The Instagram post from Lake Havasu City, Ariz.-based photographer Tom Leigh caught my eye immediately. A simple picture of Tucson, Ariz., performance boater Gary Smith’s “new” Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran at the docks during the Monster Storm Poker Run on Lake Havasu with the caption “Predator III…if you know then you know.”
Arizona performance boater Gary Smith showed off Predator III, a Skater 388, at the recent Monster Storm Poker Run in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Photo by Tom Leigh/TommyGunImages.com.
I knew Smith had the 38-footer—the former Frisky Business Skater owned by Mike Thornton of Kentucky—and I knew he was making it his own with paint modifications, new twin turbocharged motors from Carson Brummett Engines, interior updates and drive refreshment.
But what I didn’t know was that Smith took the boat to the Monster Storm event because I hadn’t talked to him since before the Desert Storm Poker Run, which is also organized by Phantom Productions on Lake Havasu, back in April.
Smith said he hasn’t spent much time testing the boat, but that he plans to do so over the winter months in preparation for running the 388 in the Desert Storm Poker Run and its accompanying top-speed shootout, an event Smith last won in 2014 in Predator II. Smith and his friend, Vern Gilbert of West Coast Drives, have also won the top-speed shootout at the Texas Outlaw Challenge in Smith’s first Predator, which Gilbert has owned for many years, and Smith has participated in the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout several times.
“We’re going to start playing with drive heights, weight distribution and propellers,” Smith said. “I’ve had the boat for about two years now. Skater updated the paint and built and painted a new tilt trailer for it. Carson Brummett built new motors and West Coast Drives freshened the drives and gimbals. Teague Custom Marine made the tailpipes and Appearance Products did the interior, which came out incredible. I just got a nice cockpit cover from Becca at Main Stitch Upholstery, too.
“Mike (Thornton) did a nice job of setting up everything in the boat—he took good care of it,” he continued. “We added foot throttles, too. I’m excited to get the boat dialed in and running on rails.”
The news that Smith is dialing a new hot rod is super exciting, which is why I plan on following up with him in the spring to see how the testing is coming along in Predator III. It’s also a reason I’m starting to plan for Desert Storm 2020 already—somehow the event, which takes April 22-27, 2020, is six months away already.
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