Wake Tractor adds 30-plus dealers since launch

Dealer reception to the Wake Tractor has taken off since the brand made its industry debut.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Production of the Wake Tractor, a wake boat designed for millennials, will begin in November.

Production of the Wake Tractor, a wake boat designed for millennials, will begin in November.

Dealer reception to the Wake Tractor — a new surf brand built by industry veteran John Dorton and his son, Ben — has taken off since the brand made its industry debut at Surf Expo in September, with 19 domestic dealers already signed and 12 internationally.

“We have interest in 60 major markets with at least one, and sometimes multiple prospects,” John Dorton told Trade Only Today. “So the boat really hit a nerve.”

Hard orders are starting to come in for the boat and production will start in early November, Dorton said.

“We’re seeing multiple dealers compete for the brand in quite a few major markets,” Dorton said. “That’s gratifying. There’s really nothing else like it on the marketplace. I think that’s what dealers are starting to see.”

In 2013 John Dorton partnered with Lawrence Technological University, a Detroit-area design school, and Andrew Hanzel, a professor of industrial design there. Hanzel, who has deep design roots in the auto industry with General Motors, tasked his class of 19- to 24-year-olds with creating a vessel that appealed to them. That was how the Wake Tractor concept began.

Ben Dorton, who is in his 20s, has had a hand in the entire development of the boat since it is being marketed to millennials.

“It’s all about the wake,” John Dorton said in describing the boat last summer, “the wake and the music.” It turned out that the interior was not important to this group. The boat had to be small because many millennials are parking it on the street since some don’t have garages — part of the urban shift seen in younger people. It also had to be light since this group doesn’t have huge cars for towing.

“It knocks a deep hole in the water. It’s great for surfing,” Dorton told Trade Only this week. “And we found a secondary market: Those are the people that can afford the $150,000 wake boat, but are almost offended they have to pay that kind of money for it. The Wake Tractor can be a nice solution for their boarding needs, and then they go ahead and buy a second boat. Millennials are the primary market, but it's also good for others who would like to participate in the sport, but not with such a big capital outlay.”

With the tagline “Not every rider has a millionaire Daddy,” Wake Tractor’s WT-1 model is retail-priced at $39,995. Wake Tractor needed an engine capable of powering a 1,600-pound ballast system, and it uses Crusader Engines’ Challenger series as its exclusive engine provider.

“Between all the product launches I’ve been involved in with MasterCraft, Hydra Sports and Bryant, this has probably been the most exciting,” Dorton said. “It just fills a nice hole in the marketplace that dealers recognize immediately, and that’s where all the acceptance has come from. They appreciate what the boat features, and just the simplicity of it.”

Related

Sea Tow Makes Executive Appointment

Thomas Spina, who has more than 25 years of maritime experience in a variety of roles, was named vice president of franchise operations.

Godfrey Marine to Host Virtual Showcase

The event is to take place Jan. 23 and will include Godfrey pontoons and Hurricane deckboats.

Boat Shows Throttling Up

2021 is bringing a new paradigm to the winter boat show season.

Correct Craft Plans Expansions

The moves will allow additional growth for Nautique, Supreme, Ingenity and Watershed Innovation.

Avalon and Tahoe Appoints President

Duane Dinninger, who has been with the pontoon builder since 2006, steps into the leadership role.

Casting a Wide Net

Key findings from a Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation study show how new boaters and anglers are coming to the sport in record numbers.

Quick Hits: January 14, 2021

Ferretti Group publishes its first sustainability report; the National Marine Representatives Association is accepting applications for a $3K marine trade scholarship; and a new boatbuilding program led by seasoned industry vet at North Carolina community college.