As a kid growing up in Key West, Fla., Ryan Beckley used to draw pictures of offshore raceboats. Like most of his friends at the time living in the nation’s southernmost city, he was obsessed with the sport. And when the race teams came to town every year for the World Championships, Beckley couldn’t get enough of them. He wandered the pits. He talked to every racer who would talk to him. He was a towheaded sponge and—once a year—he was in heaven.
“I had a file full raceboats I’d drawn, and I would give those to owners when they came down,” says Beckley, the 38-year-old owner of Kinetic Animation and DoublEdge Motor Sports in Sarasota, Fla. “Sometimes they would give me money, sometimes they would give me T-shirts.”
In a way, offshore raceboat owners are still giving Beckley money and—now and then—T-shirts.