It’s been way too long since I’ve had a chance to catch up with Justin Wagner, the owner and founder of Waves and Wheels in Osage Beach, Mo., who was featured in the final episode of the 2021 Speed On The Water In The Lead series.
Justin Wagner’s 46-foot Skater catamaran Noizy Boy is going to be painted soon. Photos courtesy Justin Wagner
We’ve texted often and had a few brief phone calls since his episode went live in mid-December, but nothing too lengthy until recently. And I’ll tell you what, if I thought I was busy I’ve changed my tune since talking with Wagner, who just picked up a 50-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran that I’ll be writing about on speedonthewater.com very soon.
Beyond the pleasantries of how our families are doing and how we should try to get his oldest daughter to promote the In The Lead video on TikTok given that one of her TikTok videos has been viewed more than 20 million times, Wagner filled me in on several things going on between new conversion projects, Bluave Marine Audio’s latest products, dock additions at The Boardwalk at Waves and Wheels and a new property he’s building close to the marina to replace his original shop on Highway 54 that currently houses Graphix 1 Paint, the business he co-owns with Maryland Offshore Performance Marine Center owner Andy Imhof.
Let’s start with the new facility. Wagner said he sold the original shop and is getting closer on the build of three new facilities located along State Highway KK and Pelican Drive, at the turn-off for The Boardwalk at Waves and Wheels. So far, all of the slabs have been poured and the project is moving along as planned. One of the buildings is a for-lease property, and the other two are going to house the Graphix 1 Paint shop, which includes a four-bay paint booth, and a storage facility for inventory, special projects and more.
“It’s a little bittersweet to be moving out of the original shop but the new location is going to really help our efficiency,” Wagner said. “It’s very close to the marina and better suited to improve those services. We needed the additional storage, too, so that will be nice.”
Check out the slideshow above for several images of the project and expansion updates mentioned in this story.
Wagner was also excited to talk about the two new docks that were recently added to The Boardwalk at Waves and Wheels.
“The docks are very close—there is some electrical that needs to be finished and then we’ll be fully operational,” he said, adding that reservations for the new docks as well as limited rack storage with in and out privileges are filling fast. “We’ve got two new docks, giving us a total of 31 slips ranging in sizes from 28, 36, 44 and 55 feet. We’re primarily dedicating the slips to powerboats, center consoles and runabouts, and we’re excited about the additional business they are going to bring. They’ll also allow us to expand our services and make things more convenient for our clients who are visiting Waves and Wheels.
“For a selfish reasons I’m really excited about one of the 55-foot slips that faces my office,” he added. “Mark Maasen from Poly Lift Boat Lifts is building me an incredible catamaran rack lift for my 46 Skater Noizy Boy.”
Speaking of Noizy Boy, Wagner shared a couple images of the former 46-foot canopied raceboat that is going into paint in a few weeks.
“Noizy Boy is obviously not my priority; our clients projects always come first,” Wagner said. “That’s one of the reasons it’s been taking so long—that and the fact that I’ve added a lot to the build over the years. After it gets painted, we are going to focus on the cockpit where I left off last winter. After owning a boat for five years, it’s easy to lose interest but I’ve got to say I’m really pumped to get this boat on the water. There are so many design attributes we’ve put into this that I feel it’s going to be one of a kind and not just another boat with a different color scheme.”
One Waves and Wheels project I briefly reported on several months back and is now almost done is Texas performance boater Heath Kirkwood’s Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats SV 43 canopied V-bottom. Kirkwood enlisted the team at Waves and Wheels to convert the former raceboat into a five-seat pleasure boat complete with a new removable rear hatch that, according to Wagner, kept the structural support the way Outerlimits designed it. Interior wise, the boat’s air conditioning system was moved and updated, the electronics and switch panel controls were converted, the seats and upholstery were handled in-house, and an extensive Bluave Marine Audio sound system was installed. (Look for a story on the completed 43-footer in the near future.)
“Heath’s boat is going to be so cool,” Wagner said. “The interior is fly. He had the crew at Lively Machine Company make some nice billet pieces for the boat and Tony Battiato is going to be outfitting it with transmissions before Heath starts running it this season.”
Along with the Outerlimits, the Waves and Wheels team has completed interior and audio updates on a variety of boats this winter, including Cigarette and Sunsation sportboats, Formula and Rinker runabouts, Nor-Tech and Donzi center consoles, and more. Following a Graphix 1 Paint upgrade to Slug Hefner’s latest Dirty Duck Skater (the former M CON 43-foot raceboat), the team also tackled a full interior overhaul on the boat. Additionally, it recently wrapped up a radical six-door tow rig project for Team Black Diamond that included a slamming Bluave sound system and custom Waves and Wheels interior and lighting.
Bluave Marine Audio recently unveiled its new X Series line, which starts shipping in May.
In terms of Bluave, the component business Wagner founded in 2016, the company is going to start shipping its new X Series line on May 1.
“This will be our fifth year since Bluave started and we’ve made some incredible advancements between production processes, efficiency and product development,” Wagner said. “We recently launched a new line to the Bluave family so now we have three levels to choose from—the ultra-premium EM line, the premium M line and the latest addition, the X line, which is an upper midline product that provides the Bluave sound quality at a great price point. We’ve also added 10 new dealers and a distributor this winter. We’ve upped our production by 500 percent because of it. I’m very proud of our team and the accomplishments we’ve made in such a short period of time. I’m excited to see where Bluave will be in the next five years.”
Wagner added that the Waves and Wheels has had an incredibly full schedule this winter and that the team has been hitting its deadlines and even brought in a few additional projects for the schedule, including a longer-term one that he’s very excited about—the former Miss GEICO 42-foot MTI catamaran.
The Waves and Wheels team and the boat’s new owner, Joe Erickson, are excited to get started on the Miss GEICO MTI project.
“I really like the full custom build projects like the Scalp Hunter Apache we wrapped up last year and I’d like to do even more of them, which is why I purchased the Miss GEICO boat that we sold right out of the gate as a project to Joe Erickson. With Miss GEICO, the intention was to sell it as a full package, providing not just the upgrades that we normally do but the hull itself and the full experience from buying the boat to the finished product.
“We’re not 100 percent on which direction that we’re going to go just yet but we’ve got a great start,” he added. “We plan to remove the bulkhead, add a large, removable rear hatch, convert it into a five-seater and rig it with brand new Mercury Racing power. You’ll have to keep an eye out for this one; it’s going to be pretty extraordinary—the boat has some incredible history.”
That boat, Kirkwood’s Outerlimits and the Noizy Boy Skater—not to mention Wagner’s new 50-foot Skater—are sure to become noteworthy stories soon enough. And that means I won’t be waiting as long to catch up sessions with Wagner.
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