Reluctantly prying myself off the high-performance docks of the 2019 Miami International Boat Show for the RDP feature profile on the powerboat game changers, it’s time to take a peek back at a medley of eight of Miami's "best-of” booths and discoveries from my random roaming along the nine piers and through the indoor pavilion halls.

It’s just over a week since the undisputed MacDaddy of marine exhibitions dismantled production and departed Key Biscayne, yet it remains the talk of the town in South Florida and continues to make breaking news across the nation (and beyond).

Hence, on a jumbo wooden bar stool at Gilberts Tiki Bar in Key Largo this past Sunday afternoon with a raspberry mojito embedded in my left hand, there I sat vigilantly sorting through the “besties” from the 16GB of images on my Canon camera, and reminiscing about what stood out.

1. Florida Powerboat Club – Happiest Booth

No visit to this yearly event is complete until hunting down F-tent booth number 606 positioned in a great spot generating lots of traffic towards the front of the tent. Here you will find Stu Jones and the Florida Powerboat Club which celebrates its 25th year in operation. The FPC wins my vote for “happiest booth” because once the mega marine affair is over everyone is still smiling -- and for good reason! Participating club members get to repack their Samsonite wheelies just three days later for the club's traditional Miami Boat Show Poker Run down to Key Largo, where many members splash their new "investments" for the first time.

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2. Hardin Marine Performance – Brightest Bling

Warning… slip on your Ray-Bans before entering. The Hardin Marine Performance display took home the brightest bling title with its presentation of gorgeous Italian-mastered steering wheels, gauges, LED indicator lights, stainless-steel offerings, throttles, cables and the endless list of top-shelf, multi-colored goodies goes on. Look below this text to see who from Havasu made an appearance at the Hardin booth

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3. Silwy Magnetic Drinkware -- Best New Product

In full disclosure, I am impartial to all things German and FC Bayern München, my beloved soccer team hails from Bavaria where this company is located, but leave it to these engineering geniuses to introduce anti-spill magnetic drinkware and anti-slip mats which prevent your beverage from sliding or tumbling over on board. Its vertical display in the open-air J Tent across from the water taxi departure stand had me returning several times just to keep picking up the glasses and putting them back on the magnetic mats. I’m still easily entertained!

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4. Sea Ray – Most Innovative Boat Launch

It may not wear the name tag of a high-performance watercraft, but hands-down, the winner for the most innovative boat launch is awarded to Sea Ray for its SLX-R immersive experience that made me feel as if I was stepping into a Star Wars sci-fi movie set. Rolling out the red carpet and velvet rope, in order to witness the special in-water SLX-R reveal guests entered an air-conditioned dark-room complete with LED lighting and private DJ in the middle of the Sea Ray floating dock.

Marketing executive Sara Moore who invited me to the showing was proud to highlight the racing package for the limited edition model which comes with twin 400-hp Verados. Once inside the viewing area, a short video was broadcast in four areas overhead from Sea Ray president Brad Anderson pertaining to the 350 SLX-R design and performance features.

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5. Midnight Express -- Most Attractive Hosts

Miami, one of the hottest cities in the world is home to the most beautiful and exotic people on the planet. Midnight Express took that statement to heart and its four smiling hosts on the dock were not only pleasing to the human eye, but were also very kind and inviting. Heck, they let me poke around snapping photos on board five of their luxury center consoles from bow to stern and cabin to cockpit.

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6. Adrenaline Powerboats -- Best New Boat Exhibitor to Miami

When prominent men’s magazine Maxim selects one of your speedsters -- the 47 ZRC Carbon Series -- as one of its choices for the top five sexiest speedboats from the show… and it is also the company's first time exhibiting, Adrenaline Powerboats was a must-add and wins best new boat exhibitor. The Georgia based boat designers debuted two CAD design, 5 axis CNC-machined aquatic showstoppers.

The 47 ZRX, a yellow and silver twin Mercury Racing 1100 engine powered V-bottom runs 135 mph at wide-open whack and its equally aesthetic sister the 45-Speede comes equipped with a retractable sun-pad and swim platform. Two additional noteworthy points about Adrenaline Powerboats -- all its electronical products are fully developed in-house and more impressive yet were the American Made One Nation Under God plaques in the boats. Pure class!

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7. Best Show Tattoo

The American reality show Miami Ink had nothing to do with it, but yes there is a new category -- best show tattoo! Have you contemplated inking up a highly visible part of your body with an offshore rocket from your big-boy toy closet? One New Jersey native in town for the show took the plunge right down his front arm. Meet the winner, a faithful Scarab owner and OPA boat racer -- Tim Vander Berg. I bet he would have never imagined he would be modeling his arm for RDP Miami Show photo-op.

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8. Moët Chandon – Best Cart on Wheels

Wrapping up the list on a whimsical lighter note (well it is a boat show not a NATO Summit so it’s allowed), from tats to frothy bubbles we go. Maybe a new trend for the millennial that is too busy to wait in a line, but Moët Chandon currently comes to you via a golden wheelie cart at the show. Can life get any sweeter?

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Words: Dina Rella
Images: Dina Rella
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