Like all good parents, Paul Fiore wanted his son to do better in this world than he had. The last thing he wanted to do was outlive him.
But that was the way things went for the senior Fiore, the unfailingly humble and genuine 76-year-old founder of Hustler Powerboats who died yesterday after a short battle with an undisclosed illness. In 2014, his son, Mike Fiore, the founder of Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats, died a few days after an accident during competition in the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri.
Paul Fiore celebrated the achievements of Outerlimits—the company his son founded in 1993—during the inaugural Outerlimits Factory Fun Run in August (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Halsey Fulton.
Paul Fiore, who just a few months earlier saw a 43-foot boat built by his son shatter the V-bottom kilometer record on the Pamlico River in Washington, N.C., was never quite the same after that. His soft voice got even softer. His eyes carried the endless sorrow that only a parent who loses a child can ever really know.
Fiore didn’t just lose his son. He lost his best friend. He lost his hero.
“When I first started Hustler, technology was my thing,” Fiore said in a September, 2013 article on speedonthewater.com. “I wasn’t a boat builder so I didn’t know what I was doing or pay attention to what everybody else was doing. Mike is using the same mindset with Outerlimits. I’m pretty impressed with what he’s done, to be honest with you.”
In August, Outerlimits held its inaugural Factory Fun Run in Bristol, R.I. With 32 boats in the fleet, it was the largest single gathering of Outerlimits creations and their owners in one place at one time. During the Saturday banquet and celebration, the Outerlimits faithful and their guests gave Fiore a standing ovation when he thanked them for coming. Tears filled his eyes.
Tears filled a lot of eyes in that moment.
“The whole fun run weekend was impressive,” said Fiore, who rode with longtime Outerlimits customer Shaun Harrington in his 42-footer, a few days after the event. “And the end of the Saturday night party was very satisfying, gratifying and frankly a little overwhelming.”
A loyal Outerlimits customer, Burton Kirsten aptly described Fiore as “the voice of trust and truth” in a social media post yesterday. Said Outerlimits go-to paint-man Stephen Miles of Stephen Miles Design of Fiore, “Here was a man with a headful of knowledge who had achieved such great things in the powerboating industry, yet he had this honorable humility about him. Paul listened way more than he spoke.”
Vinnie Diorio, another longtime Outerlimits client, agreed.
“Paul was one of the most humble men I knew,” he said. “He never took enough credit for all his talent and knowledge—he was the king of stepped V-bottoms.”