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Old School Tahiti Boats Brochure

old rigger

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Came across this brochure today as I'm kinda, maybe close to picking up another old, and hopefully last, Tahiti project. Brought back a ton of memories seeing these pages. Found it on a Hydro Stream owners site of all places.

This had to be '72 as there are no bubble decks yet, they would come in late '73 and in '71 Tahiti moved into this giant brand new shop that butted right up to the 605 freeway.

Looks like who ever owned this brochure got a quote for $1495.00 for a new boat.

Yes, I'm well aware how Tahiti is looked upon now but that's the shop I grew up in. Certainly not as cool as if I had grown up in the Schiada shop, my uncle worked there in the 60s, but I loved almost every minute of it. I've said it before but when I was a kid and the first shop was a block away from our house, going there was better than going to Disneyland to me. I couldn't believe my dad worked in this fucking amazing atmosphere with the sounds and smells (god I love the smell of resin) and I never in a million years thought I'd ever be able to do what he and the other riggers did. It seemed a monumental job to rig a boat to my 10 year old mind.

Anyway, I've worked in shops that built worse boats and quite a few that built better but this was fun fun fun.

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This is the original 16 that started the Tahiti name for Schuster boats in late '64 early '65. He also built Performer and Tropicana boats under the Schuster Custom Boats name before selling the biz. He stayed on as president.


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The infamous 'Toad'

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The larger 'Toad' in the Marine Stadium with the tower in the background that displayed MPH and ET for the boat drags.

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A Winter's worth of boat building in preparation for sales starting in April. All outboards, of course, and the boats on the left are Torinos waiting for their windshields to be installed.

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One of my first jobs at the new building was to unload engines, Chevys, Fords and Oldsmobiles. The Olds out sold the other 2 combined. Cheaper.
That engines in the pic are about a weeks worth.
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This rack was visible, the 16's standing on their transoms were too, as the North side of the shop was wide open. This is how Schuster kept some but not all of his riggers and laminators busy so they wouldn't go to another shop come busy season, he'd stockpile fully rigged and upholstered boats. Dad was lucky to be one of those guys.

Also one of my jobs back then when I was 15 was to unload these boats off the rack with the forklift and set them on trailers or dollys. The forks were probably 12-15 feet long. I was scared shitless that first time. I worked mostly weekends here, some afternoons after school, so there were others that did the same job durning the work day. I was the only kid to do that stuff though.

One lone tri-hull on the top shelf.

Lots of other shops did the same stock piling of ready to sell bare hulls or complete boats, Sangar, Kindsvater, Spectra to name a few.

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RodnJen

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When I was a teen-ager the neighbor across the street picked up and old one with the jet. They took it down to the bare hull and completely restored it to a piece of art. Can't even begin to count the number of beers that went into that project.
 

Rajobigguy

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Say what you want about Tahiti's. I would love to have one of the 19-20 with an IO for days when the water is calm.
 

lantz

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Learned to ski behind the 16' Low Profile IO in the late 70s. Loved the little jump seats on either side of the little 4-banger. I can't believe our whole family got in there, sometimes with a friend, to ski up and down the strip. I feel crowded with 6 people in our current 21' open bow. Thanks for these. Gonna share with my dad, he'll get a kick out of the pics.
 

boatpi

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I’ll do some post about the boat business later but I was in the boat business in the mid to late 70s when Jimmy Carter was president inflation went to 13% in the boat industry took a crash because the interest rates were 12%. Tahiti was in Cerritos the place I work for in Midway city was one of the largest dealers around and Tahiti went under.

they sold the molds for two of their new models I believe about 24 feet to eliminator same boat different name.
 

DarkHorseRacing

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I always find it funny how way back then they called anything over 21 feet "Offshore". They'd flip now at the real stuff.
 

old rigger

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I’ll do some post about the boat business later but I was in the boat business in the mid to late 70s when Jimmy Carter was president inflation went to 13% in the boat industry took a crash because the interest rates were 12%. Tahiti was in Cerritos the place I work for in Midway city was one of the largest dealers around and Tahiti went under.

they sold the molds for two of their new models I believe about 24 feet to eliminator same boat different name.
Tahiti didn't go under, they sold to Hardin marine.

That was a tough time. Seemingly over night half of the shops were gone, Hawaiian where I was then being one of them. I lucked out and went to work for Roger. Dad worked for Hallett for a while, tried building sailboats which he said was even more boring than being on the water in one, then got the hell out of the biz.
 

old rigger

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Say what you want about Tahiti's. I would love to have one of the 19-20 with an IO for days when the water is calm.
I'm looking at one of the 19's now, there were at least 5 with the same bottom, but it's not the one I REALLY want which almost unbelievably I can't seem to find. I dunno, if I can get him down on the price again (he already came down once. haha but it's just a fucking boat) I might grab it knowing that if I do, the one I really want will somehow fall in my lap.

Needs total resto and would just about wipe out my stash of parts.
 

Rajobigguy

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I'm looking at one of the 19's now, there were at least 5 with the same bottom, but it's not the one I REALLY want which almost unbelievably I can't seem to find. I dunno, if I can get him down on the price again (he already came down once. haha but it's just a fucking boat) I might grab it knowing that if I do, the one I really want will somehow fall in my lap.

Needs total resto and would just about wipe out my stash of parts.
Sounds like a fun project. Like I said, I would love to have a 19-20 (preferably the ski cruiser) and do a little hot rod work to it.
 

Rotten deal

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My 1st boat was a 19 ft Tahiti with Berkeley jet and big block Chevy. Had a lot of fun in that old bucket. Sold it to get a Hondo flat to go faster.
 

poncho

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I'm looking at one of the 19's now, there were at least 5 with the same bottom, but it's not the one I REALLY want which almost unbelievably I can't seem to find. I dunno, if I can get him down on the price again (he already came down once. haha but it's just a fucking boat) I might grab it knowing that if I do, the one I really want will somehow fall in my lap.

Needs total resto and would just about wipe out my stash of parts.
I know where there is a really nice one...... :p
 

poncho

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My 1st boat was a 19 ft Tahiti with Berkeley jet and big block Chevy. Had a lot of fun in that old bucket. Sold it to get a Hondo flat to go faster.
I had a 77 Bubble deck i bought with 40 hours on the clock and a BBC, valve covers said 500+ HP all original in perfect shape, really enjoyed that boat being married at the time.
 

poncho

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that toad is so nice and he seems to be a great guy. I couldn’t get anywhere near the price he gave me though.
Hell I couldn’t afford half of the price.
Dad rigged that boat.
That is so cool
 

coolchange

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I had a 19 mini cruiser typical yellow with gold flake and wood. KB prepared ls7. Diverted and ride plate. When I got it it was well used. Ripped the interior out and did 2 buckets / rear bench. Man I had fun in that. It was fairly quick( enough to make the girls sqeel) but hit the hook at about 70. Used to see those things everywhere. Buddy bought it and put stringers in it and flattened the hook. PIcked up about 7 mph.
 

boatpi

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One of the coolest boat they built was about a 19 to 20 foot flat deck jet he just rode fabulous on Lake Havasu back in the day cause I want big boats out there. I had a demo, took it out to black meadow landing

ran it all weekend just a great boat. Unfortunately they used road runner trailers ,was his piece of shit.
As
Soon as our tires temperature got over 90° they blow up Needless to say I blew a tire in the middle of nowhere.

Road runner use these cheap ass chrome wheels and if you had them on a double triple axle trailer with a bigger boat and made a sharp turn the pool right out of the Lugnuts.
 

RichL

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Reading all this just convinces me I grew up at the right time but on the wrong coast.
 

stephenkatsea

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Loved our Tahiti, I/O 4 cyl Merc 140 HP. Left side helm meant center line control lever. That was a PIA. The after market Black Tuck and Roll was brutal in the desert sun.
 

74 spectra20 v-drive

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What high School did you go to...Lakewood? I remember that building with the boats, right over by Valley Christian right, I saw that picture and went right back to that place... was so awesome as a little dude to see all those boats.
 
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old rigger

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What high Scholl did you go to...Lakewood? I remember that building with the boats, right over by Valley Christian right, I that picture and went right back to that place... was so awesome as a little dude to see all those boats.
We lived in Lakewood and I had a few Dutch friends that went to Valley Christian but I went to Paramount. Actually I went to 3 1/2 different high schools but ended up there. My wife went to Lakewood high, did you? Where’d you live?
 

twocents

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Had a pretty long history with Schuster. My dad and I bought a 16' in 1963. Took it down to Al's Outboard in Venice and rigged it with a pair of modified (by Ted Miller) V-4 Johnson 75 HPs. Then in 1965, decided to switch to ski racing and bought another Tahiti (this time a jet) from Dick with a Berkeley jet -- we supplied our own Chevy L-88 big block -- got the jet boat NDBA record for about 3 weeks at 80.53 mph -- also ran the 16' in the Catalina Ski Race in 1966 and got 2nd in the women's open class. In 1968 Schuster loaned us a 19' deep-vee (we called it the Toad with lots of freeboard) for Catalina - it was ugly but ran storng with a healthy Chevy V-8. Had a great skier and thought we had a real shot at wining the race overall -- we were among the 5 race leaders but about six miles from Avalon we ran out of gas in one tank (18 gallons). Knew we couldn't make it back with the gas left onboard so only one thing to do, make a gas stop at the Avalon fuel dock. Wanted to minimze our time for the fuel stop so we skied right up to the fuel dock (the skier stayed in the water, ski line still out) jumped out of the boat, started pumping gas -- I was throwing money on the dock, the fuel dock attendant was picking up the bills -- pushed off, straightened the line and took off back through the harbor and maze of moorings at about 40 mph. We finished, around 10th overall -- if it hadn't been for the fuel issue I still think we could have won it. Unbelievably, I thought the Coast Guard or some form of Harbor police would be waiting for us back in Long Beach at the finish, but didn't hear a word.
 

old rigger

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Had a pretty long history with Schuster. My dad and I bought a 16' in 1963. Took it down to Al's Outboard in Venice and rigged it with a pair of modified (by Ted Miller) V-4 Johnson 75 HPs. Then in 1965, decided to switch to ski racing and bought another Tahiti (this time a jet) from Dick with a Berkeley jet -- we supplied our own Chevy L-88 big block -- got the jet boat NDBA record for about 3 weeks at 80.53 mph -- also ran the 16' in the Catalina Ski Race in 1966 and got 2nd in the women's open class. In 1968 Schuster loaned us a 19' deep-vee (we called it the Toad with lots of freeboard) for Catalina - it was ugly but ran storng with a healthy Chevy V-8. Had a great skier and thought we had a real shot at wining the race overall -- we were among the 5 race leaders but about six miles from Avalon we ran out of gas in one tank (18 gallons). Knew we couldn't make it back with the gas left onboard so only one thing to do, make a gas stop at the Avalon fuel dock. Wanted to minimze our time for the fuel stop so we skied right up to the fuel dock (the skier stayed in the water, ski line still out) jumped out of the boat, started pumping gas -- I was throwing money on the dock, the fuel dock attendant was picking up the bills -- pushed off, straightened the line and took off back through the harbor and maze of moorings at about 40 mph. We finished, around 10th overall -- if it hadn't been for the fuel issue I still think we could have won it. Unbelievably, I thought the Coast Guard or some form of Harbor police would be waiting for us back in Long Beach at the finish, but didn't hear a word.
great story Bob! Had you finished you might have been the only jet to win the race?
Did you ever race or ride in one of these 19s? Lots of freeboard and I’ve never seen this in any brochure, in fact the few that I’ve come across have all been ‘68s. Must not have been a good seller?
I’ve been looking for one for quite awhile.

Also, did you do the photography for this brochure ?


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the lynch mob

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Our first family boat my dad ordered at the LA boat 1974 when it was held in November. They called it 25 foot offshore cruiser. It had kinda of a double bubble cabin. I don’t think they made many. My own first boat was a 1971 16 low pro. It had a 165 mercruiser, the only one I ever saw with the straight 6.
 

MK1MOD0

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great story Bob! Had you finished you might have been the only jet to win the race?
Did you ever race or ride in one of these 19s? Lots of freeboard and I’ve never seen this in any brochure, in fact the few that I’ve come across have all been ‘68s. Must not have been a good seller?
I’ve been looking for one for quite awhile.

Also, did you do the photography for this brochure ?


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That’s a very cool looking boat. I imagine with that V, it would be a bad ass river / lake runner!

ps. The front view looks like a Donzi x-18, which came later.
 

twocents

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great story Bob! Had you finished you might have been the only jet to win the race?
Did you ever race or ride in one of these 19s? Lots of freeboard and I’ve never seen this in any brochure, in fact the few that I’ve come across have all been ‘68s. Must not have been a good seller?
I’ve been looking for one for quite awhile.

Also, did you do the photography for this brochure ?


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Your photo is the model that Schuster let me borrow for 1968 Catalina Ski Race. It had a healthy BBC and a top speed at just over 70 mph. Not sure why it wasn't a big seller....maybe too much freeboard for the ski boat market at that time. It was a deep vee (probably 20 to 24 degree deadrise). In '68 the Ski Race was still dominated by conventional flatbottoms. And that particular '68 race day was rough water and I was cruising compared to the flattys. Like I said, I was pretty confident that we'd be the first (and only jet) to win it overall. And no I didn't do the photography for that brochure. Not sure the year it was p;inted.
 

boatnam2

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My tahiti story, the short version. Buddy buys one, this is around 1978 or so with a merc outboard on it. We started using it for skiing down around cabrillo beach and back harbor. One day when are in the back area by the container ships in the no wake area skiing and get pulled over. Coast guard asks my buddy reg? nope! anchor, paddle, horn etc etc? Nope nope nope! Your going to need to come aboard captain. Gets a nice fat ticket and we head off. We had bowered another friends truck to tow boat, my buddy owned a badass trans am that I was driving that day since the truck was a mini truck and 2 seater. So we are leaving there is a steep hill at exit with a guard sitting there, just about the time my buddy gets to top of hill, boat comes unhooked from truck and comes back down the hill were Im sitting. The prop of boat cuts across the guards car hood parked at bottom of hill and prop is stuck in windshield. I about pissed myself. I get back to his house before them and I'm standing there with his pops who is Cuban and speaks no English, trying to explain what happened. Buddy lived on a side street along Normandie ave and as were standing there buddy passed by and boat pops off again and passes truck, buddy jams in front of it and hit brakes to slow boat from going into on coming traffic as it rams into back of truck. I think he bought it boat 1200 bucks and that day cost him about 5 grand, he has never owned another boat since lol.
 

Dana757

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My friend and I went halves on a 16’ sbc jet. He still has it to this day. Another friend had the i/o and then another bought an outboard. We used anchor those babies side by side and thought it was the coolest thing ever. And at the time it was pretty flippin cool. Great memories! 🌴🌴
 

old rigger

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My tahiti story, the short version. Buddy buys one, this is around 1978 or so with a merc outboard on it. We started using it for skiing down around cabrillo beach and back harbor. One day when are in the back area by the container ships in the no wake area skiing and get pulled over. Coast guard asks my buddy reg? nope! anchor, paddle, horn etc etc? Nope nope nope! Your going to need to come aboard captain. Gets a nice fat ticket and we head off. We had bowered another friends truck to tow boat, my buddy owned a badass trans am that I was driving that day since the truck was a mini truck and 2 seater. So we are leaving there is a steep hill at exit with a guard sitting there, just about the time my buddy gets to top of hill, boat comes unhooked from truck and comes back down the hill were Im sitting. The prop of boat cuts across the guards car hood parked at bottom of hill and prop is stuck in windshield. I about pissed myself. I get back to his house before them and I'm standing there with his pops who is Cuban and speaks no English, trying to explain what happened. Buddy lived on a side street along Normandie ave and as were standing there buddy passed by and boat pops off again and passes truck, buddy jams in front of it and hit brakes to slow boat from going into on coming traffic as it rams into back of truck. I think he bought it boat 1200 bucks and that day cost him about 5 grand, he has never owned another boat since lol.
That’s a good one!

May old barber who I met when I was working for Roger, owned a few Rogers through the years and an Advantage later when I worked there too, told me about his first boat, a 16 Tahiti jet. He and his partner at the barber shop went in together on the Tahiti too and swung by the shop in bellflower, picked up the boat and with their wives and kids headed to lake Nacimiento. This was in the mid ‘60s. They pulled into their campground spot, parked the truck facing up hill, right next to the picnic table. They got out and unhooked the boat and before they realized what they did the boat and trailer took off rolling backwards towards the lake which he said was about 100 yards away. They just stood there as the rig plowed through tents and picnic tables until it plopped into the lake. Said Schuster felt bad but was glad it wasn’t his fault.
He fixed all the damages for free too.

I would have given almost anything to see that unfold at the lake.
 

TrollerDave

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Anybody else still got their Tahiti? My dad bought it new in 74.
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He had it painted by Bob Brant in 76 and countless engine mods.
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I have had it since 95. Just rebuilt the motor, jet and new interior. It’s been a good boat.
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brgrcru

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My parents entire group had 16' I/O 's. Early to mid 70's
Straight 4 bangers . Fit 6/8 people . When one of the parents was trying to get up skiing. Everyone would go to the front of dash and almost climbing over the windshield . Which in turn turned into a submarine skier trying to getup. As soon as they were up , it was a mad dash to the seats . Nobody cared , life was so simple , for them . Camping on a van or a cab over camper . Best times .
Pine flats skiing around the dam. Or heading up to trimmer.

Then one of them bought the Tahiti 16' I/0 was the coolest looking boat . As a kid .
Never had to pile up on dash for skiers , behind that boat .
 

74 spectra20 v-drive

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We lived in Lakewood and I had a few Dutch friends that went to Valley Christian but I went to Paramount. Actually I went to 3 1/2 different high schools but ended up there. My wife went to Lakewood high, did you? Where’d you live?
I am a Bellflower High kid, My all 6 of my siblings and my Mom as well. Grew up right down the street from the school...My Dad was an Excelsior guy and that is where he met Ken Meyers. We ran in the same crowd brother because I have heard that story at Naci about the boat taking off...
 
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old rigger

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I am a Bellflower High kid, My all 6 of my siblings and my Mom as well. Grew up right down the street from the school...My Dad was an Excelsior guy and that is where he met Ken Meyers. We ran in the same crowd brother because I have heard that story at Naci about the boat taking off..
Did you guys go to Dave’s Custom Barber over on Woodruff and Artesia?

Just remembered we e had this conversation before about where we grew up!
 

74 spectra20 v-drive

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Was that the little place by National Lumber? My dad went there and took me there until I was about 12 , then I went to the barber shop at Rosecrans and Woodruff...
 

rrrr

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Right after high school, two of my friends bought 18' low profile models, one was outboard powered, the other had a 455 Olds engine. This was in 1976.

My buddy John that owned the jet boat let me borrow it one weekend, and I went to Elephant Butte with a few friends. I was throwing it around doing sharp turns, and while right in the middle of one we hit a swell and the boat came unstuck.

It swapped ends pretty quickly, and of course my reaction was to jam my feet onto something solid to keep myself in the boat. Unfortunately my right foot was on the throttle pedal, and the Oldsmobile was turning a million RPM just before it let go.

I was a bit dejected ( 😖 ), because I envisioned myself working the rest of the year at my $4.00 per hour job to pay for a new engine. I came clean with my friend about how it happened, and he wasn't upset at all.

John's dad was the president of a savings and loan bank with several branches in Albuquerque, and the boat was an eighteenth birthday present. He told me his dad would pay for the repairs with no questions asked, and suddenly the sun was brighter and I heard birds singing.

Sometimes God takes care of idiots.
 
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cold_one

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Really cool. My uncle had a tahiti when I was little, so I grew up on one.
 

old rigger

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Was that the little place by National Lumber? My dad went there and took me there until I was about 12 , then I went to the barber shop at Rosecrans and Woodruff...
ya, going North on Woodruff it was on the left side in that old corner strip mall. Last time I went by the the entire place was leveled, don’t know what was built in its place. National lumber on the right hand side a little closer to the 91.
 
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nowski

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I use to love the smell of resin in the morning while driving down the 605 freeway...

My first boat was a 16' Tahiti with the Chevy 4 and Mercury I/O. We use to launch at Marine Stadium and take it through the Seal Beach Jetty and into the warm water channel that parallels Studebaker Rd. We'd ski in there for hours on end We took that boat damn near everywhere...
 
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