Greetings From the Miami Boat Show

So this is what insomnia feels like. I touched down at JFK on Wednesday after a 20 hour flight from Johannesburg,  ran home to repack and hopped a JetBlue flight to Miami. I’m chilling in my hotel room on Collins Ave waiting for the precise moment in about 30 minutes when the jack-hammer starts on the new build next door. No mind, I’ve been up since 1:30am–I crashed at one–because that’s 8:30 am South Africa time. But I expect no sympathy because, overall, life’s pretty good.

For those who don’t know me personally, in my real life I am a card carrying member of the dead tree media. I test and write about boats, and about anything remotely to do with being on boats and on the water. It’s a good gig. I laugh now when I recall that I aspired to be a political journalist at some point, and while some of my j-school peers are chasing Barak and Hilary around the country, or furiously trying to get the week-after interview with Eli, I’m hooking a flow meter into the fuel line of a ginormous 300-hp four-stroke outboard and waiting for the chance to try out the new 350.

For people like me, the Miami Boat Show is the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500, and Pimp of the Year contest all rolled into one. It’s an odd cross section of society dropped into the depths of South Beach for a week each February. South Beach, on a normal day, is filled with ridiculously good looking people paying $20 for a can of beer at the happenin’ pool in an art deco hotel bar. When the Boat Show rolls through the boating enthusiast army, dressed in Tommy Bahama, Guy Harvey T-shirts, and visors flecked with pelagic blood, infiltrates this stronghold of hotness, with comedic effect. Walking to the convention center where a lot of the boat show action takes place, I witnessed a super model lose her shit on some show attendees blocking the sidewalk. “Get out of my way, foreigners!” She screamed. Then, for some reason, she turned to me and clarified, “I didn’t mean that, I meant people from other States.” (Note: I’m only mentioning this as a way to record in print my interaction with a super model.)

For those who like to fish and fly fish from boats, the state of the industry might interest you. (For those of you who think boaters are assholes, not my problem.) On the flats fishing front, Hell’s Bay is back in town, replete with a mystery novel. Hell’s Bay, the boats, are ridiculously technical poling skiffs that kick ass, so it’s good to see them back.

On the recession front, for the people walking the Show with serious money, there is no recession. Boats ranging from 250K to $20 mil seem to be selling just fine. The fish boat companies are putting out a lot of new models, so that’s a good sign in a down year. There’s some real coin changing hands, in amounts several times over more substantial than my bar tab last night. But so far, not one manufacturer has agreed to sell me a center console for no dollars down and a 100-year payment plan.

Time to sign off. I’ve got 15 minutes left before the jack-hammer starts up and if I can get in a quick power nap, I’ll be good.

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