|Someone I know mentioned this at the boat show. It was an interesting observation. |
After market tower sales may seriously suffer now that most new boats have towers and most used boats have had towers added.
We may see some hurting companies that don't have an OEM deal like Titan and Skylon (with BU).
Speaker and rack sales may not suffer as much.
|Dane good point. It seamís to me like there are way to many tower company's out there for the demand. How many different tower types do we need to choose from? There must be over 50 different manufactures. Besides the Titan the Boss Billet Swoop and the forward swooping tower Illusion all the others towers look somewhat the same. Speakers are somewhat in the same category. I think the New Fiberglass boxes are going to take over. There is room in that Industry for growth. My point is, that in a somewhat small industry such as aftermarket wakeboard sales it would be smart for New Company's to try to come out with things that we don't already have or only 1 person is making. Example there is only one company making the power flag. If there were more companyís making that product I think the price could come down and the demand would go up. (I know I would buy one). I thought the Nvert (Clamping wakeboard Rack's) were a great Idea, Again coming up with something we don't already have (wakeboard racks not a good example) but I hope you get the Idea. How about some one coming out with a Rope holder, so I don't have to wind up my rope every time. "Innovate n|
|Dane, We sell and install a lot of aftermarket towers, racks, and speakers. The towers are primarily sold to I/O owners. Racks and speakers are sold to both the I/O and inboard owners. The reverse arch option is starting to be popular for both boats. For the I/O owner, they can tower their boat and not interfere with the existing bimini top. The I/O owners out number us by margins. They want towers on their boats also and our tower sales are up significantly. Terry|
What aftermarket towers do you guys usually sell to I/O owners. I, myself, am an I/O owner and have been considering the Phat Budde Twister. Curious for your input....thanks
|Saw the nvert racks at the boat show yesterday. |
They have already re-designed them adding a plastic cover to the latch mechanism to cover sharp edges. And, half the units on display were falling apart.
I would not be an early adopter of this product.
|Joel, We sell Wake Designs towers that are custom measured to fit the boat. We have installed the reverse arch tower on Crownlines, Cobalts, Chapparals in the I/O class and Tige V drives. I have seen the Twister but I don't have any experience with it. Terry|
Wake Air's personal experience with the tower market has only seen an increase in tower sales. Every year for the last 4 years we have seen almost a double in sales from the prior year. Yes more new boat companies are offering towers on the boats but there are many dealers that are ordering the boats without factory towers.
|Wakeside has also seen an increase in tower sales. Even in the last two weeks we have seen a very sharp increase in tower sales over last year as riders are preparing for spring. |
I would classify the increase into three main categories:
1. There are still millions of run-abouts out there, many are family boats, others are for first time boat buyers. Most of these don't have towers or they may have an extended pylon. Many of these boats will be converted from water skiing to wakeboarding boats over the next 5-10 years. For this type of boat we usually sell a universal tower like the Wake Designs Whirly Bar Pro Series or the Skylon Swoop Sport tower since they range in price from $800 - $1,000.
2. There are still quite a few professional tow boats (Nautiques, M/C, Malibu, etc.) that are being converted to wakeboarding boats. These waterski boats are basically the same as a wakeboard boat but are missing wakeboard towers, racks, speakers, wake enhancers, Perfect Pass, etc. Most people who own or buy a boat like this want a professional tier-one level tower. This type of tower is usually custom made for the boat and ranges in price from $1,800 to $2,600. This boat owner is our sweet-spot at Wakeside since we offer Boss Accessories, Skylon, Titan, and Wake Designs. This is by far our biggest category.
3. We have some people buying their new wakeboard boats without towers for several reasons. First, some people want custom colors, polished, and custom bimini colors and stripes. Secondly, some want a different tower than comes stock on the boat. We just had a customer buy the new Wake Designs Rival tower for a new boat that is on order and will be arriving in 5 weeks.
In summary, I see tower sales continuing to increase but I do agree that there are way too many very small copy-cat manufacturers out there. I think eventually the field will narrow down to about 4-5 quality companies that build the highest quality towers and have a substantial OEM business. Examples: Skylon is OEM to Malibu and MB Sport. Titan is OEM to Malibu. Wake Designs does some of Tige and Four Winns. Boss doesn't have any OE towers yet but they make a very high quality tower and accessories and will probably end up OEM for someone eventually.
As riders start to notice that there is a quality difference between tower brands, the field will narrow quickly as it has with wakeboards.
Boss does the towers for Calabria, as well as accessories. FYI.
Boss is OEM for Calabria now after a couple failed years with Metcraft.
I also think there are a lot of people with older, poorly designed towers looking to upgrade. My friend makes custom towers here in So Cal and he is completely booked until summer and it's only february 4th!
Towers are also very regional in nature. Phat Budde is OEM for the local Tige dealer (largest Tige dealer in the world) because like me, they know the Metcraft towers are no good, but the regular OEM for Tige is Metcraft.
I'd be curious to see the proof behind this statement:
"...most new boats have towers and most used boats have had towers added."
There has to be thousands of used boats in this country alone, and I would bet that not even 1% of them have towers on them. I also think, like Mike indicated, that a lot of new boats don't come with towers precisely for the reasons he indicated.
One other thing to consider, every time some patent issue comes up, all the towers change. 2 years ago I would have laughed my butt off if you told me people would be putting towers on backwards...now it happens and people seem to like it.
I think with more and more people spending money on boats, and with so many different markets, there is plenty of room for tower manufacturers as well as the accessories that go with them.
Rynogear Wakeboarding Accessories
|Kyle & Ryan, |
Thanks for the correction on Boss and Calabria OEM.
I haven't been able to validate the figure, but I have heard that there are over 11 million motor boats in the US alone. That includes every kind of boat imaginable. I don't know the breakdown of these boats, but I am quite that sure lots of these boats could be converted to wakeboard boats - especially the boats designed for water skiing. I'll bet that even less than 1% of them have towers today.
I also heard that Tige is switching from Metcraft to Wake Designs. 50% in 2003 and maybe 100% next year.
Wakeside has strategically chosen the tower manufacturers they represent. We only wanted the companies that have the staying power in this already crowded space. It is very difficult to build a tower right every time with consistent quality. Also, if a tower company doesn't have OEM contracts, then it is difficult for them to survive in the off-season.
The top four tier-one tower manufacturers today are: Boss Accessories, Skylon, Titan, and Wake Designs.