By the official numbers, Skaterfest—the ultimate annual celebration of the Skater Powerboats brand—will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. That was supposed to happen this weekend for the Detroit Metro area happening, but the event fell prey to Michigan’s recently tightened COVID-19 restrictions. Organizer Ron Szolack cancelled the event a little more than a week ago and vowed its return in 2021.
A casual weekend gathering of Skater fans—including Massachusetts’ Danny DeSantis in his Skater 388—and their beauties did the Skaterfest legacy proud. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com
But Szolack has a slew of Skater-loving friends, and that didn’t stop some of them from dropping in on him—Skater catamarans in tow—this weekend. Speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden already had committed to shoot Skaterfest 2020, so cameras in hand he, too, showed up on Szolack’s Harrison Township, Mich., doorstep.
Though the informal gathering was 23 Skater cats short of the record-setting 2019 turnout, the fleet did not lack for quality. Michigan’s Joe Gilstorf and Todd Fountain, who seem to be traveling tandem so far this season, brought their 50- and 46-footers (Fifty Shades and Tomcat) to the event. The new Mavrik Skater turned heads, as did the ever-show-stopping Rockette. Not to be missed, Turner Up, Rob Turner’s new full-cabin 46-footer, was in the amazing mix.
This weekend’s gathering of Skater hardware was as good as it gets.
Skater Powerboats founder and owner Peter Hledin showed up with his wife, Maria, and son, Michael, as well as Skater’s national sales manager, Tony Cutsuries. Southwest Florida Skater aficionado and veteran offshore racer Ryan Beckley dropped by, as did his fellow Skater-loving friends Chris and Quinn LaMorte from New Jersey. Wozencraft Insurance owner Devin Wozencraft, who lives in Southern California, earned the farthest-distance traveled award in his outboard-powered 30-footer.
But the most noteworthy Szolack friend who showed up had to be Chris Ryder, who came all the way from New York to run his 368 model. Ryder has never missed a Skaterfest happening, and for that reason—and one other that remained mostly secret until he proposed to his girlfriend, Sam Hanna, on the deck of his boat—he sure wasn’t about to miss this one.
For Skater man Chris Ryder and Sam Hanna, the Skaterfest-that-wasn’t had to be the best one yet.