May 2014

Joel Bartlett is an innovator and known within the marine industry as the un-carpet guy. Back when he introduced DECKadence, the recession was at full force and recreational boating was being hit hard. At the same time he noticed the pontoon industry was on the rise so he started developing a marine deck covering that would be suitable for the pontoon industry.

“Vinyl is too slippery and cheesy, carpet is too soggy and synthetic teak runs around $45 dollars a square foot and that's not even installed,” says Bartlett. “In 2011 I went to work on an affordable synthetic teak option for pontoon boats, but the problem is the factories produce small strips from the extrusion, they texturize the surface and deal with multiple channels of distribution so there was nowhere to go with existing manufacturers.” 

So the innovator joint ventured with one of his long-time contract manufacturers to produce a synthetic teak targeted to the pontoon industry.

“We built all new extrusion equipment to produce panels, not strips,” says Bartlett. “We texturized wider sections, we eliminated distribution channels, and because of the volume pontoons would yield, we diluted the raw material cost and bought in bulk.”

All these factors gave rise to the perfect storm, which is now known as TornadoTEAK. TornadoTEAK installs in minutes, has the real teak look, is non-slip and carries a 10-year warranty. According to Bartlett, the cost to the end user will be about $14 to $17 dollars a square foot, which is less than half of the current market price. TornadoTEAK is available to select OEMs and limited quantities are available for consumers who wish to place an order. (

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