The 2018 offshore powerboat racing season storyline continues to delivers plenty of twists and turns. The most recent of these is that Wayne Valder, the owner of the Pro Floors Racing NZ-1 is leasing the Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran owned by Mark Small of the Cleveland Construction team for the Super Boat International Offshore World Championship Nov. 5-11 in Key West, Fla.
The boat will be wrapped with Pro Floors Racing graphics by Ryan Beckley of Kinetic Animation in Sarasota, Fla.
The Cleveland Construction Skater will fly the Pro Floors Racing NZ-1 colors at the SBI Worlds in Key West, Fla., next month. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“We already had the accommodations and airfare so we were sort of committed to going to Key West,” said Valder. “We have a lot of fans from New Zealand who are planning to come support us. This is a great opportunity for us to race in Key West in another boat.”
The seeds of that opportunity were sown at the recent SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., where a conflict between Small and SBI officials led Small to withdraw Cleveland Construction from the race and all future SBI events. In response, SBI reportedly has banned from Small from all of its future events.
Later that day in Clearwater, Valder’s 39-foot Pro Floors Racing NZ-1 MTI catamaran rolled in a collision with M-Con. (Neither Valder nor Chris Hanley, the team’s throttleman was injured.) Both boats sustained damage, but while the M-Con team is having its 40-footer repaired by the Skater crew in Douglas, Mich., for the upcoming SBI Offshore World Championships in Key West, the Pro Floors Racing team had opted to take its time with repairs, which included upgrades to the cat.
The owner of Grant’s Signature Racing in Bradenton, Fla., Grant Bruggemann—Cleveland Construction’s throttleman—said he’s looking forward to throttling the boat and sharing the cockpit with Valder. “Wayne is a veteran competitor and we get along well,” he said. “ He has raced in New Zealand a long, long time and we’re glad to have him here.”