I spoke to Rob Innes today at the Palm Beach International Boat Show. Now this was a fun find. It’s fast, fun, artistic, thrilling, did I say fun? Rob Innes and Dan Piazza of Innespace Productions develop and produce Seabreachers. If you can think of it they will help you make it a reality and I’m pretty sure it will be a fun creative ride.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Hey Sarah O’Kelly here with Skipper’s Review and I am with Rob Innes of Seabreacher here on Skipper’s Review finds, and it’s one hell of a find. The Seabreacher is actually out on the water right now doing its tricks, hopefully it’ll come up behind us as I’m talking to Rob. So Rob tell me about how you come up with…you know what, I think I want to build a thing that looks like a dolphin and works like a dolphin?
SEABREACHER: You know we just decided that regular boats are just way too plain, too boring, the novelty wears off all you can do is turn left and right. We basically combined the flight characteristics of an airplane with a boat. It’s not a submarine, it doesn’t go super deep but you have full three access controls allowing you to do a huge number of free style tricks, from jumping 90 degrees, to back flips. You can even porpoise it like a dolphin. This particular model, which we call a Z Model, can do 360 degree barrel rolls. They are two-seaters, they’re all two-seaters. We make sharks, dolphins whales, we have made sailfish, we even created a manatee once.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Shut up!
SEABREACHER: We did, we made a manatee for a customer, the ugliest boat we ever built but manatees are ugly so I think we nailed it.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So where did this come from, was it you and your partner? You have a partner right?
How Long Has Seabreacher Been Around?
SEABREACHER: We have been doing it for twenty years. It started out just as a hobby, we were just doing it tooling around. The first ones we built were just complete garbage, I mean they didn’t work and they broke and then just over time we refined it and invested more money in it. Then when we started putting personal watercraft engines into them, that’s when they really started, you know, becoming reliable and easy to maintain. Of course having the vectored thrust of the jet units, made them a lot more maneuverable.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: They have jetski engines in them?
SEABREACHER: Yes, you can pretty much service them at a regular personal watercraft dealership. We mostly use Rotax engines but we’ve also used Yamaha and Kawasaki. They have up to 300 horsepower super charged engines.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Are you an engineer?
SEABREACHER: I am what they call in New Zealand a back yard engineer, which basically means we trial and error things. You don’t necessarily want to build a skyscraper with trial-and-error but we have built these boats through trial and error. If I can’t break it, we did a pretty good job and I’m good at breaking things.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So is it modeled basically around let’s say for instance a dolphin, you have a killer whale one also..or move designed like an airplane? Where are all the ideas coming from?
SEABREACHER: I mean obviously we take a lot of artistic license. I want them to replicate the marine creatures and some times they go a little too far in that direction. The sailfish that we built is magnificent, I mean it’s a stunning work of art but it’s got this giant carbon-fiber sail and a water cannon out the front. We try to visually replicate them but the control systems are very different because you have to think in three dimensions rather than just one.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Are you a fisherman, are you into that end of things or you’re just more into the design and boating?
SEABREACHER: I’m a supermarket fisherman, so I I’m pretty good at catching. I’ve caught some good fish down at the markets. No, I don’t have the patience for fishing. Do I look like someone that has the patience for fishing? No, I have a very short attention span. The thing I really like about building these is they’re all custom built so we’re constantly trying something new pushing it. Fortunately we’ve got the customer base now that will allow us to do that.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So the customer is involved in the design, they come up with suggestions and you try and work around it or…?
Do Your Customers Contribute to the Design Ideas?
SEABREACHER: I mean that’s what I tell them but I’m kind of a Soup Nazi. So I’m like, no I’m not doing that, that’s ugly, no. I do let them have some input and obviously we have tons of variety of interiors and exteriors but I’m kind of like an architect in that you’re paying us to make your vision better. So trust me, I know what I’m doing.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Who are the people interested in your Seabreachers? Is there a particular type of person or they come from all ends of the world?
SEABREACHER: Obviously we started with very sort of quirky, you know, eccentric pretty wealthy people that just wanted something new and crazy. Now our biggest market is commercial operations.
About 50% of the boats we build are actually going to people that are taking fare-paying passengers. We have an operation here in Boca Raton, FL that’s taking customers. I’ve got another operation starting soon in Miami. The Seabreachers are doing especially well with charter yachts. It’s a good accessory to a charter. The charters can bring out the Seabreachers for passengers, put on a demonstration, live shows like we have today with Nautical Ventures.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Oh okay so you’re connected with Nautical Ventures?
SEABREACHER: We are yeah, yeah so they’ve sold a couple of them for us and we have brokers throughout the world and dealers. Most customers want to have an involvement in the creative end at the factory but you can still buy them through dealers here in Florida.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Are you gonna be going out on the water pretty soon?
SEABREACHER: Yeah take another ride…I mean it’s coming up to cocktail hour so I probably have to hang it up soon. I always like to come out of retirement, show the young punks that I’ve still got some game.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: What’s this gentleman’s name that’s pulling in now?
SEABREACHER: This is Brandon he’s a pretty new pilot but he’s taken to it really well. My job is to break his spirit and tell him how awful he’s doing “That was crap, awful, embarrassing that was embarrassing, yeah, just, just don’t even…don’t even bother!”
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Is there a lot of training involved before they can take on the role of being the demo person?
How Long Does It Take To Learn How to Operate A Seabreacher?
SEABREACHER: I mean the basics you can pick up in about three to four hours. It is like an airplane except without the consequences because with an airplane you make a mistake you know you’re gonna plummet to the ground with this, as long as you don’t hit anything your fine. The boat self-rights therefore it’s impossible to dive too deep you just have to be mindful of visibility, paddle boarders and manatees and you know all the regular stuff.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: That was actually my next question, what about paddle boarders? Half the time you’re underwater which I’m sure distorts your vision and then water coming over the screen. How do you avoid that?
SEABREACHER: Generally I find paddle boards don’t damage the boat so I’m not really that concerned. Yeah I figure if they’re in my way I mean, sometimes they’ll put a bit of a scuffle, leave a bit of blood on the front but yeah.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So you have good insurance then?
SEABREACHER: Oh yeah, paddle boarders don’t have insurance. Paddle boarders are just an annoying obstacle. They are like buoys.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So Rob you’re down at the Palm Beach Boat Show and you’re gonna be here till Monday, right?
SEABREACHER: I leave Monday yeah but we’re packing up Sunday so we’re gonna be doing demos out here in the Aqua Zone Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Can the public come along and have a go in the Seabreacher, during those days?
SEABREACHER: What I have been told is “No.” I will occasionally not listen to that but mostly, No. You have to sign waivers and there’s insurance and stuff so basically we’re just doing demos. Showing the public what the boats can do. Unfortunate it’s very, very shallow out here in our little testing area it’s only about eight feet deep. At the deepest we can actually take the nose down to about 20 feet so we sort of have to be selective as to what sort of tricks we’re doing. If we do a hundred degree jump, the boats 20 feet long, or 18 feet long so when you jump and you come back down on the tail, we’ll smash the tail on the bottom.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: So you’re based in California right?
SEABREACHER: Redding, California is where we build them.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: If you do smash the tail, have you got back ups?
SEABREACHER: There is another one but it’s in the Aqua Zone so no we’re not gonna smash it. I don’t crash, that’s my policy. Some people crash, I don’t crash.
SKIPPER’S REVIEW: Rob thank you so much and good luck with the rest of the show,
SEABREACHER: I appreciate it, okay thanks, bye.