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The HOT Boat Trends for 2013

A selection of high quality Coreban SUP boards on display at Surf Expo in Orlando. Photo By Glenn Hayes
A selection of high quality Coreban SUP boards on display at Surf Expo in Orlando. Photo By Glenn Hayes

With the holidays behind us and our New Year’s resolutions already fading in determination, it can be difficult to know what the new year will bring.

Here are a few HOT Boat Trends that will make our time on the water all the more fun in 2013.

What’s SUP?
You’ve probably seen them skimming the surface of the water in harbors and bays, riding waves along the beach and cruising the waterways. SUP – or Stand Up Paddleboarding – is now the fastest growing water sport in the United States. Easy to learn (most paddlers are proficient within an hour), a person stands and balances at a mid point on a board that resembles a large surfboard and paddles using what looks like an extra long canoe paddle. The simplicity of the system, along with a shallow learning curve, has caused the popularity of sup’ing to explode.

Women are the fastest growing segment of the sport and have a large portion of the market share. There are boards designed specifically for women with specialties such as the SUP Yoga boards. This form of yoga is said to be even more intense as increased balance is required on the board.

Some boards are designed as surfing SUPs that make riding the waves even easier than on a standard board, with a different feel to that of a standard surfboard.

Others are designed for racing, are extremely lightweight and can go surprisingly fast in open water.

A special breed of board is designed specifically for fishing and creates a simple lightweight platform to get fishermen to their fishing holes.

Probably the most popular boards are those designed as an all-around stand-up paddleboard. They are usually thicker and wider than other varieties and are inherently more stable. These are good for paddling flat-water and are by far the most popular models.

There are even high quality and surprisingly rigid inflatable models that roll up and store easily in a condo or boat hatch.

So if you are looking for a relatively inexpensive way to get out on the water and don’t want to break your back or your wallet, a SUP board may be a part of your new year.

Solo Skiff’s unique single person powered skiff is at home on the flats or in the backwaters with an electric or gas-powered outboard.
Solo Skiff’s unique single person powered skiff is at home on the flats or in the backwaters with an electric or gas-powered outboard.

Micro Skiffs
Downsizing of vessels in almost all categories of boating continues to be a common practice. As the cost of vessel ownership increases, many boaters are looking for less costly ways to enjoy their time on the water. One niche of the market that is cashing in on this trend is the micro skiff powered by small fuel sipping outboards.

Micro skiffs are very small inshore fishing skiffs (usually 16 feet or less). This year will see an increase in offerings of even smaller single- or two-person skiffs by companies such as Gheenoe, Hell’s Bay, Dragonfly Boatworks and Pelican Flats Boats.

Some new designs such as that of Solo Skiff resemble a cross between a large paddleboard and a fishing kayak powered by a small outboard. Models can sport motors from 2.5 hp to 90 hp.  Prices can range – depending on model – from under $2,000 to over $25,000.

UPDATE: We just spoke with Tom from Solo Skiffs.  You can check out his website at http://www.soloskiff.com/.  They’re selling fast so if you are interested, give him a call.

Furuno’s TZtouch app allows you to view and control your Navnet TZtouch displays from a tablet or smartphone.
Furuno’s TZtouch app allows you to view and control your Navnet TZtouch displays from a tablet or smartphone.

Smarter Tech
With the popularity of smart phones and tablets aboard there will continue to be a plethora of new products and software that will enable you to do ever increasing tasks via your smart device.

With improvements in technology and an increase of related apps, you will not only have your smart phone or tablet act as a repeater for existing electronics, but it can also act as a full functioning remote. Many of the major manufacturers have or will have this capability for at least some of their line in 2013.

Part of the popularity of these smart devices is their ease of use and in particular their simple touch screens. The trend is to take the simplicity, wireless capability and flexibility and make them available on the larger multifunction displays for the marine market. The same way you navigate your smart phone or tablet, you will be able to navigate your navigation systems aboard.

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