The Value in Challenging (Some) Boating Traditions

Tradition, in general, is fantastic. It keeps us connected to our families, to our friends, and to the things that we hold dear.

By definition, tradition is “…the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.” The very idea of it is grounding and quite lovely, really. Almost like its own form of etiquette, tradition can provide an unwritten, common language around how things are done. 

Yet in most aspects of life, there comes a time when the customs and beliefs of preceding generations need to be questioned. Societal norms need to be challenged. Cultural expectations must be revisited and viewed not through the lens of what was appropriate fifty years ago, but rather what we are capable of today. 

And yes: There comes a time when traditional boating gear requires an overhaul, too.

It makes sense that tradition holds so much sway in boating. People have put boats on water for millenia. There’s evidence of sea crossings from as early as 53,000 to 65,000 years ago. Exploration and settlement of the South Pacific region goes as far back as 3000 to 15000 B.C. 

Still today, we set rules and guidelines for our boats. A love for being on the water is a multi-generational experience that we tend to pass down. And if you’re being honest with yourself, how many parents out there demand that certain aspects of the boating experience be done the same way, every time? 

When it comes to safety, on-water expectations, and etiquette, this makes sense. But when it comes to gear, why do we hold onto some traditions and not others? 

Whether or not we consider ourselves early adopters, most boaters do the research and make the best choice for their boat and their lifestyle–regardless of tradition or trend. Boats have evolved with new materials, new hull shapes, and new performance parameters. Electronics have evolved. Our foul weather apparel has improved. Even rope and lines have evolved. 

Boat protection has evolved, too. IMPACT is providing more durable materials, higher functioning designs, and more user-friendly options with our fenders, dock bumpers, and piling pads

Our boat fenders are made of 32 ounce PVC coated polyester and are specifically designed with a lighter weight PVC that is extremely tough, puncture-resistant and has impressive tear strength built into the layers. In addition, all our boat fenders have welded seams, making them extremely durable and long-lasting for the best boat fenders on the market today.

And you know what? We, too, sat on tradition for several years before we questioned, “Why?”

As co-founders of IMPACT, we’ve both been boaters and waterskiers for over three decades. We fumbled and cursed and rolled our eyes at traditional cylindrical fenders for well over two-thirds of our lives. Our parents used old-style fenders, as did everyone we knew. 

 

Traditional, old-style fenders before the IMPACT revolution.

Boat manufacturers tossed them in for free! Was that their worth? What other “free” items would you rely on to protect a brand new $200,000 investment? 

Those inflatable, unwieldy things had been around so long, it’s almost as if we all became immune to their design and application flaws. 

We realized we were adhering to tradition without questioning why it persisted. 

Our revolution started with the age-old line that kick-starts every major innovation, “There has to be a better way.” So we got to work. 

IMPACT products, especially our fenders, look different than old school fenders. They perform better. They are easier to use, easier to stow, and are multi-functional. The materials are more durable and the quality is off the charts. They offer more surface protection, exceptional impact protection, and they stay put to manage friction. In the highly unlikely event that they are punctured or torn, they still provide full protective capabilities. We cannot say the same for air-filled fenders. 

Our customers love the ease, the functionality, the colors, and above all, the confidence in knowing their boats are protected. Between their feedback and our rapid growth (not to mention our testing), the IMPACT concept has been proven. IMPACT products work, and they look good doing it!

For the discerning boat owner, our fenders are the best protection you can buy. Recycled high density foam reduces impact and the moldable form fitting design conforms to any surface.

We understand the traditional aesthetic of boating, and honestly, we love it! But when you look at a wooden cruiser or a sleek yacht or a center console built for pure fun, aren’t you looking at the gentle curve of gunwale and the built-for-speed shape of the hull? Aren’t you appreciating the comfort of the deck and the shape of the sails? 

In other words, have you ever looked at a 50-foot sloop and thought, “Those are some gorgeous fenders”? 

Gorgeous IMPACT Fenders protecting the sleek hull of a large sailboat.

Of course, perhaps now you will say that with IMPACT. But the point is that when we think of traditions in boating and boating aesthetics, it’s always about the boat. 

And that’s what we stand for. We are boaters on a mission to craft the highest quality and most thoughtfully-designed boat protection available. We’re inspired by traditions, but not limited by what they infer. 

In Silicon Valley, they’d call us disrupters: coming into an existing industry not just to do things differently, but to do them better. We believe that is when there’s value in challenging traditions. 

And we have no intention of stopping. As we said above, it’s all about the boat, and how we can protect it with modern solutions, smart design, and superior performance. That is our new tradition. 

 

Thanks and happy boating!

Brian and Courtney

Wondering why IMPACT Fenders are the best?

We Answer FAQs: Fender Edition

We’ve been to tons of boat shows, and we talk to fellow boaters every chance we get. Plus, through our developing vendor network and colleagues in the marine industry, we’re coordinating with the most experienced and savvy boat pros around.

There’s one constant: you all ask great questions.

And answering them is serious business. We put our products to the test so you can have confidence that your boat (a.k.a. your investment) is safe and secure on the water.

IMPACT has an entirely new approach to protection, prioritizing: premium materials, handmade craftsmanship, exceptional durability, and never compromising on style. Every choice we make is intentional and aimed at better security, less stress, and more fun..

Our patent-pending boat fenders are made of 32 ounce PVC coated polyester and are specifically designed with a lighter weight PVC that is extremely tough, puncture-resistant and has impressive tear strength built into the layers. In addition, all our boat fenders have welded seams, making them extremely durable and long-lasting for the best boat fenders on the market today.

Want to know why IMPACT Fenders are the best on the market? Here are the questions we hear most frequently:

What is the outer material on IMPACT gear?
The outer material for all of our protection products (fenders, dock bumpers, piling pads, and specialty products) is 32-oz, PVC-coated polyester. Unlike a PVC pipe, which you may be familiar with, this PVC (poly-vinyl chloride) coating is smooth and flexible. There’s a very slight texture to the touch, which makes it easy to manage when wet or dry.

PVC-coated polyester is a super-high tensile strength material that is waterproof, UV-resistant, and extremely durable against friction, punctures, and well…impact. For perspective, it’s often used as an industrial material for awnings, hydraulic hoses, sports flooring, commercial tents and fabric structures, and even space vehicles!

We got the idea from river rafting, where the raft materials withstand heavy loads, hot sun, cold water, tons of friction with gear and raft frames, and significant forces from powerful, jarring rapids as well as occasional impact with–and scraping against–boulders in the river. Bottom line: This material is tough and it’s built to last.

As opposed to inflatable boat fenders or traditional round boat fenders, our flat, boat fenders are enclosed with high density, closed-cell recycled polyethylene foam. That means that our fenders can withstand repeated pounding without breaking down so that our boat fenders are durable and long-lasting for an exceptional value.

How does the outer material hold up to saltwater?
Great! PVC-coated polyester is mechanically and chemically stable in natural environments. You’d have to mix up a potent chemical mix to dissolve or alter it. While we’re at it, we’ll mention that PVC-coated polyester is highly resistant to dirt, mildew, oils and most chemicals, too.

What about sun exposure?
PVC-coated polyester is UV-resistant. It won’t lose strength or functionality in high temperatures.

A-ha! But will the cool, IMPACT colors fade?
PVC-coated polyester is very fade resistant. We have PVC-coated polyester gear that has spent nearly every day in the Southwest sun for over 20 years, and it still holds great color.

The IMPACT Fenders family of premium colors that will not fade even in the toughest environments.

Is the material puncture proof?
We wouldn’t wear it to swim with alligators, if that’s what you’re asking, but it’s going to take at least 220 pounds of focused pressure to puncture IMPACT gear. That’s stronger than all but the most powerful dog bites.

BONUS: On the off-chance your IMPACT Fender does sustain a puncture hole, it’s still going to be 100% effective at protecting your boat. Unlike a traditional, air-filled fender that’s useless if punctured, our fenders are filled with closed-cell foam that will continue to absorb and disperse impacts. The PVC-coated polyester doesn’t fray, rip or tear (without significant force), so the rest of the fender’s integrity and functionality will remain intact until you can have it patched or replaced.

These aren’t covered with scuff marks like my old fenders. Does IMPACT gear require a lot of maintenance?
IMPACT gear is resistant to dirt, mildew, salt, UV and chemicals. Even with repeated bumps and friction and soaking, it’s going to look great for years to come.

That said, to get the best longevity and looks from your IMPACT protection, we recommend an annual (or semi-annual) wipedown with 303 Protectant. 303 also works for a quick cleaning, when needed.

Inside our patent-pending, medium bendable fender is a pliable material sandwiched between the closed-cell recycled polyethylene foam and then wrapped with PVC coated polyester. This provides a malleable boat fender that you can shape to your boat’s hull or around the gunnel. This means you can get the same performance from a low profile, form-fitting product without the large boat bumpers or big fenders of the past.

I already have too many fenders. Why should I get more?
Compared to old-school, cylindrical fenders, IMPACT Fenders: don’t roll out of place as you dock; the flat design makes them easier to stow; they’re versatile (as seat cushions, backrests, knee pads for working on your engine, and for floating fun); and they’re more durable than the old style.

We’re not advocating to buy more for the sake of buying more. We just know once you use them, you’ll appreciate the increased effectiveness, ease of use, and added benefits of IMPACT.

At IMPACT Fenders we know how precious storage is on most boats. Our flat design make stowing IMPACT Fenders fast and easy.

I’ve never seen that sort of cam attachment before. Why not just use line?
You can absolutely use line! Our fenders come with the silicone-covered cam attachment, but we also sell Top Knot line through our online store, if that’s your jam. You can also opt for line plus a Danik Hook, which is another elegant and user-friendly solution.

The Cam Strap is a heavy-duty fastening system. It has a rubber-coated cam buckle and webbing to protect your boat from scratches. They will easily fasten to any cleat, handle, tower, etc. They are recommended for larger boats (sailboats, yachts, houseboats).
The Cam Strap comes in two lengths: 3′ and 6′

We’ve found that most people who try the Cam Strap Fastening System really love it. The cam mechanism is stainless steel, so it won’t rust. The silicone rubber cover protects your boat from scratches. It’s an extremely strong attachment that’s easy for passengers and experts alike to manage.

Why are IMPACT Fenders more expensive than the old school fenders?
IMPACT Fenders cost more than the competition because we use premium materials and handcraft each item. To some people, this may seem excessive for an “accessory.” But our mission is to provide the highest and best safety and security for one of your biggest investments: your boat. Our gear may cost a bit more upfront, but we believe you’ll see the return through added confidence on the water, quality, durability and longevity.

Can you hang an IMPACT Fender sideways?
Sure! Our medium and large fenders have marine-grade stainless steel grommets on the top and the bottom, so you can add another line to the bottom. Or you can go directly for our Clamshell Boat Fenders, which have four grommets placed equidistant around the fender, and come with two Cam Strap Fasteners. Your choice!

Stainless steel grommets on the corners of IMPACT Fenders make them a breeze to mount horizontally. This example utilizes our Danik Hook Fastening System.

Will IMPACT gear scratch or transfer color to my gelcoat or paint?
Nope. We have rubbed, punched, scraped, and bumped IMPACT fenders and bumpers against boat surfaces on endless repeat, without any damage or color transfer. Safety and protection is our absolute priority, and as boat owners ourselves, we are equally focused on damage-free solutions.

Repeated testing proves that IMPACT Fenders will not scratch, scuff or transfer color to the gelcoat or paint of your boat.

What are the extra corners for on the fenders?
The corner material on IMPACT Fenders is strategically placed on the lower side of the fender, which will typically receive the most contact. It’s simply an added layer of toughness (and therefore: longevity) for the fender. We use calibrated heat welders to seal the finite edges of all IMPACT gear. It’s a bomber seam that we make even stronger by adding a second layer of material.

 

More questions? Please ask us!
We’ll be adding more FAQs here, but no need to stand by for that future date.
Hit us up via Instagram or Facebook. Or shoot us a call or an email.

Ready to buy?
Okay. Here’s the full IMPACT product line. Happy shopping!

We love to hear from you!
Happy Boating!

We’re Growing!

New IMPACT Shop and Offices Ramp Up Capacity for Increased Demand

We’ve moved! We’re still firmly grounded in Durango, Colorado, just in a brand new (to us) facility. In April 2021, we packed up our original shop and moved into a space nearly twice as big! Technically, it’s 175% bigger, but who’s counting?

We are beyond grateful to our fellow boaters! Thanks to you, those who share our vision for a better way to protect your boats, we’re growing like mad. This new space gives us the room to continue to deliver top quality at a faster pace and bigger scale.

Our growth is a testament to how well IMPACT gear works. More boaters, more marinas, more dock owners, more sailors, more pontoon owners, more captains, and more cruisers are choosing IMPACT with the confidence of knowing our products are proven performers on the water.

Here’s how this move affects you, our awesome IMPACT community:

  • Our expansion allows for faster production, which means we can get your IMPACT products to you a little bit quicker.
  • We now have the space for a brand new cutting machine, which is increasing productivity by about 25%.
  • The climate-controlled shop means less waste and tighter quality control. The heat welding we use requires specific calibration, so reliable ambient temperature is a huge benefit to achieving our bomber weld every time.
  • We can scale up production for our growing retail partner network, so you can support your local marine shop and place IMPACT protection on your boat or dock the very same day!
  • A better shop layout and more space make for a far more comfortable working space for our production and packaging team.
  • We have an exterior lift elevator that our kids (and our backs) love! That doesn’t affect your IMPACT gear, but it keeps everybody here in a better mood.
  • And importantly, we now have room to hire more people that are as passionate about delivering a premium product as we are. We’ve already increased the size of our team from two to 10! Six of those positions are based here in Durango, Colorado.

As we continue to grow and to develop new boat protection products, know that our North Star is unwavering. We make the highest quality, premium boat protection available. Period.

We never cut corners when it comes to your marine investments. IMPACT gear will continue to be handcrafted until a machine exists that can do it better than we do. In the meantime, we’re able to increase efficiencies in our production by adding certain tools–like the cutting machine–that make it faster to achieve the crisp and consistent quality we’re known for.

Thank you to everyone who trusts IMPACT gear to protect your boat. This move feeds our mission to make time on the water safer and worry-free. We appreciate you.

Happy boating!

Brian and Courtney

No Foolin’: IMPACT’s Brand New Piling Pads Available on April 1

We are supremely excited to introduce the newest addition to our product lineup: Impact Piling Pads. They’re available RIGHT NOW on our website. 

Our new Piling Pads are effective, easy-to-install, and downright elegant. As with every product we make, boat protection is the highest priority and these babies are no exception. Impact Piling Pads are durable, UV-resistant, and puncture and tear-resistant. They will perform for years to come. 

Top quality materials and hand craftsmanship ensure the highest in impact and scuff protection. The outer is 32-ounce, PVC-coated polyester. Test after test, Impact outers don’t scratch gel coats or transfer color. 

More magic happens inside! A super dense, recycled, closed-cell polyethylene foam interior takes the impact between the boat and the piling. The foam absorbs and disperses contact (or impact) pressure across the surface area of the Pad, instead of transferring pressure outward. The result? Less boat movement while docked. 

With permanent and moveable options, installation is a breeze. Use the included stainless steel bolt head screws to attach the Pad directly to the piling. Or install with the quick-adjust straps to allow for easy up/down accommodation of ebb and flow tides. 

Available in three sizes (height by width by thickness):

  • Small (2 feet by 8 inches by 1 inch)
  • Medium (4 feet by 8 inches by 1 inch)
  • Large (4 feet by 8 inches by 3 inches)

Insider Tip: Choose a size that corresponds to the size of your boat, rather than the size of the piling. For larger boats, the large Piling Pad has added thickness, plus wraparound “wings” to ensure full protection.

As with our other products, Impact Pilling Pads offer premium protection and style. With 10 colors options, even your pillings can now reflect your vibe — from traditional to flashy.

Available colors: Admiral Blue, Carolina Blue, Classic White, Midnight Black, Anchor Grey, Sunset Orange, Venetian Yellow, Crimson Red, Sea Green, and Camo Green. 

Impact Piling Pads are one more step to worry-free boating.  More fun on the water; more protection at the dock. 

Check them out in action on Instagram at @impactfenders  and Facebook at

Buy Impact Piling Pads online today. 

IMPACT products are also available at select retailers and online. If you’re interested in becoming a retail partner, please contact [email protected].

Jonesing for Boat Inspo? A Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show Recap

 

The Impact team just returned from the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Not only was it our first time exhibiting at Ft. Lauderdale, it was also the first show we’ve been able to attend since March due to the pandemic. And the verdict is in…

It. Was. Amazing. 

It inspired new product ideas for boat protection and custom order ideas that we can produce right now. (See below.)

Mountains to the Ocean

Traveling in the time of COVID definitely adds another layer to the experience. With multiple clean face masks and enough hand sanitizer to fuel a small nation, we left home ready to social distance and rejoice with our community of fellow boaters. 

We love our home base of Durango, Colorado. It’s where we live and where we make every single Impact fender and bumper. Our lakes are fantastic, mountain biking is world-class, and we can ski all winter long. But can we take a moment to geek out over how revitalizing it is to be at the ocean?

Fort Lauderdale, if you haven’t been there, is life on the water. Some people use their boats to run to the grocery store and the post office. The air is thick with salt and the coastal water is the same crystalline blue you expect to find only in the tropics. 

If we weren’t so excited to be at the Boat Show, it would have been easy to spend all day on the water. But we wanted to check out what’s new, what’s trending, and to mix it up with boaters. 

And we’re even more excited to share it with you. 

Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show Vibe and Attendance

Ft. Lauderdale is open to everyone, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect given the state of the world. Organizers said attendance was down significantly. We can tell you this: Everyone who showed up was extremely serious about boating and ready to invest more time on the water.

We were humbled and pleasantly surprised that lots of people had heard of Impact and sought out our booth on the show floor. We spoke with sailors who were planning huge trips, and many people who have turned to (more) on-water time as a break from the realities of terra firma right now. The unifying thread was passion.

Product and Boat Trends

What’s hot in Florida? Big ol’ boats! Seriously. 

Center consoles are having a moment. They’re spacious for families and for fishing. Bonus: They’re fast! Like jot-down-to-the-Bahamas-for-lunch fast. 

On the Impact front, one of the fun curiosities for us is figuring out which of our colors are popular by geography. We never would have guessed going in, but it turns out a strong color theme emerges from every show we do. We can now decisively report that Ft. Lauderdale boaters love the classics: dark blue and white. 

Custom Orders and Product News That’s Too Early to Share

We’re not spilling the beans on what exactly they’ll be, but we will say that the show and the Ft. Lauderdale marinas inspired several new product ideas. Stay tuned, especially if you dock with pilings. 

If you need a custom solution now for your boat protection concerns, call us. We’ll design a bomber Impact fender or dock bumper suited to your specifications. Water fluctuations? Wind? High traffic? We have the solution. 

We keep waiting to grow tired of traveling to boat shows. People tell us one day it’s going to feel like work. So far, that’s not our experience. 

We left inspired and happy. Inspired to keep building the best performing boat protection on the market. And happy to be surrounded by boaters who love being on the water as much as we do. 

‘Til next time!

Thanks and happy boating, 

Brian and Courtney

Coming Soon to a Retailer Near You: IMPACT Fenders!

Coming Soon to a Retailer Near You: Impact Fenders! 

Shout out to distributors, independent sales reps, and retailers!

We are beyond excited to announce that we’re looking for retail partners! Sailors, powerboaters, pontooners, jet skiers, and boaters of all kinds will soon be able to purchase Impact fenders and dock bumpers directly from their most trusted source: their local marine store. 

We’re growing rapidly and we’re excited to partner with you. If you want to sell one the most effective, attractive and innovative boat protection on the market, call us. Seriously, here are our digits.

The next goal is for boaters to have the convenience of walking into their  local shop, and walking out with Impact fenders in-hand. 

The mantra for this program happens to be one of our guiding principles: “Stay flexible.” There are some things we’re rigid on, like quality, integrity and respecting our community. But when it comes to boat protection and business operations, we believe flexibility delivers the best results.  (Get it? Impact fenders bend to the shape of the hull.)

For our potential new partners, flexibility means, “Let’s talk!” Bring us your partnership ideas and we’ll share our own. How can Impact support you in providing the hottest fender on the market, a reliable profit center, and exceptional sell-through? 

If you want a protected territory, cool, let’s talk volumes. You want higher margins, sweet, so do we! That’s a little joke, but the point is:  let’s grow together. 

Of course, we have some policies and guidelines, but we’re open to negotiating because we know it’s not easy to run a business today. We also know that your success is our success. Though we’re growing, our business is still nimble enough to go with the flow and always factor humanity into our decisions. 

 

  • Impact fenders are the first  significant innovation in boat fenders and protection in 50 years. They’re effective, durable, attractive and multi-use.
  • If our year-to-year growth is an indicator, we have achieved proof of concept. Our June YTY sales saw a 1,344% jump in sales. No, we’re not sharing the numbers. (Spoiler alert: They’re good.)
  • Consumers are driving this demand. They love our product! Sales have increased in the middle of a pandemic and with no in-person boat shows for over five months. 
  • With our recently launched Private Label program, we’ll custom brand fenders and bumpers for your store, your event or just about anything you want. 

We’re boaters who love to shop at marine stores. We know that your customers turn to you for expert advice, and that ultimately, you’re the best ambassadors for our brand. Which begs the question….

What are we bringing to the table? 

  • A hot product that is revolutionizing boat protection for EVERY boat that floats.
  • Sell-through. Since we launched, we’ve been hitting the boat show trail hard (when they were open, that is). Faces light up when they see, touch, and test the product in person. We’re confident our brand will be a reliable profit center for you.
  • Commitment and flexibility. We’re small enough that when we say we care about our human relationships, we mean it. We’re committed to your success. 
  • Low minimums. Higher volumes=better discounts.
  • Our small and scrappy marketing team is laser-focused on building brand awareness and market share.  A sampling of what we do: attend boat shows of all sizes, social media and social media advertising, pro athletes sponsorships, affiliate marketing, this blog, and public relations and media outreach.
  • A dealer locate feature is ready to launch on our website as soon as this wholesale/retailer program gets off the ground.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty. Our products are backed with a generous warranty to give you and your customers peace of mind. Fun fact: Our products are built so well and perform so  well that no one has yet to take us up on it!
  • Transparency and open communications. Just like most manufacturers today, we sell via our own website and through our Amazon store. To ensure every customer has an equally great experience and that our retail partners are on a level playing field, we’re developing MAP and equal pricing policies.

If you’d like to partner with Impact fenders and dock bumpers, give us a call!  Together, let’s give the people what they want: a better way to protect their boat.

Thanks and happy boating!

Courtney & Brian

Why a Crossover Boat May Be the Best Bet for Wakesurfing

Why a Crossover Boat May Be the Best Bet for Wakesurfing

 

Wakesurfing has been the biggest thing to hit the boat industry since the introduction of the deep V hull in the 1950s. The industry is always innovating, but few things have had such a profound influence on boat design, sales and overall boating culture as the popularity of wakesurfing. 

 

The sport is an ideal entrance into boating life. People of all ages and athletic ability can get up and be surfing within a few tries. The speeds are slower. And, big bonus, falls are a lot softer at 10 mph than a 30 mph plus water ski crash. Above all, it’s just plain fun. 

 

So what makes a good wakesurf boat? 

 

Ballast. It’s all about the weight, baby! Though all design factors feed into the ultimate wave quality, the overall weight and where the weight is distributed is arguably the most definitive. In the old days, we’d literally bring lead weights (like from the gym!) to add ballast. Today’s boats have internal water sacks that you can fill with the flip of a button.

 

Hull Shape. Wakesurf-specific boats will have a more pronounced V hull. The shape displaces the water and creates a bigger wave. By contrast, water ski boats have flat hulls in order to plane and minimize the wake. 

 

Size. The result of a few extra feet of overall boat length can amplify the surfing experience exponentially. It’s not a critical buying factor. Most likely, no one would ever notice until they surf behind a longer boat on wake that’s further away. The caveat with size is that you’ll want to know size limits on your local lake, storage considerations in your garage or elsewhere, and your vehicle’s towing capacity.

 

Surf System: Gates/Plates/Shapers. Wakesurf-specific boats will have built-in surf systems to shape the waves. With subtle adjustments, these can create a steeper, faster wave or a mellow, soft wave with a comfy pocket. It’s impressive how refined these systems can be. But don’t despair! Aftermarket wave shapers are perfectly effective, easily installed, and affordable for 99% of us non-pros. 

 

Okay, What Should I Buy? 

 

Hang in there, we have a list. But a boat is only good if it works for how you and your family want to use it. 

 

If your on-water experience is all wakesurf, all the time, check out tournament boats from the major brands. You’ll get the latest technology, and the most adaptable wave systems.

 

Most people, especially with families, want a more versatile boat. You’ll want to be able to tow skiers, surfers, wakeboarders and maybe even the occasional tubers! Some days, you may just want to sunset cruise or pack up for a overnight shoreline camping trip. The good news is that with today’s boat technology, crossover or multi-discipline boats do all of this really well. 

Super Air GS20 Gallery Photo

Full disclosure: Even though we and our kids enjoy a little bit of everything, we’re skiers at heart. So we opt for competition ski boats, with aftermarket accessories to adapt our small wake for surfing and boarding. It suits us our needs and it works great. Having both boated since we were kids, a lot of people ask for buying advice. This is the exact advice we share. 

 

Benefits of Crossover Boats

Versatility. Crossover boats are designed to provide a great experience for all disciplines. So the hull, the weight distribution and the sizes are moderated for all-around performance. Our philosophy is that you can always make wake bigger if a devoted wakesurfer is in your midst, but you can’t make it smaller for the kid who loves to ski. Like we said up top, boaters have been manipulating wakes for decades with low tech solutions. With new crossover built-ins and all the aftermarket gear available, this has become much easier.

 

Space and Comfort (and Bigger Wake). Definitely test out an inboard V-drive, where the motor is in the stern. The alternate inboard option is the direct drive, where the motor is in the center of the boat. A V-drive is slightly less efficient as a mechanical system, but it opens up more space to spread out or invite more friends. Added bonus for wakesurfing: The added weight to the stern means a V-drive will boost the size of the wake over a direct drive.

 

Reliable. Today’s crossover boats are well-built, high quality, and user-friendly. You’ll find all the extras for a plush ride, without the finicky and costly needs of the competition, performance engines. The top crossovers have enough features and performance to keep recreationalists entertained and challenged over many years as skills improve. 

 

Value and Longevity. The best crossover boats aren’t cheap, but they hold value well and are built to last. If your passion for wakesurfing grows and you want a tournament-style boat, reselling a well-maintained crossover boat should be easy and lucrative. 

 

Extras. The very essence of a crossover boat is fun, comfort, and more fun. So if you’re serious about buying a boat for wakesurfing (and more), factor these extras into your plan from the start. 

  • Obviously, the first thing to do is toss the old school fenders and outfit your new baby with some sweet Impact Fenders
  • Buy the tower. It’ll help keep your toys organized and your boat uncluttered. Also, it frees up a lot of space for moving around. 
  • Bimini up. The good news about being on the water is that there’s always enough sun. Shade, on the other hand, is at a premium. Get a bimini from the start. 

 

Check These Out: Our Choices for Best Crossover Boats for Wakesurfing (and Everything Else)

In no particular order, here are our choices for the best crossover or multi-discipline boats.  

  • Malibu 20 VTX: It has the soul of a performance water ski boat, with built-in ballast control and a readily deployed wave system. Bomber – all the way around.
  • Tige RZR: This is an older model that still delivers. With low hours and good maintenance records, this would be an exceptional choice if you can find one used.
  • Nautique GS20: It has the performance you’d expect, with luxury you may not. Nautique went to the mat for comfort, storage and refined useability on this one.
  • Supreme S202: Supreme is renowned for its innovative construction. The S202 was the first boat to be made entirely with a vacuum infusion process that results in a stronger boat and a peerless finish.

When it comes to boat design, we’re just fellow enthusiasts with a collected 60+ years (yikes!!) of boating experience! We love to talk boats! Even so, our expertise is in boat protection, because our passion is on the water. 

 

Happy boating!

Brian and Courtney

Will IMPACT Fenders Scratch My Gel Coat? 

Will IMPACT Fenders Scratch My Gel Coat? 

The number one question we get is: “Will IMPACT fenders and bumpers scratch my gel coat?” 

The short answer: No. IMPACT fenders and bumpers won’t scratch, scuff or transfer color to your boat’s gel coat. 

Old-style fenders are notorious for scuffing and damaging gel coats, which leads many boat owners to make the additional purchase of fender covers. Really? Why should you need to buy protection from your protection? Neither of these things are okay by us. Whether you spent $2,000 or $200,000 on your boat, fenders should be an easy-to-use and effective first line of defense.

We’re in the boat protection business. To us, that means Impact fenders and bumpers not only need to prevent damage from rubbing and impact, they also need to do no harm. 

We tested our products for four years in order to confidently say they won’t scratch gel coats. We’ve put them through the wringer, in nearly every conceivable condition. 

Impact fenders have withstood massive Lake Powell wind storms on rafted boats. We’ve given them to friends across the country who care for their boats with (almost) more tenderness than they care for their own children. And we’ve shared them with folks that put the party in pontooning. (In other words, being precious with their gear is not on the top of their list.) We’ve placed Impact bumpers in high traffic areas like gas docks and commercial launch tie-offs. And of course, we’ve used Impact fenders and bumpers exclusively for our own boat, a Malibu Response TXi. (And yeah, we are a little precious with her.)

From firsthand inspection and user reports, there’s been no evidence of gel coat scratching, scuffing or color transfer from Impact fenders or bumpers. As an added bonus, the wooden boat crowd has reported zero damage on marine paint and varnish. 

Our confidence begins with the materials we choose. Impact fenders and bumpers are made with 32-ounce PVC coated polyester. This highly durable material is known for high resistance to oils, salts, dirt and UV rays. Additionally, the rectangular shape of Impact fenders means they don’t roll across your hull, like an old-style cylindrical fender will. Less movement = less abrasion.

Even with the most ambitious boat maintenance (see below), every gel coat will develop some spider cracking over time. It’s the nature of fiberglass in the sun, water, motion and varying temperatures. While Impact fenders and bumpers provide greater protection than vinyl or polypropylene fenders, it’s worthwhile to take a few simple steps to minimize potential risks even further. 

Fender Pro Tips: What else can you do to ensure that your boat protection isn’t scratching your boat?

  1. Keep the fenders clean and free from dust and dirt. 
  2. Whenever you rinse your boat with freshwater, give your fenders a rinse, too.
  3. Unless the water itself is particularly oily or dirty at the dock, give the fenders a quick dip before attaching them to your boat.
  4. Position your fenders appropriately along the hull and in relation to the dock, to minimize excess movement. 
  5. Always pull your fenders up when you’re away from the dock. 
  6. Treat a few times per season with a UV protectant, like 303 Aerospace Protectant.

303 PRODUCTS 303® Marine & Recreation Aerospace Protectant™, 32oz ...

Tips to keep your gel coat in prime condition: 

  1. Once again: Keep her clean. Dust and dirt trapped between a boat and fender will etch away at the gel coat.
  2. All gel coats require regular maintenance. Here’s a 5-step maintenance plan from Sport Fishing magazine.
  3. Dark colors show scratches more easily. Black and navy blue boats sure are pretty, but you’ll also see every imperfection.
  4. If scratches do occur, treat them early. This short article and video from West Marine outlines how to do so, and when you should call for a professional assessment.
  5. For an ultimate gel coat guide for the highly ambitious, check out this 10-step program from Boats.com.

And as always, we welcome you to hit us up with any questions!

Thanks, 

Courtney & Brian

Shop now for our fenders and dock bumpers.

Meet Brian Slaughter, Co-founder/CEO/Master Craftsman/Laborer/Custodian/Welder at Impact Fenders

Meet Brian Slaughter, Co-founder/CEO/Master Craftsman/Laborer/Custodian/Welder at Impact Fenders

We love meeting all of you in person at boat shows and other events. But in this time of social distancing, everyone’s health and safety is our top priority. So let’s try the digital route!

Today, meet Brian Slaughter, co-founder and the man who (literally) makes it all happen on the production floor. 

To meet Courtney, co-founder and operational guru, click here.

And please, @ us on Facebook or Insta so we can get to know you, too. 

Impact Fenders: Hey Brian! I know the biggest thing on your mind right now is that everyone–in and out of the Impact family–is staying healthy or getting well. With serious news piling up by the minute, thank you for taking this time out for a little light news. 

We’re all in this together, so we may as well get to know each other! On that note, can you please introduce yourself? 

Brian Slaughter: I’m Brian, co-founder and CEO of Impact Fenders.

Impact: Does that describe what you do on the daily?

Brian: Oh no! In that case, I’m CEL: Chief Executive Laborer.

Impact: As a So. Cal kid, how did you find your way to Durango, Colorado? 

Brian: My parents bought a house here in 1982, and we’d come out on ski trips. After I graduated high school in 1986, I moved to the ocean (San Diego). It didn’t take long to realize the city was too big, with too many people for me. Plus, I wanted to ski. So I transfered to Fort Lewis College (in Durango) in 1988. 

Impact: And you settled in? 

Brian: Nope. I loved Durango, but I wanted to check out other places. So I eventually ended up here again, via Alaska and Kauai, then Santa Fe, where I went to grad school.

Impact: What did you study? 

Brian: I’m a doctor of oriental medicine. 

Impact: Say, what? So we should call you Doctor? 

Brian: No. I’m re-certifying, but…no. 

[Silence.]

Impact: Dr. Brian, when you were studying to heal the world did you ever think you’d ultimately do so through the healing power of being on the water? 

Dr. Brian: If you’re asking if I thought I’d be in the marine and boat protection industry, no. But I love it! 

Impact: Speaking of the water, what’s your aqueous sport of choice?

Dr. Brian: Slalom water skiing.

Impact: That’s Courtney’s discipline, too. Do you two have a little rivalry? What’s your personal best?

Dr. Brian: Nah. I never raced slalom, so I don’t record for a personal best. I just enjoy it. I raced waterskiing (one ski) a bit, which is more about speed. My high speed is 65 mph. It was fun, but super sketchy.

Impact: Yikes! In addition to going that fast on a small plank, do you have any other hidden talents that you’re ready to reveal to the world? 

Dr. Brian: Ha! No…they’re all exposed! [Laughs] Are you still calling me doctor…

Impact: Um, no. There’s a rumor floating around about you and a catamaran? 

Dr. Brian: Yeah, I grew up sailing small catamarans and Lasers. I want to learn more about sailing and the ocean so we can sail around the world when we retire. I want to do the whole west-bound route: Caribbean, Panama Canal, Pacific, South Pacific, Mediterranean, then back across the Atlantic. Last summer, Courtney and I took in our first ASA (American Sailing Association) with Peaks and Tides Sailing School

Impact: Water is obviously a theme in your life, which brings us back to Impact. How’d you come up with the idea?

Brian: Courtney and I were out on Navajo Lake. We were tying on our old fenders, and everything just seemed outdated. It was a very acute moment of realizing that fenders hadn’t evolved for decades, and there had to be a better solution. 

That weekend, we went camping and, as usual, used our Jack’s Plastic Paco Pads. Those were our direct inspiration! They lie flat; they’re impact resistant, tough as nails and can be made in a ton of colors. 

[Editor’s note: Paco Pads are cult classic sleeping pads in the river-running world.] 

Impact: How did you go from idea to what Impact is today? 

Brian: First, we went on a research roll, learning about all types of foams, sizes, attachments, metal options so the fenders could bend around a hull…every design detail. We also studied the market: power boats, pontoons, sailing, marinas, every fender under the sun…again, every detail. 

I drew up the specs and the guys at Jack’s Plastic built the prototype. Actually, Jack’s agreed to build all Impact Fenders until we bought the machinery and set up our own shop. 

Impact: How many iterations did it take to achieve the final product? 

Brian: We went through four rounds of prototypes. But you know what? We’re always evolving because we listen to our customers. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. But if there’s a small detail that will improve our products, we have the ability to make those changes almost instantly. We’re hands-on and we produce everything right here in Durango. 

Impact: Is it true you have personally handmade every Impact Fender and bumper? 

Brian: Yes. Well, until early February (2020), when we hired two part-time people. They’re both incredible craftsmen. So if your fender was made on Tuesday or Thursday, they built them. Every other day? Me. 

[Editor’s note: This interview was conducted prior to coronavirus concerns. Please know that we are manufacturing and handling all Impact products in full compliance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.]

Impact: The fenders and the bumpers are sleek, with this incredibly clean aesthetic. What would you like people to know that they can’t see right away? 

Brian: First, that they bend! It’s one of the most effective features for protecting your investment (i.e. your boat). I also want our customers to know the care and the detail that goes into building a fender of such high quality. The sophistication of the look is intentional, so it looks good on your boat! But ultimately, the simplicity is derived from the logic of the design. 

Impact: What’s your favorite part of the production process? 

Brian: When I drop them off at UPS to ship to a fellow boater!

Impact: Have you tried to make anything else on all of your machines? 

Brian: Yes. But it’s a secret for now. We may or may not be working on some new products.

Impact: I guess we’ll leave it with a little mystery, then. Thanks, Brian! Everyone stay happy and healthy out there. 

Love, 

The Impact Team

P.S. Keep checking back on our website for those new goodies.

Meet Our Operational and Marketing Guru: Courtney Gates, Co-Founder of Impact Fenders

Meet Our Operational and Marketing Guru: Courtney Gates, Co-Founder of Impact Fenders

The Impact story is really a love story. If you’re thinking that we’re coyly leading to a circuitous tale about “loving” being on the water, you’re partially right. Boating is both the impetus and the inspiration that binds all of us at Impact.

 But the rest of the story is about two teenagers from Lake Arrowhead, California. Lake Arrowhead is a small mountain town about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, with (as the name implies) a beautiful high elevation lake. These two kids found each other through water skiing. They graduated and went their separate ways: he to Colorado, she to Great Britain.

 After 25 years, Courtney Gates and Brian Slaughter reconnected. The spark, as they say, was still there. Fast forward a few years, and the two kids from Southern California are now happily living in Southwestern Colorado, blending their families, founding and running a boat fender startup, and (still) waterskiing at every chance.

 Impact is a small, scrappy team, so we take on everything ourselves: operations, manufacturing, sourcing, sales, marketing, you name it. We love meeting all of you in person at boat shows and connecting over social media. Until we have that chance, we want to introduce you to the people who are revolutionizing boat protection, beginning with our wizard of marketing and operations, Courtney. 

Impact Fenders: Hi Courtney! Thanks for your time today. In addition to co-founder, what’s your official title at Impact?

Courtney Gates (CG):  I’m not really big on titles, but officially it’s COO (Chief Operations Officer).

Impact: Where did you grow up?

CG: Lake Arrowhead. It was a great place to grow up.

Impact: How did you find your way to Colorado?

CG: After 25 years in the U.K., Brian and I reconnected. I’d always wanted to live in Colorado, and here we are!

Impact: Twenty-five years in the U.K.? Then we must ask you the most important question. Monarchy: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

CG: I’d be a “no” in this day and age. It seems just like another group of celebrities. 

Impact: Well, there goes our royal audience! Just kidding. Another critical question before we get too deep. What’s your sign?

CG: Leo 

Impact: And do you fit the typical descriptors of a Leo?

CG: I do! I feel like a big cat that likes to lie in the sun.

Impact: Speaking of sun, spring is coming up fast and that means boating! What is your water sport of choice?

CG: Hands down, it’s slalom water skiing. I was on the team at San Diego State, and I still love to run slalom.

Impact: What’s your personal best?

CG: 6 at 22 off (a 75-foot rope)

Impact: Dang! That’s impressive. How old were you when you first water skied?

CG: Five, behind my grandparents’ boat, in Arkansas. I fell instantly in love with it!

Impact: Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever skied?

CG: That’s easy. It’s Bomere Pool, which is a private lake near Shrewsbury in the U.K. First of all, you have this 15-acre lake, with a slalom course right up the middle. There are only two boats allowed on the water at a time, and only one of those can actually be moving. So you ski for 15 minutes or 6 passes, then rest. It’s an ideal set up, with a clubhouse, hot showers and everything. Actually, Bomere is where I achieved my personal best!

Impact: It sounds fantastic! If Bomere is your favorite, do you have a “bucket list” of places to ski?  

CG: Not really. Though, I’d love to go to a hotbed for water skiing, like Florida, for coaching. I’d love to ski and get coached all day long.

Impact: What boat do you and Brian have now?

CG: We have a Malibu Response TXI that we absolutely LOVE. It’s known for its really small wake. 

Impact: When you were growing up on the water, did you ever think that you’d revolutionize boat protection just a few years down the road?

CG: Well, thank you for the revolutionary (!!) compliment. And the answer is no, I had absolutely no idea!

Impact: What’s the best part about running a growing company?

CG: That it’s in the marine industry. We both loved growing up as kids on the water. It’s a sport we love in our personal lives, so it’s great to be immersed in it with our business. Plus, we get to go to really cool places and meet fun people. Just like us, they love their boats and want new products. Even though running a business is a lot of work, it actually gives us freedom.

Impact: What’s the hardest part?

CG: Ugh…Trying to do everything perfectly! Luckily, we have a wonderful crew of talented and committed people.

Impact: This may be like asking which kid is your favorite, but what’s your favorite Impact Fender color?

CG: Easy. Red. It’s vibrant and you don’t see anything else like it.

Impact: Impact customers are loving that the fenders are multi-use, especially compared to the old-school cylindrical jobbies. How are they being used in addition to boat protection?

CG: So many creative ways. They’re fun to float on in the water. They’re really great on the beach. Especially in the sailing world, where you don’t have much space to work, people absolutely love kneeling on them to work on their boat motor. A friend of mine uses her Impact Fenders as dock bumpers between her boat and a stand-up paddleboard. Oh, and they’re great lumbar support for driving the boat and relaxing. (Tip: Choose the medium size because they bend.)

Impact: What’s your favorite “unofficial” use for an Impact Fender?

CG: Ha! Definitely sledding [on snow]. We’ve tested all the colors, and the medium royal blue is the fastest by far.

Impact: For real? The colors have different speeds on snow?

CG: Yep! We were highly scientific in our testing methods.

Impact: For those of us who aren’t in year-round warm weather, we’re coming into boating season. You and Brian will be traveling all over the country to attend boat shows. What do you say to people who are shocked to see an entirely new design to replace the old-school fenders?

CG: It’s about time. And they agree. The absolute best comment I’ve heard from a customer (and long-time boater) was, “You re-invented the wheel!” 

Impact: Impact Fenders and dock bumpers are effective solutions for sailboats, powerboats and pontoon boats. We’re really going to put you on the spot here. Of those three genres, which group is the most fun: sailors, powerboaters or pontooners?

CG: Oh boy. Well, I’m a water skier with a powerboat, and I aspire to be a sailor someday. But I’m gonna have to give this one to the pontooners. I mean, come on: It’s a floating bar with a bunch of fun-loving people.

Impact: So what would you bring to a pontoon party?

CG: Hmm…I love to have a good time and to laugh, so I hope I’d be welcome as-is. But I also make a mean guacamole, so I’d have that as a back-up.

Impact: We’ll bring the chips! Thanks for your time, Courtney! 

Be sure to stop by the Impact booth at your local boat show and say “hi” to Courtney and Brian! Check on Facebook and here at the blog for the shows we’re attending. Here’s to a great boating season. Hope to also see you on the water!

         The Impact Team