Wake Boat Designers

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by rootbros.custom, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. rootbros.custom
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Location: Indiana

    rootbros.custom New Member

    Hello all, I am a newcomer to this blog but am very interested in the current wake board and ski boat design industry. I am currently a sophomore transportation design student in college and am looking into going into the boat design field. I was just wondering if the design of the today's wake boats from company's like Supra, Malibu, Moomba, ect. was an in-house job or if most of the design work was outsourced to other design firms.I have noticed that Malibu Boats does have a product design division.Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks :)
     
  2. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    messabout Senior Member

    Wakeboarding is great fun, perhaps, but it is a very small market sport.

    Developing a career as a boat designer is not the most well advised thing that you can do. At least not if you plan to make a living doing that sort of thing. I would encourage you to study NA or boat design courses for fun, but not for profit. Even with an NA degree and a phi beta kappa key, the opportunities for employent are very scarce. Do some research before you set your major.

    Forgive me for raining on your parade................and welcome to the forum. A lot of smart and generous people here will give you good council.. We like boat enthusiasts, so hang around.
     
  3. rootbros.custom
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    rootbros.custom New Member

    Thanks messabout I appreciate the advice!
     
  4. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    most wakeboard boats are in-house designs. Actually they are just a variation of traditional ski boats designed to throw a large wake instead a flat wake. SKiers liek a falt wake, wakeboards need a big wake.

    Yes this is a tough business to break into. But you are just starting out. So do your research, complete your degree and take a design course, like the Westlawn course, on the side. http://www.westlawn.edu/ Get to know people in the business, do some networking, and consider taking other jobs in industry. In other words work your way into it.
     
  5. mudsailor
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    mudsailor Junior Member

    With all due respect to the other posters....Westlawn will get you nowhere with respect to working for one of the ski boat companies. They employ (as do all the larger powerboat builders) industrial designers as 'stylists' who are responsible for the look of the boat, upholstery design, dash design etc. They also employ Naval Architects to design the hull/structure and mechanical and electrical engineers for the systems.
    So, learn about design, write to the companies "attn Director of Design" and ask questions, use you college to make contacts, design boats for all the projects you can, go wakeboarding as much as possible. Not sure where you are studying but both Art Center college of Design (Los Angeles) and Center for Creative Studies (Detroit) often supply graduate designers to these companies (as well as to the car industry.
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I'm not sure of your experience level Mudsailor, but I know quite a few designers, many WestLawn graduates, that work for production boat manufactures, including developing the latest designs.

    Specializing in wake boarding would limit opportunities, in an already very limited career path. The reality, as mentioned, is skills are skills and most manufactures take advantage of what they have, hourly, salaried or vendored. Manufactures (for the most part) have an in house design team, usually consisting of several skill sets and levels. The stylists are a small portion of the effort in developing a new design.

    I'll agree in that your best path is marine engineering or as an NA. Study the industry and continue your education, you'll get an idea pretty quickly what's really going on.
     
  7. mudsailor
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    mudsailor Junior Member

    PAR
    If he is already studying to be an industrial designer.....the best thing to do is to be the best designer he can be, studying westlawn will be a distraction and have little impact on being hired as an industrial designer.
    Also, in my 18 years in the industry (mostly in the smaller, higher volume end of the market) I worked with more industrial designers than Westlawn grads, and most of those Westlawn grads had a mech eng degree as well.
     

  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Again, I agree he should continue to pursue the mechanical aptitude end of the skill set. I'm not recommending WestLawn for him, just stating the well established accomplishments of WestLawn graduates in the industry.
     
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