Among the most instantly engaging members of the high-performance marine industry, Chip Fendt died Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 60 years old.
His sister, Pamela Fendt, announced the news yesterday in a post on her Facebook page.
“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Chip Fendt, beloved brother and friend, has passed,” she wrote. “He was charismatic, funny and endearing with an open heart and a zest for life.”
During his long career in high-performance powerboat sales and marketing, Fendt (right) worked with many industry notables including Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats founder Mike Fiore.
Though Fendt was born in New York City, according to his obituary, his family relocated to Southwest Florida in 1975. From sailing to competitive waterskiing, Fendt first embraced time in the water in his early teens and his passion never faded. That passion led him to become a professional water-skier and later a successful offshore powerboat racer in the 1980s and 1990 with such teams as High Risk and Popeye’s.
It also led him into the go-fast marine world. Uncommonly joyful and engaging, Fendt worked on the sales and marketing sides of Donzi Marine, Hustler Powerboats, Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats, Statement Marine and Talon. After leaving the sales side of things, Fendt embarked on a number of projects including a stint with Poker Runs America magazine as a test driver and video personality.
A fellow offshore racer, Micheal Stancombe counted Fendt among his friends, though they had not been in touch in recent years.
“He was always happy, always joking around and I got to hang out with him quite a bit over the years,” he said. “I just heard he had passed this morning—I didn’t even know he was sick. It’s a sad day. He was one of those performance industry icons.”
Wrote Pamela Fendt, “Chip will always be remembered for his infectious enthusiasm for all things boating. The joy he brought will live forever in our hearts.”