It's interesting to sit back and watch the trends of boaters from the sidelines. Ten or eleven years ago if you had a deck boat people on the lake and the river would look at you sideways like you were driving a "pontoon" or something. That
quickly changed as the Conquest got more popular as a deck with Cat type performance and lots of other manufacturers capitalized on Nescher's vision by coming out with their own versions (almost all with the same "Talon" bottom) very rapidly. The Pontoon manufacturers got wise to the idea that a lot of people wanted to be able to run their boats up on the beach and not have to worry about gel coat repairs and the other problems that come with a traditional fiberglass hull. Their only issue was astro turf and cheap vinyl seats weren't going to cut it for this market. They quickly made adjustments and ditched the idea of a whiskey tango patio, and brought in carpet that would be at home in most living rooms. They now have couches with plush vinyl and other materials soft enough that when you are sitting on them, the thoughts of "Lazy Boy" recliners come to mind more than boat seating.

2012 playcraft2800.jpg
This brought in the pontoon craze about six years ago where a lot of go fast boaters were either adding a Pontoon to their fleet or outright replacing their go fasts with a "Toon." The idea that the performance crowd quickly got bored with the 25-35 mph boats wasn't lost on such companies as PlayCraft, and they started popping 496HO's in them and rattling off some borderline "startling" performance numbers and our crowd of performance boaters ate them up. This has now evolved into something that even Willy Wonka couldn't have pictured with pontoons featuring full bars on the back of them, often with twin outboards capable of running into the high 70's and even 80's, with every kind of little blingy gadget that would make even Steve Jobs take a step back in amazement.

The performance guys have finally come full circle and have come up with a unique hybrid of boat to "lure"
(pun intended) their customers back to their facilities. What a lot of the performance manufacturers have done is taken an aging center console style and injected new blood into it by offering, the Performance and sexiness of a Vee with the party and functionality of a deck. In short these new hybrids are the latest trend, and people all over the country are quickly jumping on it. I spoke to several guys that were either trading in there 150+ mph cats for Center Consoles, or adding a center console to their fleet, all of them cited the pure functionality of the boats as the reason.

There is basically four types that I witnessed in Miami on the market now.
1. The die hard Fish boat, which is a Center Console that is purely setup for fishing, tournaments etc..
2. The Fishing Center Console with enough comfort that you can go out and party on it with your friends and pull double duty as a fish boat.
3. The Performance mfg that is jumping into the center console market with a double duty "fish / party" boat with nicer interiors and performance style rigging than typical of a fish boat.
4. The straight up Party boat.. Nobody is going to fish on this, because it simply isn't built for it. This may resemble the first three at first glance, but there's cup holders where rod holders should be, and the Tower is something for lighting / speakers instead of a second helm etc..

Now for those guys that are scratching their heads and wondering if "RDP" is about to become a fishing site, the answer is no, and I don't blame you for wondering it after reading all of that. My heart still lies with the whine of a v-drive, the whistle of the turbo's, the scream of a blower, and as the summer draws near we will be doing everything that we have done in the past, but even better with regard to coverage, and articles / videos etc.. This is a trend though that nobody else seems to be getting "ahead of" and momma didn't raise no fool as it were. We will be launching a sister site to RDP called "" that will host most of this content into the future as it starts growing.

written by RiverDave