In 2019, Skaterfest—organizer Ron Szolack’s annual homage to the annual coveted Skater Powerboats catamaran brand in the Detroit Metro area—had one of the best showings in its eight-year history. Not only did the event attracted 43 eye-catching custom creations from the Douglas, Mich., custom high-performance catamaran builder, Szolack, who is something of a freelance Skater dealer did business at the event. During the weekend, he delivered a Skater 368 he had previously sold to Bill Munyan of St. Petersburg, Fla. He also sold a boat to a Skaterfest first-timer, as during the event Louisiana’s Dave Branton bought Szolack’s unique eight-seat Skater 388.
The return of Skaterfest this year is no longer in doubt. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
But even with that kind of success behind him, as of last Sunday Szolack wasn’t sure he’d produce the event his year. A few unconfirmed complaints regarding the Skatefest fleet operation on the water reached local authorities, most notably the United States Coast Guard in the area. Szolack was told the he might—key word—have to pull a permit for his next event.
“After almost 10 years doing, this Coast Guard wants me to pull a permit,” Szolack said last weekend. “I have not decided if I want to do that.”
Fortunately, Szolack did not have to make that call as the Coast Guard relented earlier this week.
“I’m good,” he said. “The Coast Guard gave me their blessing. They just want me to have a drivers meeting in the morning to tell everyone the speed limits at different parts of the lake.”
Skaterfest 2020 is set for August 6-9. Though Szolack said he’s expecting another great showing, he’s not sure what boat he’ll run. The 35 Statement powered by Mercury Marine Verado 350 outboards he’s currently having built—his fifth center console for the St. Petersburg, Fla., boat company—won’t work at Skaterfest, even if he still owns it by then. Szolack still owns the Skater 388 he ran during the 2019 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri, but he’s hoping the wild canopied 38-footer is gone before summer. And his 43 Cranchi cruiser is out of the question.
“I’ll figure something out,” he said. “I have potential deals going on with a few used Skaters.”
An incredible weekend-long, brand-specific annual celebration in Michigan, Skaterfest will return this year.