float electric boat. These cute sun-lounges cum electric “paddle boats” are a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon off shore. They cruise along at a leisurely five miles-per-hour for hours on end. So, instead of arguing about who is pedaling and who is not for five minutes before heading back to the beach, you and a loved one can escape from the kids and your responsibilities on shore while you slowly bake in the sun while the electric motor takes you away, like so much Calgon in a modern world.
What does this have to do with water skiing? Just about nothing. But I loved it. It was recommended as a tender boat for your houseboat or yacht. (For those lucky enough to have one of those.) In fact, it was set up alongside some of the larger boats shown this year for just that purpose. It could also be an alternative diversion at a lake house, much like a paddle board on a private lake.
So, the next time an argument threatens your marriage, head quickly over to Go Float to find a way to save it.*
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the series of episodes from the Utah Boat Show. I certainly enjoyed bringing them to you.
Keeping with the relationship theme in this episode, you may want to consider the Utah Boat Show as a place to get a valentine’s gift for someone you love. You can find everything from $5 Scentsy candle (sold by a friend of mine) to a $500,000 yacht. Whatever your budget, there is something that will fit it.
Give me some feedback on what you thought of this episode in the comments section below.
*I am not a marriage therapist, and this recommendation has not been tested as a relationship aid. Your results may vary. (I know that mine certainly would.) Please consult a licensed therapist before applying this advice in your own marriage or long-term relationship.
In the “completely unexpected” category at the Utah Boat Show this year was Pavati Boats. A V-drive wakeboard boat is not unexpected in itself at a boat show. In fact, that may have been the most common type of boat that I saw this year. What made Pavati stand out to me was their naked boat. It was a model in production that showed the plain aluminum that made up the hull and tower.
Pavati won the lottery for interview with technical issues, and I thank them for their patience as I returned for a second interview.
Their boats are made in Oregon, entirely of aluminum. They have a solid feel and look to be bomb-proof tough. They say they cut significant weight over a fiberglass boat, and add amazing durability at the same time. Visually it is hard to tell their finished product apart from a fiberglass boat; I mean that as a compliment on the quality finish they have put into it.
It is an intriguing idea, and I think they’ve made a solid first generation product. I don’t think that it’s perfect yet, but the idea has promise. I can see this at Lake Powell where you may have to beach your boat on sand or sandstone. With this hull, you would never need to worry about damage from beaching. And because it’s welded, it basically becomes a single piece construction that won’t get shaken apart bounding through waves.
This won’t be my next boat, but it is a realistic contender as a cross-over boat for the whole family – especially when they bring their 21 foot boat to market.
In case you’ve missed it in the last few episodes, the Utah Boat Show set me up with a Press Pass for the show in 2014. I want to give them thanks and credit for their generosity. I am also excited to see what is coming in 2015 for the 50th annual edition of the Utah Boat Show. I hope to see you there.
I’ve included a few interviews that I was able to get with people attending the show in this episode. It turns out that bringing the family to the boat show is a great way to instill a love of boating and water skiing in a new generation. Or to create a dream to work toward.
Drop me a line in the comments below to let me know what you thought of this episode or share an idea for a future episode. I’d love to hear from you.
If you haven’t heard that MasterCraft has (finally) updated their Prostar, you’ve been hiding under a rock. They’ve not kept their new design a secret. I had my first chance to get into one of these dream machines at the Utah Boat Show this year.
While trying to get an interview about this boat with Marcus Brown, I had to get in line behind two other groups who were ogling the beauty of the new Prostar. As I listened to their conversations and sat in the boat I was hit by how spacious it felt. We’re talking wake board boat style space in a twenty-foot-nothing direct drive. I think that a lot of this is due to the wider beam that makes the walkways truly walkable. It also ties to not devoting so much space at the back to ski storage.
The cockpit is very approachable for both a guy over 6′ tall and a woman under 5’6″. In fact, my sister-in-law told me that her first question was about a seat bolster and she was told she wouldn’t need one. As she sat down and looked ahead, she realized that this was correct. The lower dash makes it drivable without a bolster for even shorter drivers. You can hear more about the boat in the interview.
Marcus Brown was quick to recognize the amazing engineering patience that was required to create this boat, talking about the engineers’ spending hours to create a new design, build a mold and create the prototype, just to find after mere minutes on the water that it had to be scrapped.
In the podcast I share a story about my daughter and Marcus Brown. I want to share another story about him here. While Marcus was signing HO product catalogs at the show, a little girl – maybe five years old – came back to him with her catalog that he had signed a few minutes earlier, with her mother in tow. This cute girl held the catalog out, and matter-of-factly told Marcus, “You didn’t include your phone number.” Marcus, and everyone else around, just cracked up. The mother tried, with little success, to explain that this was only her daughter’s request and not hers. Marcus kindly looked at this girl and said, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you my email address. That’s just about as good.” He then added that to her book and left her with a big smile.
I want to thank my friends at Utah Water Sports – our MasterCraft dealer in Utah – for letting me lurk around their booth for so long while I waited for an interview with Marcus Brown. I also want to thank them for being brave enough to pre-order in some of the Prostars. Typically in Utah you have to buy a direct drive boat based on magazine reviews because the dealers here don’t move enough to warrant having one in stock. I’d love to personally help them move one of these out of their inventory, but even if that’s not possible, I’d love for one of my listeners to get one of the beautiful Prostars that they’ve ordered in. Check out their selection at http://www.utahwatersports.com.
Again, my thanks to the Utah Boat Show for getting me a press pass to record these interviews on the show floor. Their generosity is much appreciated. If you can make it in 2015, that will be the 50th running of this boat show. I’m excited to be a part of that when it comes around.
Drop me a comment below with your thoughts on this episode, good or bad. Or email me to let me know. I’d also love to hear your ideas for future episodes.