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Image Of The Week: The Dude Next To JT

In February, the Speed On The Water and Scrapyard Media teams headed to Miami for a few days with the goals of capturing footage for the next episode of the second-year “In The Lead” documentary-style video series and covering the Miami International Boat Show, which returned to the refurbed Miami Beach Convention Center this year after a seven-year hiatus. Comprehensive show coverage was completed before we departed South Florida, but the final video, which will focus on John Tomlinson of TNT Custom Marine, is still in production.

From powerboat rigging and sales to storage and service, 30-plus-year-old TNT Custom Marine enjoys one of the best reputations in the high-performance marine industry.

TNT Custom Marine partners John Tomlinson (left) and Mike Thomas sat for a long interview with the Speed On The Water and Scrapyard Media video teams. Photo by Brad DiMaggio copyright Scrapyard Media.

Of course, you already know Tomlinson, who has become “JT” to the high-performance powerboating fans whether he likes it or not. He is the greatest offshore racing throttleman of his generation, a guy who followed up a perfect season in the states with an international world championship the following year, not to mention the slew of world and national titles he earned before and after.

And at 50-plus years old, the guy is still fit and handsome as hell. You could almost resent him if he weren’t so laidback—at least off the racecourse—gracious, charming and loyal. (Tomlinson has been part of the speedonthewater.com team since the site launched 13 years ago.)

But there’s another “T”—Mike Thomas—in TNT Custom Marine, and he’s as integral to the business as Tomlinson. A couple spearfishing fanatics, Thomas and Tomlinson met during a marine tech class at their local Miami high school. They’ve been close ever since.

They started TNT Custom Marine with the notion, according to Tomlinson, of “working till 1 p.m. and then knocking off to go spearfishing every day.”

“I think that happened once,” Thomas said, then laughed.

While Tomlinson tolerates the limelight, Thomas shuns it. He’d rather be running the business and working on rigging or repower projects than in the public eye.

“Johnny has invited me all over the world with him for races,” he said, then chuckled again. “I prefer to be here.”

Translation? Thomas and Tomlinson have an incredible, success-proven business partnership.

Of course, you’ll learn more in our upcoming “In the Lead with John Tomlinson” video. But at least now you know—if you already didn’t or were a little hazy on it—who puts the other “T” in TNT Custom Marine.

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