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February 11, 2020 3 min read

Punxsutawney Phil has spoken and the 2020 boating season is nearly upon us, people! That means it’s time to get the boat out of hibernation, stock up on essentials, and get stoked for another killer summer on the water. 

We’re in the thick of boat show season right now, so we've had plenty of chances to scope out all the latest and greatest tech and trends around the industry. Here’s what we’re seeing out there but feel free to add your two cents in the comments.

Rise of the Big ‘Ole Pontoon

Everyone’s favorite floating festive fortresses are getting even bigger. We’ve spotted plenty of 30-plus footers out in the wild and even a handful that expand at the sides to add even more square footage. Is 2020 the year that we’ll all say “enough is enough” or realize that bigger is better?

Outboards Dial-Up the Power

Should it still be called horsepower when it’s a marine engine? Horses aren’t exactly known for their graceful breaststroke. Maybe sharkpower? Seems more fitting. Anyway, as BoatingIndustry.com points out, outboard engines are quieter, more efficient, and more compact than ever before. Thanks to a combination of advances in marine engineering and our endless need for speed, 2020 will see plenty of outboards that easily eclipse 300hp 300sp.

Surfboats Push Past $250K

Bigger. Better. Boatier? There’s no end in sight to the evolution of the modern surfboat as manufacturers keep finding ways to streamline their designs and pack more tech into every inch of these aquatic Swiss Army Knives. From premium materials and creature comforts to cutting-edge systems and increased performance, you can now get a lot of bang for, well, a lot of bucks.

Dashboards Go Digital

This isn’t a completely new trend, just one that will continue to grow. We live in the digital age, so it was only a matter of time before modern boats embraced the times and left analog displays in their wakes. Like we mentioned above, modern boats come jam-packed with all kinds of tech and systems that allow you to customize your day on the water. But you’d need a few dozen analog displays to do what a single digital control panel can do. Let’s get digital!

Pontoons Are Coming for Wakesports

Look, deep down we all knew it was inevitable. It just took a few years for someone to figure out the engineering and combine the best of both worlds into a platform that actually worked. In 2020, there will be a few manufacturers offering pontoons designed for wakesports. The question is: will they deliver an experience that caters to everyone or will they be another “jack of all trades, master of none?”

Foam Is Out. Inflatable Is In.

Or, at least, that’s what people have been telling us at this year’s boat shows. Sure, the kids enjoy the foam mats for about 20 minutes but then you’ve got to roll it up like a soggy burrito and strap it to the back of your boat. In 2020, people will want something that both kids and adults can enjoy, something that packs down and stows small, and something that doubles the square footage of their boat.

Not to toot our own horns too much but we’ve been telling you guys this for years. It’s why we created the REEF inflatable water mat in the first place.

Have a trend you’re excited/disappointed about? Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below.


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