Boating Industry

November 2016

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November 2016 | Boating Industry | 43 /// Market Trends /// particularly for younger families. And that's criti- cal, because if you think of it, getting a teenager into a boat and away from the video games is a huge win on every level. We're seeing it happen because of features like enhanced electronic inte- gration, great sound systems, and ease of opera- tion, making it easy to dial in that perfect wake." The boom in wakesurfing is not only driving sales by attracting new boaters to water sports, it is also driving sales within the tow boat category, as skiers and wakeboarders trade in their existing tow boat for a new one that's better suited to wakesurfing. "The perception that the segment has ben- efited from wakesurfing is true," said Correct Craft president and CEO Bill Yeargin. "Many of the tow boat segment's previous customers are switching from wakeboarding to wakesurfing. In my opinion, the tow boat market is made up of highly brand-loyal enthusiasts who appreciate the innovation, quality and performance of tow boats. Probably the biggest part of that range are families who are looking for a great way to spend time together." Enter the challengers Perhaps the strongest evidence of the impor- tance of wakesurfing can be seen in the number of non-tow boat manufacturers who have re- cently added surf edition models to their line- ups, built around Volvo Penta's Forward Drive system. Manufacturers actively promote their new wake edition product as an affordable way of trying wakesurfing while still having a tradi- tional, versatile family boat that can do many other things. "It's not a one-trick pony," said Cobalt CEO Paxson St. Clair. "We've had tremendous feed- back from our dealers on the success they've had with our new Surf Series product with the Volvo Penta Forward Drives. Now, the surf boats rep- resent about one-third of our production, and we're forecasting it to be almost half of our pro- duction as we move forward." Starcraft has also enjoyed strong support for its new surf boat, fueled in part by a "learn to surf" clinic the company offered at its 2016 dealer meeting so that dealers could experience the product first-hand. "The response has been simply overwhelm- ing," said Peter Barrett, senior vice president of marketing and corporate development for parent company Smoker Craft Inc. "The dealers were incredibly enthusiastic, especially after trying it Malibu believes the wakesurfing trend is "just getting started."

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