You'll remember back to my first article titled Welcome to the Front Page, that I said I was tired of trying to hammer our oblonged shape of RDP into an round or a square peg. That's going to lead me into this article titled "Less than Professional."

The other day I had a very long conversation with Jeff (Havasu Hangin) on the phone, and we talked about all kinds of various subjects about the forums and the last 10-11 years of us posting on them and the changes over the years. We talked about a lot about forum dynamics, we talked a lot about the old days, we did indeed talk a lot about myself and how I've changed and "toned it down" persay over the years. He alluded to the fact that maybe I have sold out a bit to the industry types, and posted as much, that I'm not seeking the truth behind every boat like I once was. Most importantly he said if I was gonna be "that guy" I needed to be more neutral as a would be journalist. To the point less prone to praise those that advertise but rather to judge those who do and those who don't equally. The argument basically saying I was giving too much praise to DCB and not enough to Outerlimits with regard to their SV-29. A legit argument on his side..

He regarded (and I do as well) the idea that the new Outerlimits 29 is a legit "game changer." The boat runs faster then 98% of the cats with the same Horsepower, is light enough to be pulled with a 1/2 ton, and rugged enough to be run in the open ocean or your local lake. To factor in it's a Vee bottom with a cabin and all the bonuses (including slow speed handling) that come with that is ridiculous. This is one of the biggest things to hit the marine industry in the midsized market period point blank.

That's all fine and dandy, but my argument in return is, I have never been in or driven the new Outerlimits SV-29. Outerlimits hasn't sent me any press releases to put up regarding the boat. I missed my opportunity to take a spin in it last Desert Storm, And I haven't made an appointment to hook up with OuterLimits and go out and check it out. The "specs" are certainly there, but it's hard to be enthusiastic and write from the heart about something you've seen at a distance and never experienced. At least that's my feelings on the subject. I hope to rectify that situation with regard to the OuterLimits SV-29 and perhaps some other models soon, and I'll put myself at the mercy of the factory when I call them next week to see what we can arrange.

What I will say is this, I'm just a boater no different then a lot of guys on here or OSO, or PB etc.. I have been very fortunate to grow up around boats, and I have been lucky to take a pass or drive just about anything and everything on the block with regard to different types of boats in the performance world at one time or another. If I go for a ride or drive a boat and the boat is bitchen it's hard for me not to get excited about it. This has nothing to do with them advertising on here or not. A boat is going to fall into one of four simple categories for me.. It's going to suck, be mediocre, be great, or be a flat out "game changer." It's important to note that the last category there "game changer" would be reserved for a couple of boats I've ever ridden in, in my life. Something that is so bad ass, and literally excels in every category where you would expect it to fail. In my experience even the greats have their short comings for the most part. (Bonus points to the old school forum members that remember one of my old boats "Short Cummings") It's damn near impossible to setup a boat to be great at everything.

The industry "media professionals" lost me a long time ago. Their credibility is nonexistant with me. It's not even the testers that are the problem in my eyes, who knows what they write because we'll never see it. It's the idea that you can read review after review, and if you were to take the manufacturers names out of the article, and swap pictures they are the same article regurgitated page after page.

If you don't believe me try it for yourself.. Cross out the names of a mfg in ANY article and read it and see if you can tell me what boat it is.. Hell we'll make it easier, even what kind of boat it is? Cat / Vee / Center Console? The odds are ridiculously high that no matter what article you chose you won't be able too. I've been reading that same article for half my life.

It's the same old formula that we as boaters are expected to swallow "The gauges were laid out in a very visible fashion, the Eddie Marine shifter was color matched to the rest of the trim. The boat came on plane with minimal bowrise and our test team was very excited about that (does anybody really care about bow rise?), and the boat performed flawlessly in less then perfect conditions. Yeah yeah yeah.. This one time at boat camp.. The only thing of substance left is the tech and the pics. Which is fine if you know that going in.

Here's what I can tell you, lately RDP has been taking some rides in some boats, and I do a write up of the overall experience. I wouldn't call it a "test" because I'm not putting the boat through some scientific set of circumstances. I'm just telling the story of the experience. That's not to say we couldn't, and hell I'm even considering doing it. I know some of the top tier manufacturers would be all over it (and some have told me as much) because in most of the circumstances if their getting the dollars a top tier brand commands their boats do excel where they want them too and are built to the nth degree.

I look at myself though and ask "What would qualify me to make a judgement call on xyz boat?" "What qualifications do I have to be considered a boat tester?" Sure I've driven a lot of different boats and styles over the years. Yes I took the Tres Martin course for performance driving. Yes I've crawled through enough engine bays to at least half way know what's what? Sure I've owned a few and know what I like and don't like.

The interesting thing though about those questions isn't what happens when you apply them to me. The interesting facet of those very questions is what happens when you apply them to the "Industry professionals?" What school did they go to? What certification do any of these guys have? Other than this guy said this guy?

That kind of leads us down this deep dark rabbit hole of not only qualifications, but more importantly conflicts of interest? If you owned a company and you were testing one or some of your best customers products.. Would you be inclined to give an "honest" review of any potential short comings of a product in that scenario? C'mon.. The whole thing gets thrown out the window on the lack of credibility alone. If you really think about it though it goes a lot deeper then that. The picture becomes clear that a small group of guys literally with their hands around the neck of the entire performance marine industry. Get into the idea that maybe some people aren't part of the good old boy network, or didn't bow down to it, or purchased the wrong parts from the wrong guy and you get into a whole different dynamic of BS.

So here's what I'll say, I'm not sure if I'm going to get into testing boats or not, but I will write what I feel is an accurate account of what the experience was like. Will I bash on a boat that isn't king of the hill? Our magic 8 ball is pointing towards "most likely not." Common sense dictates there's only one "king of the hill" so does that make everything else junk? No.

More to the point, I have the same problem that they have, we need the advertising to survive just as other media outlets do. Here is what I will do for the consumer though, if we film the boat I'll put the footage up of the ride so you can make your own judgement calls. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to do this yet, because there's multiple camera angles, and "syncing" footage etc, but I'm working on it. I think some of those split screen ATC Chameleons are in my near future. In the meantime though as far as text goes, I wouldn't praise any aspect of a boat unless I genuinely meant it. That's more then you are going to find anywhere else.

I hope you guys enjoy the videos and the write ups. Looking forward to your comments.