After more than 40 years in the high-performance boat building world, the founder and owner of Skater Powerboats is still at the top of his game—because he does the little things. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
For those unfamiliar with the history of Skater Powerboats, here’s the “then” version. Company founder Peter Hledin, a Canadian immigrant, got his start building 24-foot catamarans in 1979 (his first boat was an 18-footer in 1974), and the boat became the dominant player of its age in the offshore racing world.
And here’s the “now” version. In the 40-plus years that have passed since Hledin built his first boat, he has added catamarans from 28 to 50 feet long as well as built a few 39-foot V-bottoms and, most recently, one 48-foot V-bottom.
Between the “then” and “now,” Skater Powerboats has become the best-known high-performance catamaran builder—with the most coveted offerings—on the planet. A combination of successful raceboats and iconic pleasure boats made that happen. Behind it all, though generally reluctant to stand in the limelight, is Hledin, a no- nonsense 67-year-old guy who routinely dons coveralls and puts in 12-hour days at his facility in Douglas, Mich.
That work ethic—Hledin works his tail off, ask anyone who knows him—combined with his unrivaled go-fast boat design experience is the real secret to Hledin’s success. Even at the Miami International Boat Show he was a man in constant motion and demand.
With that in mind, we reached out to him after the show—we’d originally planned to interview him there but found him knee deep in customers, friends and fans—and asked him a few straightforward questions. And, as he has been since his humble beginnings in the business, Hledin was as candid as it gets.
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