The concept of making over Back 2 Kort—Louisiana performance boater Kort Wittich’s Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran with twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines—was kickstarted last August during the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and Super Cat Fest in Central Missouri. But it’s the relationship that began more than a decade ago between Wittich and Island Audio founder Nick Compton that is the real reason the project came to life and turned into what is arguably the Maurepas, La., company’s masterpiece.
Louisiana’s Kort Wittich is excited to show off his 38-foot Skater that was overhauled by Island Audio and friends on his home waters this week. Photos courtesy Nick Compton/Island Audio
“This pretty much started at Ozarks sitting in Chad Haven’s Savage Skater with Nick showing me what all he had done to the boat,” said Wittich, who is going to use his “refreshed” Skater on the Tickfaw River, Lake Pontchartrain and the surrounding Louisiana waterways today through Saturday as part of the “Kort 2.0” gathering taking place in lieu of the Tickfaw 200, which was cancelled because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions for the second straight year. “I think we were sitting in Chad’s boat for almost an hour discussing what we could incorporate in my Skater and what we could do differently. I had some off-the-wall ideas, one of which was having side panel doors that opened with the push of a button. Nick didn’t dismiss the idea; in fact, he said he thought it would be cool to incorporate gold speaker panels inspired by the oval designs in the boat’s paintjob. We kind of just rolled with it from there and he started on the project at the beginning of this year.”
Wittich is more than happy with how well everything came together on the project, which included new Alcantara interior, custom-painted seat backs, unique LED lighting, customized SeaDek flooring, light-up step plates and more.
“I’ve known Nick for like 12 years—he’s super talented and creative,” said Wittich, who owns Kort’s Construction Services and is the mastermind behind the Motor Monkey fenders that protect outboard engines. “He brought some things to life that I was pipe-dreaming about, so to speak. The lighting is incredible and the side panel doors are super trick. The best part about the doors is that they work well, too. It took a few tries, but Nick came up with the right design and found the best hardware he could to make it work. The boat came out better than I imagined and my expectations were already high for Nick and his team.
“I’ve been doing business with Nick since he started and it’s awesome to see the progression in how much better and more advanced Island Audio has become,” he added. “Nick did the stereo in my Sunsation Boats F4 V-bottom and in a Concept I owned before my two 34-foot Sunsation center consoles, which he’s helped tune and add things to as well. He also upgraded the stereo in the Skater several seasons ago and I’ve had him do some of my other vehicles over the years.”
Compton enlisted a couple of reliable Louisiana companies to assist in the project, including Hydroflat, which created the molds for the new seatbacks, and Southern Cooler and Marine, which handled the detailed SeaDek design for the cockpit floor. He also turned to his new favorite LED company, PlashLights in Texas, to light up the cockpit design with its impressive strip and surface-mount lights, and called on upholstery whiz Wesley Cato of Boutte, La., to tackle his first sizable marine interior.
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the updated Back 2 Kort 38-foot Skater.
“I’ve known Wesley for a long time but never worked with him on a project,” Compton said. “He’s a hot rod guy but I figured he could handle Kort’s boat. It was his first time working with Alcantara EXO so it took him a little longer then he anticipated, but he did excellent work and we met the deadline—and that’s what really matters.
“The boat was almost all original so we were starting over on everything except for the dash; the only thing we did there was add the vents and a blower for extra air circulation,” he continued. “We had installed some speaker pods to the boat a few years ago so the stereo was already pretty good. The only thing we added this time around were a pair of 7-inch JL Audio component speakers and some of the new 2.0 tweeters from Bluave Marine Audio that we connected with JL Audio MVI amplifiers and tuned digitally. That’s pretty much all it needed and now I don’t see many boats, if any at all, that could park up against it at the docks. The best part, to me, is that it is all concealed so you don’t even know what you’re up against when Kort pulls up.”
Compton laughed and said that he was pleased with how the five-axis, CNC-machined gold speaker panels turned out.
“Kort wasn’t sure about those, neither was my wife and a couple of the guys who work here,” Compton said. “They doubted the gold and they all admitted I was right after they saw it. My goal was to bring some of the gold that was on the outside of the boat to the inside and those panels helped do the trick.”
Compton said the motorized side panel doors were a lot of work, but worth the effort.
“I wasn’t going to do the doors if we couldn’t make them work correctly—they needed to be smooth and durable,” he added. “We ended up getting some railings that are used for medical robotics stuff. They’re pretty impressive. Overall it was a little stressful getting the boat done in time for Kort to use it this week, but we pulled it off and at the end of the day it was an enjoyable project. I’m definitely proud of what we accomplished with the boat.”
Compton said he’s also proud of the friendship that’s blossomed out of a business relationship that began with Wittich not long after he opened Island Audio. And, after talking to Wittich, he’s proud of how far his friend has come since starting the business.
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