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Keys Island Runners On Fast Track

When photographer Pete Boden told me was going to shoot a bunch of small, outboard-powered high-performance boats two Saturdays ago at the Islamorada Sandbar in Key Largo, Fla., I tried not to let him hear me yawn. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against small go-fast boats with outboards. But most of what my fellow speedonthewater.com colleague Jason Johnson and I cover these days starts at about 34 feet and goes up from there. So I’m probably, no definitely, a bit spoiled by the “big stuff” I get to write about every day.

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Led by an enthusiastic 32-year-old who lives in Key West, a grassroots organization is bringing casual group fun-runs to the Florida Keys. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

“They’re going to have a lot of really cool, smaller Skaters involved,” he told me later.

That got my interest. Small Skater Powerboats catamarans of any age, especially those in good condition, always show well. And readers love to see them in action.

Set for the same weekend as the Florida Powerboat Club’s Miami Boat Show Poker Run to Key Largo, the Islamorada sandbar fun run was the product of Keys Island Runners, a local group of smaller go-fast boat owners led by a passionate 32-year-old named Daniel Garcia. A utility lineman who owns a 24-foot Progression V-bottom, Garcia started the group 18 months ago using Instagram as his launch pad. In those 18 months, the group has attracted 18,000 followers on the social media portal.

In and of itself, Garcia’s Instagram push has helped him pull of what the entire marine industry has been trying to do—with limited success—for years: Reach a younger audience and build enthusiasm within it.

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Related Story: Small Boats, Big Fun Reign At Keys Island Runners Sandbar Event