In a story a couple of weeks back, speedonthewater.com teased that Justin Wagner, the owner of Waves and Wheels in Osage Beach, Mo., was purchasing a 50-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran. What was not included was which boat and where he picked it up. Well the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, as Wagner is working with the boat’s former owner and longtime Waves and Wheels customer, Doug Stevenson of Kansas City, Mo., to get the 50-footer rigged and the interior updated in time for the summer season.
Justin Wagner of Waves and Wheels can’t wait to get his new-to-him Skater 50 SS cat on the water. Photos courtesy Justin Wagner
The former Zuperman Skater, a 2004 model originally built for Barry Zeckleman, landed in Stevenson’s extensive collection of performance boats a while back and in 2020 he sent the 50 SS to Boat Customs in Caledonia, Mich., where it was repainted and given a complete cockpit conversion from its original wraparound windshield to a new windshield from Lee Aerospace for the boat’s eight-person cockpit. Chris Mills and the team at Boat Customs also repaired and repainted the boat’s deck, extended its bustle and re-cleared the entire thing.
Back in his possession at the end of 2021, Stevenson, who has worked on projects with Wagner for close to 10 years and even sold him the popular 40-foot Skater Predator toward the end of last summer, asked Wagner if he’d be interested in buying the 50-footer. Wagner, who also owns a former 46-foot Skater raceboat he’s been converting to a pleasure boat for some time called Noizy Boy, jumped at the opportunity, then went ahead and sold Predator to Brandon and Tosha Thornton—Wagner’s longtime friends and Waves and Wheels customers who own Torque Motorsports in Rolla, Mo. (The Thorntons are also opening a new location at Lake of the Ozarks.)
“Because of how long Noizy Boy has taken us—our customers’ boats always come before personal projects—and because I sold Predator, which got me accustomed to the big power, when Doug said he would sell the 50 to me, I was all in,” said Wagner, who plans to convert the cockpit into a seven-seater, put in three new seat shells that he ordered directly from Skater, and install completely new upholstery, side panels and a top-of-the-line Bluave Marine Audio entertainment system. “It’s exciting to be able to configure a boat to suit my tastes and work closely with someone like Doug, who is so inspiring and passionate. We have a little different taste—Doug is a bit more conservative than I am—but I really like the way this boat has come together.”
Besides the monster power—Stevenson and his Kansas City-based crew that includes his friend and frequent project collaborator, Doug Knierim, are currently rigging the boat with its two supercharged 2,000-hp engines from Carson Brummett—Wagner has a feeling he’s going to love the roominess of the 50-footer compared to Predator.
Check out the slideshow above for a few more images of the 50-foot Skater and its supercharged Carson Brummett engines.
“Chris (Mills) and his guys did such a great job with the wraparound windshield and the paint—the boat looks so modern now—that we’re going to make sure to modernize the dash, the seats and anything else we can to make the interior really special,” Wagner explained. “I know Doug takes satisfaction in seeing these projects completed, which is why he’s offered to finish the rigging. They’re painting the bottom of the engine bay black and cleaning everything up. All of the hoses, fittings and hardware are going to be black. It’s going to be a piece of art when everyone is done with it.”
While Wagner, who plans to have the boat on display at his hometown Lake of the Ozarks Shootout as well as the accompanying Super Cat Fest in late August and take it to the Tiki Lee’s Shootout On The River in Maryland in mid-July, has driven all kinds of customers’ boats and owned a variety of boats throughout the years, including catamarans from American Offshore and Hustler Powerboats and pontoons from PlayCraft Boats, he’s not afraid to admit he’s partial to Skater catamarans because of their history and their overall performance.
“I love big cats and big power—what can I say?” Wagner questioned with a laugh, adding that he’s already set aside the first slip on the new docks at The Boardwalk at Waves and Wheels for the Skater. “The boat is going to be loaded with all of our latest-and-greatest bells and whistles so it will be an incredible demo for people to come down and hop right on to get a hands-on demo.”
Wagner said he is currently working on side panel designs as well as a new carbon-fiber dash design for the boat. He added that he’s going to work closely with well-known rigging expert Tony Battiato to get everything set up for the dash, including new touchscreen Garmin displays and analog to digital converters.
“I haven’t made up my mind on the boat’s identity just yet—I think it needs some sort of identity because I don’t want it to be confused with Noizy Boy once we get that finished,” Wagner said. “I’m super excited about this boat, especially after having Predator for some time. I’m not out to run any crazy fast speeds in it. I just like the feel of the pull and the control that the power provides.
“This boat is so bad-ass; it’s the coolest boat I’ve ever owned,” he continued. “I think I’m still more excited about getting Noizy Boy on the water one of these days, but for the time being, the 50 is going to be so much fun.”
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