Summer’s Coming: Cool your cabin fever with a look at hot trends in water recreation

Filed in Lakeside Living by on March 28, 2014

6205378863_cb003dc45a_bAs cabin fever sets in for the many longing for open water, dock and marine dealerships have been reeling in the latest trends and improvements to help make life on the lake even sweeter come summer.

“People are thinking summer,” says Wally Scheer of Brainerd Dock and Lift in Nisswa. He attributes much of the early anticipation to the variety of sportsmen’s and home shows throughout the state. These events not only get people in the spirit of warmer weather but also allow distributors to show off what’s hot in water recreation.

What’s up, dock?

floe dock

Photo Courtesy of Floe International

An exciting new innovation in docks is what Scheer calls “aluma-grain.” Just last year, Floe Docks, based out of McGregor, introduced an all-aluminum dock with a wood appearance. This new feature allows dock owners to have the aesthetic appeal of wood docking with the minimal maintenance of aluminum.

“It’s a very intricate process to get it to look like wood,” Scheer says, “but it really does look like it, complete with knots and everything. It’s probably the hottest thing out there on the market right now.”

Also available through Flow and sold and Brainerd Dock and Lift is an exclusive independently adjustable leg system on boatlifts and docks. Scheer says all you need to lift and lower your boat lift or dock legs are a portable drill and socket.

“It’s been out the last few years but is really taking off. You never have to get in the water. That’s a big deal and an exclusive item for Floe.”

Get your motor running

Eric Thesing of Central Marine and Sports north of Alexandria says that, while he’s still in ice fishing mode, he is looking forward to the upcoming boating season and what it has to offer boating enthusiasts.

“Spring brings a fresh start and new growth to everything. What we’re looking forward to most is introducing a new model of the Princecraft pontoon,” Thesing says, adding that the launch includes new and improved features, designs and more.

While traditional is good for some, otheres are looking for something and combines the best of both worlds – practicality and performance.

“The pontoon industry is really starting to get away from ‘grandpa’s pontoon,'” says Mark Foster, owner of Foster Brothers Marine in Delano.

bennington tri-toon

Photo Courtesy of Bennington

Foster Brothers is anticipating excitement for the 16-, 18- and 20- foot tri-toon. A traditional pontoon boat with three, rather than two, pontoons to increase performance.

“It’s just another step in that revolution,” Foster says. “It’s the one boat that does it all. You can still do the putt putt cruise thing, but then you also can tube, water ski… There are significant advantages.”

Foster says the tri-toon can double its motor capacity over a regular pontoon, allowing increased speed, quicker planing and, unlike many traditional pontoons boats, it will easily pull a full-grown adult water skier.

Interested in going green on the big blue? Foster Brothers Marine is also excited about the Paddle Qwest, a traditional-looking pontoon that’s equipped with a paddlewheel on the back and fueled by human pedal power.

“It’s a very cool product,” Foster says, “but it also has a niche market.”

Paddle Qwest, an innovation by Apex Marine, comes in a variety of styles with an assortment of options.

All about accessories

Photo Courtesy of Sea Doo

Photo Courtesy of Sea Doo

Another item that has evolved is your standard pull-behind tube. Brad Halverson, parts and service manager at Brainerd Sports Outlet, says water toys continue to be hot sellers year after year. However, the tubes aren’t your typical round inflatables anymore. Halverson says the most popular of the pull-behinds is the deck tube, which is flat, large and accommodates two or three people, getting huge air over big wakes.

Mark Van Essen of DH Docks and Tracks in Nisswa says dock table and chair sets continue to be a top accessory choice for those living on the water.

“People spend a lot of time down (by the water) so they want to be comfortable,” he says, adding that chairs with a swivel base or lounge option tend to sell best.

Pontoon boat accessories have also been hot and likely will be again this summer, including everything from customized can holders to tubes for pulling behind a pontoon.

Van Essen says many more people are also purchasing boat-cleaning supplies to keep their crafts in tip-top shape.

“People are really taking care of their boats these days,” he says. “We’ve been selling a lot of boat cleaner, but it sure makes sense.”

by Jenny Holmes, a writer from Nisswa

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