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Photography by Todd Taylor.

Owners of Skater Powerboats, built by Douglas Marine, converged on Lake St. Clair to flex their muscle during the eight annual Skaterfest gathering in Harrison Township, MI.

The event, which debuted in 2011, is organized by Ron Szolack, and transforms the area into a muscleboat paradise. With more than 40 Skaters and their crews in attendance enjoying near-perfect weather, the Douglas, MI, builder had plenty of its gorgeous offerings on Lake St. Clair to represent its illustrious array of beautiful, high-performance catamarans.

Szolack originally launched the event as a way to enjoy a weekend with his friends who owned Skaters, inviting anyone from anywhere to bring their Skater and attend his “house party.” Since then, it has outgrown his private residence and was relocated to the spacious surroundings of Lake St. Clair Metropark, which offers a wide, multi-lane launch ramp with plenty of dock space reserved for Skaterfest guests.

“This was definitely the best Skaterfest ever,” Szolack says. “It keeps getting better and better every year. We had a lot of newcomers who had never been here before, and it’s so great that they get to experience what we do. The camaraderie among everybody is just unbelievable. When you come to Skaterfest, everybody knows everybody else by the time you leave. It was just a spectacular time, and we had a lot of newcomers.”

One bonus was that two new Skaters were sold during the event: a 368 was went to Bill Munyan of Bradenton, FL, and a 388 went to James Branton of Covington, LA. (Both Skaters were on display at this year’s Miami International Boat Show.) “I’m glad they went to good owners,” Szolack says.

Skaterfest is a great place to see some older models, including some from the 1990s, while a few of the newer boats boast incredible power packages. One of the most famous Skaters in attendance was the 438 Skater Rockette, powered by Mercury Racing dual calibration 1550/1350 sterndrives. “That boat ran 180 mph in 1350 mode, so that’s a pretty fast boat,” Szolack says. “Steve Gordon has a 46 skater with 1875 twin turbo Sterlings in it, and that boat is capable of running 200 mph.”

Also in attendance was Skater President Peter Hledin. “He can tell you about every single boat there,” says Szolack. “His mind is incredible. He can tell you how every boat was laid up, even the little 28 Skaters from 1996. He’ll tell you exactly who owned them, how they were built, how they were laid up, what he did to build them for each owner. It’s pretty mind-blowing.”

Among the farthest traveled were Greg and Yvonne Harris, who trailered their 32’ Skater Mad Props all the way from South Florida.

“It just keeps getting better and better,” Szolack says. “The people are incredible, and they’re such good friends who travel all over the country once a year to come hang out with me. It’s really special.”

Powerboat Nation was on the scene at Skaterfest #8. Check out the gallery of photos below.

The 2016 gathering of Skater Powerboat owners on Lake St. Clair near Detroit was again another HUGE success. Hosted by Skater aficionado, Ron Szolak, nearly 40 Skaters of all ages and sizes tore up the local waters and showed why Skater as abrand and community is so highly regarded.  Skater Powerboats owner Peter Hledin was on hand and spoke to me about how the people are really what makes the difference.  According to Peter, talking and really listening to the Skater owners is really what makes him so grateful for all that has gone into the boats. It’s all about how well the boats handle and how much fun the owners have with all of their friends and family.  Whether new or old, big or small, it really doesn’t matter.  The common denominator is everyone enjoying their time together on and off the water, united in the single bond of camaraderie and like minded fun!

Peter did tell me how impressed he was watching the 30 foot Skater with 300 Outboards recently purchased by Devin Wozencraft run alongside the bigger boats in what can be best described as uncomfortable water.  Peter said he was actually surprised how well the boat handled the water and was able to maintain speed right up there with  much bigger and more powerful boats with an owner who just recently bought the boat and has only a few hours running it.

Manufacturer gatherings are not something new or out of the ordinary but one that is so well regarded and hosted by a boat owner and advocate is something different than all the rest. It is truly a testament to the brand unique bond held by these boat owners.

A big special thanks to Pete Boden of Shoot2Thrill Pix for posting all of his great shots in the PBN photo galleries! Be sure to check them out below!

Six is the lucky number. Now, for six years running, Skaterfest continues to be the home of the largest gathering Skater Powerboats in the world! What makes it even more unique is that the unparalleled event is hosted by not a company or manufacturer, but by a true Skater enthusiast and owner, Ron Szolack. With a passion for owning and selling anything Skater, he’s made it his mission to provide a place for everyone that shares his passion to come and have a rip roarin’ time out on the water as well as his widely popular nightclub. In just a few days we can expect another fantastic turnout of many Skaters to head to Lake St. Clair, Michigan to show their support for each other and the SKATER NATION!

Skater owners are a unique group who really pride themselves on how well their boats perform on the water. From 24 feet to over 50 feet, if you own a SKATER you are known immediately to be a performance boat aficionado who bought a boat for pure performance over anything else. Are you part of the Skater Nation?


Last weekend marked the occasion of the fifth Skaterfest for all of the loyal Skater Powerboats owners that could make it out – and there were a lot. Few are more devout than Skater owners; there’s a reason they take a page out of our book and call themselves the Skater Nation: these guys are truly passionate about their hobby and just committed to having a good time. Nearly 25 Skater and over 120 attendees graced the waters of Lake St. Clair, Michigan for the run. Skater Powerboats founder Peter Hledin and wife Maria were on hand for the event, as well as Devin Wozencraft of Wozencraft Insurance and a host of other well-known powerboating community members. Wozencraft noted the intimate, down-to-earth nature of the event, saying you could really get to know people beyond the small talk you can manage to slip in at larger events. He praised the course of the run itself, saying that “half of the time we were boating between the U.S. and Canada in many narrow spots, which was pretty cool…Our mobile phones occasionally picked up the Canadian cell phone network.” Chip Miller of Miller Marina scoped out the sky with his drone to bring you the aerial snapshots you see below.

Overall, we’re not surprised that this Skaterfest was another success but we’ll always be impressed at the loyalty Skater nation brings to the table. We can see it’s for good reason. Put this one on your bucket run list if it’s not already which of course means you need to be a SKATER owner!

SkaterFest 2014 was another great success in the 2014 boating season. High profile personalities, fast boats, and a private venue that is a powerboaters dream home were all on hand for this trip. Thanks again to Chip Miller ofMiller Marina as Powerboat Nation was once again able to capture some of the life on video from his quadcopter.

Fast boats, fun people all enjoying a great time on Lake St Clair. We hope you enjoy our short video.

This last weekend brought another HUGE power boating extravaganza to the water. I just spoke to Chip Miller of Michigan Miller Marina – A Full service Marina located in St. Clair Shores on the Nautical Mile and of course he was slammed preparing Skaters to participate in SkaterFest that was hosted this last weekend by Ron Szolack who has owned/owns variety of fast powerboats many of them SKATERS.

The weekend at Lake St Clair also brought JOBBIE NOONER, Everything Jobbie Nooner related | and Welcome to! If you don’t know or ever been, this powerboating event in my estimation is the single largest one of its kind event in the world. Thousands of boats were running around the lake and all congregated on a small island near the Canadian Border know as Gull Island.

Prior to the weekend Chip told me he had four Skaters at his marina more were coming and had heard twelve boats were confirmed but expected more. Skaterfest is unique to many other manufacturer regattas because it was initiated, supported, and run by the customers rather than the builder showing how strong the passion for the brand rally is.

Jobbie Nooner had nothing to do with SkaterFest but only addes to the adventure and excitement of the weekend on Lake St Clair. In the past over 1000 boats have been recorded rafted together. Chip told me guys will come to the marina the day of and want to buy cheap boats just to go to Gull Island, never owned a boat, never been in a boat, but they have to get to the party on the island.

If you read my boating while intoxicated article you can find the reference about he guy who despite having his boat at the bottom of the shipping channel only really cared about getting to the island with his Vodka Melon.

The history of Jobbie Nooner goes back to the early 1980’s and I encourage you all to read about it, and attend it, I have and it is worth the effort.

Every boat owner wants his boat to achieve optimal performance, and usually that’s the #1 topic on Powerboat Nation. But boat owners also strive to keep their boats looking in tip-top condition as well. That’s where Joel Accuardi comes in.

For the past several years, Accuardi has been helping speedboaters transition away from wax/polymer-based products for boat protection to a longer-lasting, 21st century technique that’s redefining high-gloss polishing. Accuardi is the owner of The Ceramic Company, a Dallas-based firm that is totally revolutionizing the very concept of keeping boats in pristine condition. The company has been applying its protective coating to boats across the country through its dealer network, and word-of-mouth has been insurmountable. In addition to lasting much longer than a typical waxing, the process protects against UV damage, oxidation, corrosion, staining, seawater, scum, chemicals, fuel and practically anything else that Mother Nature—including birds—can throw at your boat.

Accuardi, who has been detailing boats since he was 18 years old, made it his goal early on to shake things up in his field. “I’ve always been looking for a technology that would better serve the marine industry and provide something a little longer-lasting than just a buff and wax,” he says.

That dream was realized with the creation of a product that protects all surfaces of a boat with a ceramic that results in a beautiful, long-lasting shine. After mastering the technique while working for others, Accuardi and his partner, Ross Gold, launched their own firm, The Ceramic Company several months ago, and began assembling a dealer network.

“The best way to describe the product is like wax on steroids, except that it can be applied to any surface of your boat, above and below the waterline, the engines, your decks, vinyls, plastics, everywhere,” he says. “And the longevity far exceeds any wax system, which usually gives you 60 to 90 days of shine. With The Ceramic Company’s Marine Coating, it’s more like 18 to 24 months.”

In addition to the long-term benefits, Accuardi points out that in the short term, The Ceramic Company’s Marine Coating greatly eases the chore of cleaning. “Even sitting in a marina not being used, a boat can really accumulate all sorts of filth,” he says. “This application makes cleaning and reviving the shine so much easier.”

Just ask Accuardi’s customer Tyson Garvin, whose 50’ Skater has had full ceramic coverage. He recalls taking the boat to Skaterfest last August, where the boat had to sit in a slip for several days, owning to a mechanical issue.

“With all the oil that was in Lake St. Clair, it had developed quite a scum line,” Garvin says. “This was in the middle of summer. I didn’t wash it. I then hauled it over to the Skater factory, which is on the other side of the state. It sat there for about three months as the stuff dried on the side of the boat. If you don’t wash it as soon as it comes out of the water, you’re screwed. Finally, when I picked up the boat to start working on it again, I walked over to the very visible scum line and made one pass over the side with a dry rag. And all of the buildup vanished.”

The basic cost of coating your boat with the ceramic is around $65 a foot; the price may vary depending on the size, complexity and condition of your craft. The Ceramic Company has been successfully conscripting professional installation centers and detailing shops across the country to work with the product. Then, over the next few months, the next goal will be to set up a consumer-grade house line. “We’ll be able to do people’s fridges, countertops, barbecues, etc.,” Accuardi says. “At some point we will introduce a consumer line for the marine industry, but for the time being, it’s strictly professional only.”

For more information, visit the Ceramic Company by clicking here.

Looking for an older photo album? Check out these links

Miami Boat Show 2015

Miami Poker Run 2015

Desert Storm 2015

Tickfaw 2015

Key West Poker Run 2014

Brad Smith Memorial Poker Run 2014

Texas Outlaw Challenge 2014

Pirates of Lanier 2014

Skaterfest 2014

Emerald Coast Poker Run 2014

Lake of the Ozarks 2014

Desert Storm Poker Run 2014

Tickfaw 200 Poker Run 2014

Miami Poker Run 2014

Miami Boat Show 2014

Miami Rock the Boat Show Party 2014

Key West Poker Run, Boca Grande 2013

Lake Cumberland Poker Run 2013

Clearwater SBI Race 2013

Desert Storm Poker Run 2013

FLPBC Miami Poker Run 2013

Miami 2013 Rock the Boat Show Party

Miami Boat Show 2013

LA Boat Show 2013


Key West 2012 Vendors and Businesses

When a passionate boat owner invites a group of other owners to his home for a boating event you can only assume his brand loyalty runs deep. Powerboat Nation was fortunate to be invited to attend this years SkaterFest hosted by multi Skater owner Ron Szolack on Lake St Clair, Michigan. 15 SKATERS and 1 Outerlimits V-Bottom all gathered for this invitational event that was more than something special. Skaters new and old, small to big, and well I can’t say slow to fast because they are all fast, so how about fast to faster. The owners ranged from some that were new and some that have been around with their SKATERS for years and years. Jim Lee brought his familiar 46 Freedom and a 28, Garth Tagge was on hand with his very recognizable all white classic deck 36, Other notables at the event were Skater founder Peter Hledin, Mike D’Anniballe of Sterling Performance, Chip Miller of Miller Marine, and Jerry Gilbreath was holding court at the dining room table and answered just about every boat set up and prop question being thrown at him.

The party at Flight Club was spectacular and the over the top hospitality presented by Ron at his home was as incredible as well. Of course another passionate powerboater who opens his home to the poker run crowd, Kenny Armstrong was in the house and riding along with Ron in the 46 Skater TopCat with 1350 Mercury Racing QC4v engines.

This was a great gathering of horsepower in the Motor City, I used to live in Clinton Township on Lake St Clair and I have great memories of fast boats running around everywhere. I cant wait to get back next year with a great friends very special new 388 Skater.

Special thanks to Chip Miller for the Gyrocopter pictures and video. Miller Marina is THE place on Lake St Clair for all of your powerboating needs!