During a Florida segment of the Powerboat magazine Performance Trials in the mid-2000s, John Tomlinson and Bob Teague showed me exactly how hard you can turn a 44-foot MTI catamaran at 140 mph. Tomlinson was driving, Teague was throttling. And somehow all three of us found ourselves rocketing toward skinny water in Sarasota Bay.
Teague stayed on the power and Tomlinson cranked a right turn so hard that the centrifugal force pinned me to the port gunwale.
Among the highest-achieving members of the high-performance marine industry and offshore racing communities, John Tomlinson also is among the most humble and gracious.
Once back in deeper water, Teague shut down the cat’s 1,200-hp engines and we gathered ourselves. And by “gathered,” I mean we stared at each other in silence for a moment before the laughter started, though we later discussed our collective loss of situational awareness.
I could tell John Tomlinson stories all day, from boat-testing tales—he once stripped down to his skivvies to hop in the water and help pull a 23-foot Baja off a sandbar in that same bay—to his remarkable offshore racing success. I even played Blackjack alongside him at the Bluewater Casino in Parker, Ariz., during the Powerboat Performance Trials one year.
Full disclosure? Tomlinson isn’t just a great friend. He’s the finest person I know in the high-performance powerboating world.
“In The Lead With John Tomlinson” is a must-watch video for any high-performance powerboating fan.
But while most speedonthewater.com readers likely have heard of Tomlinson, many have no idea how he rose to his position as the co-owner of TNT Custom Marine, the Miami company he started 30-plus years ago with Mike Thomas, his best friend from high school, much less how that led him to become a multi-time world champion throttleman who will throttle for Class 1 and 450R Factory Stock offshore racing teams this season.
Fewer still probably know his history as a professional boat-wrangler for Hollywood, albeit—though not his fault—in some of the worst movies ever made. (Tomlinson, for the record, has a great sense of humor about it all.)
From “In The Lead with John Tomlinson,” Speed On The Water and Scrapyard media spun off “In The Know with Mike Thomas,” Tomlinson’s longtime friend and co-founder/owner of TNT Custom Marine.
All of that and more made Tomlinson a top-tier choice for our “In The Lead” video series, which is returning this year for its third season. His episode was the second of six segments that aired last year and it remains among our favorites at speedonthewater.com.
If you haven’t seen it, don’t wait a second longer. And if you have, you need to watch it again.
In The Lead Season 2
In The Lead with Bob Teague of Teague Custom Marine
In The Lead with Stephen Miles of Stephen Miles Design
In The Lead With Tyler Miller of M CON Racing
In The Lead With Randy Scism Of Marine Technology Inc.
In The Lead With John Tomlinson Of TNT Custom Marine
In The Lead With Peter Hledin Of Skater Powerboats
Speed On The Water ‘In The Lead’ Video Series Renewed For 2022
In The Lead Season 1
In The Lead With Waves And Wheels Justin Wagner
In The Lead With DCB’s Tony Chiaramonte
In The Lead With Performance Boat Center’s Brett Manire and Mark Waddington
In The Lead With John Cosker Of Mystic Powerboats
In The Lead With Shaun Torrente
In The Lead With Nor-Tech’s Trond Schou And Nils Johnsen
In The Lead With Grant Bruggemann
Behind The Scenes With The Speed On The Water ‘In The Lead’ Video Series Crew
Speed On The Water Launching ‘In The Lead’ Video Series