Making Old Boats New Again

Making Old Boats New Again

Boat Wraps
Cover the boat you have with the design you want

With boat prices always going up, many boat owners are looking for ways to make an older boat seem new again. The cost of making your old boat look or feel new is less that you may think, and can really be dramatic.

Boat Wraps

At the Utah Boat Show in 2017 I stopped to talk with TBD Graphics. They do wraps for boats. As we talked he showed me a number of different wrap styles that people have put on their boats. These designs range from simple stripes and wave designs, to corporate logos, and full sponsorship packages. These wraps start under $1,000 and go up with complexity and bigger boat sizes. We discussed that they wrap everything from new boats when owners just want to stand out from the crowd to old boats looking for a new lease on life.

Prop Repair

Damaged your prop? Repair or replace is always the question

For as long as there have been power boats, there has been propeller damage. I think that there are two rites of passage for new boat owners: trying to sink you boat by launching without the drain plugs, and damaging you prop somehow. If you haven’t done both of these, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve only skied behind a buddy’s boat.

So, as soon as you damage your propeller the first response is to look for a new one. However, there are companies who can repair your damaged props in most cases. As I spoke with Perfect Pitch Propellers, we talked about how they determine whether to repair or replace a propeller. I was amazed at how much damage they can repair for less than the cost of a new propeller.

If you live in Utah, Perfect Pitch Propellers is a great place to look after you damage your propeller. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that your repair shop is sending your prop to them to get it fixed.

If you live outside of Utah, look around for your local repair shop. They can do amazing things to get your boat running like it did before you met that submerged obstacle.


TBD Graphics

Perfect Pitch Propellers

Background Music

Path of No Return by Lobo Loco on or directly from their site at

HO Water Skis 2017 Lineup

HO Water Skis

It is always a pleasure to talk with Joe Sassenrath at the Utah Boat Show. This year was no exception. Joe took me through some of the ways HO is working to make water skiing more accessible and easier for people at all levels. Despite the amazing things at the top of the line this year, I was more impressed hearing about HO’s commitment to grow skiing at the entry level rather than accepting that surfing and boarding are dominating the industry right now.

Syndicate VTX

HO’s top-of-the-line ski this year is a work of art. From the spining along the boot area, to the pencil-thin tail area. They’ve taken out every bit of ski that’s not necessary and slimmed it to a razor’s edge. Joe and I talked about the reasons behind this design. Oh, and did you notice that the name is an homage to their top ski from a couple of decades ago?

Freeride EVO

Maybe HO’s most exciting ski for the masses this year is the EVO. This is a ski that HO has designed specifically to run behind the larger boats being sold for surfing, and behind more traditional stern-drive boats with larger wakes. The ski is built to flex more and absorb rough water and wakes easier than almost anything else on the water. You an flex the tail by pushing the ski down. And this isn’t just I think I see a few millimeters of movement. No. This is I saw that ski bend several inches while Joe pushed on it flex. HO says this makes the ski very forgiving and easy to ride. While most skis on the market have a foam core, this ski uses a wood core, similar to those found in most snow skis.

Syndicate Hardshell Boot

Getting back to the high end of the line, HO has partnered with Reflex to bring out a new Syndicate Hardshell boot system. They are using Refex’s release mechanism paired with a more stylish toe connection. Underneath that, HO has created a footbed that cradles the boot to eliminate any slop between your foot and the ski. With this, any movement you put into your foot moves directly to the ski.


HO Water Sports

Syndicate VTX

Freeride EVO

Syndicate Hardshell Boot System


Background Music

Path of No Return by Lobo Loco on or directly from their site at

2010 Malibu Response LXi for Sale

2010 Malibu Response LXi for Sale

Update: We were successful in selling our Malibu Response LXi. I almost teared up as I watched it drive away attached to someone else’s SUV. Thank your for the interest and comments.

After seven seasons of enjoying our 2010 Malibu Response LXi, we are selling it. There, I said it. Sometimes it’s not easy to part with a great boat even when you know there’s another on the horizon. Selling our boat is that way.

We bought this boat to be a no-compromises ski machine with a few compromises for tubing and wake boarding. I know; that makes no sense. We had been in a Wakesetter VLX when we found ourselves on a private lake with a slalom course. It didn’t take much to realize that even though we had thought the Wakesetter was a good ski boat, we wanted more. Well, actually we wanted less.We wanted less wake. We wanted less width. We wanted less open-water. We wanted a ski boat – a thoroughbred meant to do one thing well.

As we looked at the options, we realized that despite wanting to be able to ski better – because a boat will make you do that, right? – we also needed to be aware that we had families who would want to do things other than hard-core buoy bagging. As a result we landed on the Malibu Response LXi. With the Power Wedge option, we could put up enough wake for the level of wake boarding we would need. It wasn’t a pro-level wake, but it kept our beginner to intermediate level friends happy, especially when we linked it up with a tower. Sure, both of these options added a few pounds to the boat, but it turned out to make very little difference in the skiing and open up a lot more use of the boat. As we put it together, this was the logical progression from a V-drive to a direct-drive boat. We could have the best of both worlds, with the focus more on skiing. 

Changing Needs

But after seven seasons and 357 engine hours, we find our needs changing again, so we bid farewell to this amazing boat. The tower creates some great storage possibilities, but with a private dock we don’t keep that much on the boat. So, I’ve often forgotten the storage under the seats and under the dash. The stereo – including the tower-mounted speakers – is amazing, but our forays onto the water are short enough that we don’t take the time to fire up the Sirius or connect an iPod most of the time.

Our History

This boat has gotten us through early- and late-season runs with the cabin heater and heated driver seat. The ZeroOff speed control has let us focus on improving as skiers and drivers rather than fidgeting with the throttle all the time. (And I should mention has given my wife the confidence to pull me.) We’ve found that our focus on skiing has pulled us away from using the MaliView presets for wake boarding or wake surfing, even though they are sitting right there for us to use.

Forgotten, but Loved

I rarely have thought about the Monsoon 350 engine that powers the boat. I just know that it pulls me up quickly and has been a stable companion for all seven years. I can only think of a few times when we’ve had to open up the cover to remember the engine at all. One has been to replace an impeller – a DIY project with a $20 part from the dealership – and the other has been to open up the quick-release drains on the engine during cold weather so we can push the season just that extra few weeks into October or November. Beyond hat we’ve just let the dealership take care of the annual oil change, winterization – and what should I call it summerization? de-winterization? – each year.


I guess we’ve babied this boat the whole time we’ve owned it. After every use it gets a rub down with Babes despotting solution. It’s stored above the water line at the dock all summer, and in a temperature controlled garage all winter. The mooring and travel cover has kept the dirt and dust out. It doesn’t look its age. The silver metallic accents in the gel coat still sparkle. The black is still stark. The white is still vivid. About the only place you can see some age is a bit of discoloring on the sun deck over the ski locker. Maybe that’s one reason it’s hard to let go of this boat. It seems like it’s newer than it is.


When we first picked this boat up one of the first things we noticed was the amazing trailer. It has the full lighting package, chrome accents (that still shine today)  and some sweet low-profile tires that just catch your eye. The surge brakes, swing away tongue,  and full-size spare tire were icing on the cake. It definitely complimented

This is the boat that I used to first run the full slalom course. This is the boat that my brother and nephew each trained on to enter their first competition. This is the only boat my son has ever known, and the only boat my daughter can remember. We’ve taken it on week-long vacations to Lake Powell. We’ve used it for church youth outings. But recently, we’ve kept it in the safe confines of a private ski lake where it never journeys far from its dock.

Your Turn

I guess that it’s been a part of the family that’s pulled the rest of our family closer together. And now it can be that for your family as well.

I guess that what I mean when I say, “2010 Malibu Response LXi for Sale.” I want for this boat to continue to bring a family and their friends closer together. I want it to help someone else take their skiing to the next level. I want it to continue to be loved  and used for years to come by someone who wants to get a great boat at a great price.

So, there, I said it, “2010 Malibu Response LXi for Sale.”

Liquid Lumens Under Water Lights

Liquid Lumens Boat Lighting

At the Utah Boat Show I had the chance to learn about Liquid Lumens underwater lighting systems. Liquid Lumens uses a patent pending lens and power conversion system to get more light shining out the back of your boat than other lighting systems on the market today. What this means is that you can see your skier, boarder, or surfer longer as the sun goes down.

At one point in the interview we talked about their top-side lighting system and I commented on how bright it was. At that point, Rob turned the light up and let me know that the lights were fully dimmable, and that he’d been holding back on the output. The lights really were bright.

Liquid Lumens offers three underwater light options. Each comes with two lights and an installation kit. If you’re mechanically inclined you could probably do the installation yourself, or you may want to have your favorite boat mechanic do it for you.

You can find more information about Liquid Lumens in the Links below.

Utah Boat Show

The Utah Boat Show is going on at the time this episode is published, February 9 – 12, 2017. This year I’m again looking for unique products for water skiers and boaters. I’ve also seen some companies and people who I’ve interviewed in the past including UFloat, Dave Scadden Paddle Boards, and Defy Waterflight.

After the listener feedback I received about making water skiing more affordable, I’m also looking at the various options for affordable boats – or lack of options. I’ll bring a wrap up of that toward the end of the Boat Show episodes.


Liquid Lumens

Liquid Lumens on Facebook

Utah Boat Show

Utah Boat Show on Facebook

Background Music

Path of No Return by Lobo Loco on or directly from their site at

Splash Mermaid Tails

Mermaids at the Lake?

Humor me here; I have a young daughter. Sometimes we say that she swims like a fish. But, I never knew that she could look like a fish as well until I met Oyuky Diaz, founder of Splash Mermaid Tails.

Splash Mermaid Tails

My attention was drawn to the bright colors and patterns in a booth at the Utah Boat Show earlier this year. This was not the standard insurance agent or jewelry cleaner that so often show up. This was something new. Something fun. There were mermaid tails and shark fins all over the booth.

As I talked with Oyuky, I learned about the various designs. All of the tails are designed for swimming. She says that they are safe to swim in, and can actually make a swimmer faster since they’re swinging a full fin instead of two measly legs. She showed me how they are easy to slip on an off when entering or exiting a pool or lake. Then we looked at the dozens of sparkling patterns and colors. It was a good thing that my wife wasn’t there to approve a purchase, or I would have walked out with a few right then.

Shark Fins

Then Oyuky showed me something for the boys, like my own son. She makes a neoprene-covered shark fin that they can strap on their backs and imitate the great predator of the deep around the pool or lake. (Just a note, I wouldn’t recommend using these fins in the ocean.) The fins provide a little floatation, but are not meant to be flotation aids.

The booth was a fun break after the vendor trying to convince me to buy a forever lacquer – or wax or something odd – to seal my boat against spray paint.


Splash Mermaid Tails

Quietite Receiver Hitch

Quietite Receiver Hitch

When you think about it, you attach a boat and trailer that can be worth tens of thousands to over a hundred thousand dollars to a towing vehicle itself worth tens of thousands of dollars with really just a half-inch metal pin – costing only about ten dollars – to hold them together. Are you nervous yet? When I put it that way, even I’m nervous, and I only have to tow my boat twice a year.

What is the Quietite Hitch?

sbm-7-5k-2-c-pcQuietite has created an inventive solution that solves two problems associated with towing. The first issue is the rattle you hear with your hitch insert hanging around empty. It’s just rattling around back there being annoying. This is the smaller solution, but one that you will immediately notice. Through the unique locking mechanism that they’ve devised, the receiver hitch insert wedges securely into place eliminating all rattling. Actually now that I think about it, to my dad this may be the bigger of the two solutions: he hates rattles on his cars.

The second, and probably more critical solution is making the connection between your towing vehicle and your trailer more secure. While every hitch insert in the past has been held in place with just that single metal pin, the Quietite Hitch actually uses the wedging action of their design to attach the hitch mount securely to the vehicle. While they don’t recommend removing the pin, the design makes the pin almost a secondary security measure.

An Elegant Solution

Making both of these solutions happen with just a few twists of one bolt is an amazing and elegant solution. Even more elegant is the fact that when you’re ready to remove the hitch insert, just a few turns of the same bolt will loosen the wedged hitch making it easy to remove again. When you think about the money you spend on either side of the receiver hitch, it really makes the idea of spending a few dollars ON the receiver hitch seem like not only a reasonable, but sound idea.

Now, if they could just do something about the pain when I bang my shin on the receiver…


Quietite Hitch


Share the love poll

Thinking about ways to help this sport of ours grow led me to a question that I would love to get your answers to:

I’d love to see your comments below about how you shared the sport and the results.

Radar Water Skis 2016 with Chris Sullivan

Radar Vapor 2016

Radar continued pushing the top end of their performance line in 2016 with all new Vapor skis as well as trickle-down updates to the Senate. The Vapor comes in four varieties of differing construction and performance. You can hear more about these in the interview with Chris.

Bent Vee Line

17_rdr_butter_knife_baseOne complaint that water skiers have is that we can only carve so many turns before we’re exhausted. While good conditioning can extend that by a pass or two, modern skis designed to carve hard at top performance do demand a lot from the skier. That is one reason why Radar created their Bent Vee line of skis, including the Butter Knife and Katana. These skis have a radically different design. They are more hourglass-shaped with a very flat profile through the mid-section. They are designed to be easy up, easy riding skis that can still be a lot of fun for riders of all abilities. Chris was really proud of the work Radar did to create this line this year. This new line slots in where the Radar Theory used to reside.

Chris Sullivan

Chris Sullivan has been a great representative for Radar Skis for several years, but recently he has moved on, making this the last interview I will get to have with him at Radar. I want to thank Chris for his openness toward me and toward all of the skiers I have seen him interact with over the years.


Radar Skis

Koastline Katapult

What is the Koastline Katapult?

If you can’t water ski all week long, then try out the Koastline Katapult. If you want to find out how good spell check is, just try spelling that like the inventors chose to do. Every time I spell it with the letter K at the start of the words, my computer corrects it to Coastline Catapult. I may well pull my hair out by the time I’m done writing about this.

The Koastline Katapult is an inflatable water toy that you float off the back of a house boat or dock. The fun comes in rolling out to the far end, then having a friend jump onto the Koastline Katapult which launches you into the air and drops you into the water.

Kenny Gallegos says that the Koastline Katapultt only takes about 20 minutes to inflate, then provides a whole week of entertainment on the water.

While this is not a water skiing device, it is a great way to get other people off the boat – or off the lake – so that you can get some better water and some time for skiing. Or, if you’ve had all the skiing your body will take for the day, then you, too, can leap onto the Koastline Katapult, roll out to the end, and fly through the air before you cool off and do it again.

If you want to see what this is all about, check out the video below:


Koastline Katapult (the link may be down, but it is the only official contact that I have)

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