When it comes to racing hydroplanes, Tyler Kaddatz of the Ahh-$um $ecret 519 racing boat that he competes in the Formule 2500 (or 2.5L class depending on where he’s racing) has looked up to his two older half brothers—Bert and Kent Henderson—for many years. But when it comes to protective driving suits, hats, shirts, shorts, sweatshirts, pop-up canopies, flags, banners and anything else a race team or poker run crew could desire, Kaddatz, who lives in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, and holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, has his brothers looking up to him—or at least looking to him to supply their gear.
Both Team Woody and Killer Bee had pop-up canopies and apparel produced by TK Kustoms at the 2018 Key West Offshore World Championships. Photo courtesy Tyler Kaddatz
And they’re not the only ones. In the past five years, Kaddatz has built his business, TK Kustoms, into a go-to apparel company for many hydroplane racers and, as of late, many poker run enthusiasts and offshore racers. Kaddatz, who grew up running around on the St. Lawrence River in his parents’ 100-plus-mph Fountain Powerboats 27 Fever powered by a blown 1,000-hp engine, has been into fast boats his whole life and has looked up to his brothers—both accomplished racers and world record holders.
“I grew up watching my dad win top-speed runs at Bill Taylor’s poker runs and my brothers having success on the racecourse,” Kaddatz said, adding that his mom wouldn’t let him race until he was an adult who could buy his own boat. “I kind of lived in the shadow of them, but they’ve both been extremely supportive of me. In fact, my brother, Kent, helped me buy my first raceboat off of his wife’s father. I raced it for a few years and then I had my brother, Bert, build me a new one last year. It’s painted in the same bright colors with the same 519 number in honor of my niece, Carsyn (Kent’s daughter), who died from brain cancer in 2012. My brothers both race under the 777 number—they have for years—but I won’t change my number because I want to continue to race in her honor.”