The NMMA and Boating Writers International (BWI) honored yesterday winners of the 2019 Minneapolis Innovation Awards, recognizing groundbreaking new consumer marine products, presented opening night of the Progressive Insurance Minneapolis Boat Show.
The Innovation Awards came to Minneapolis in 2018 to honor manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products in the boating industry to market in the following categories: aluminum fishing boats, fiberglass fishing boats, and pontoon boats. This year’s program evaluated eleven products; and judges ultimately selected three winners – Lund Boats, Skeeter Boats, and Smoker Craft, Inc.
“We’re proud to host a portion of the prestigious Innovation Awards here in Minneapolis, showcasing the strength and innovation of marine manufacturing in the upper Midwest,” noted Show Manager Darren Envall. “Fishing boats and pontoons have a strong presence in this marketplace, and the boat show is THE place to check out the newest innovations, particularly in these sectors, year after year.”
In the pontoon category, Smoker Craft took top honors with its Sylvan Mirage 8524 DLZ Bar. This new unique, patent pending design allows for two different pontoon layouts in the same model. The standard configuration of this model has a center bar with four removable bar stools. The bar is directly behind an “L” shaped pit bench with a swing back cushion. The bar assembly is made up of two bar sides, each with a cushion pad, that are attached with hinges to a fixed base.
With the bar stools removed, the port side bar can be folded down taking up the space between the base and port side rail. Then the starboard bar side can be folded down and because of the custom designed hinges, this side not only rotates to the horizontal position but it also is translated right up next to the port side bar.
These two sides folded down with the two cushion pads exposed create a layout pad. The configuration of the boat now becomes a swing back seating layout and when the swing back bench cushion is flipped forward, you now have a large rear facing lounge. The beauty of this design is being able to have an entertainment focused layout with an elegant bar seating area and then still have the opportunity to convert this design to a spacious rear facing lounger layout for relaxing. The customer no longer has to debate between which of these two popular pontoon boat layouts to purchase when they can have them both in this one model.
The judging panel for the NMMA Innovation Awards included Judging Chair Alan Wendt, Bill Gius and Pontoon & Deck Boat Magazine Editor Brady Kay. The other winners included the 1675 Adventure from Lund Boats in the Aluminum Fishing Boat category for its very thoughtful and well-designed features including the SportTrak/ProTrak system. And the WX2200 from Skeeter Boats in the Fiberglass Fishing Boat category also won for its use of melding aluminum and fiberglass to create a stronger but lighter deck on the 22-foot walleye boat.
For general questions about the Minneapolis Innovation Awards please contact Rachel Harmon at email@example.com. The Innovation Award winners will be on display throughout the show, January 24-27, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.