Innovation Award Winners Announced at Minneapolis Boat Show

The National Marine Manufacturers Association and Boating Writers International have selected three inaugural winners for the 2018 Minneapolis Innovation Awards.

The awards were presented opening night of the Minneapolis Boat Show in the Lakeshore Lifestyle Experience exhibit.

The Innovation Awards came to Minneapolis in 2018 for the first time to honor manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products to the boating industry to market in the following categories: aluminum fishing boats, fiberglass fishing boats, and pontoon boats.

This year’s program evaluated 14 products across three categories featuring an outstanding pool of entries. The judges ultimately selected three winners.

“It is a testament to the importance of the Minneapolis Boat Show to move three categories of the Innovation Awards to Minneapolis,” said Darren Envall, show manager. “Fishing boats and pontoons have a strong presence in this marketplace and the Minneapolis Boat Show is the best place to see the latest technology and innovation in these categories year after year.”

The 2018 Progressive Insurance Minneapolis Boat ShowInnovation Award winners are:·

  • Aluminum Fishing Boats: Impact XS, Lund Boats
  • Fiberglass Fishing Boats: WX2060, Skeeter Boats
  • Pontoon Boats: L-Class, Barletta Boats

The Innovation Awards judges’ committee is comprised of three BWI members who perform product testing throughout the year and have specific expertise in marine products and equipment. The judges’ committee is chaired by Zuzana Prochazka.

“We’re pleased to have launched the concept of the popular Innovation Awards here at the Minneapolis show for these fast-growing segments of the marine industry. The changes that are happening with these kinds of boats are a testament to the innovation and ease-of-use that has become pervasive in our business. It’s an honor to be on the cutting edge and experiencing them first-hand,” Prochazka said.

The full panel of judges includes:

Zuzana Prochazka (Chair): Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for more than a dozen boating and travel magazines. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Prochazka is the founder of, a charter and flotilla organizer. She is an international speaker on charter destinations and outfitting for cruising, and has served on the board of Boating Writers International for the past 12 years. She heads up judging panels evaluating new boats and gear in the U.S. and abroad, including IBEX, where she is co-chair of the Innovation Awards.

Alan Wendt: Monthly contributor to Southern Boating and Lakeland Boating, Wendt is the past president of BWI and Chair of the Innovation Awards judges’ panel at IBEX. His career has included decades of news reporting for newspaper, radio and TV news outlets, magazine publishing, Yacht Rendezvous and Special Dealer Events, and developing brand messaging for retail marine dealers, OEMs and related service providers.

Brady Kay: Executive editor of Pontoon & Deck Boat, Houseboat and Great Lakes Boating magazines, Kay has also served as an Innovation Award Judge on a couple of occasions. He recently earned a 2017 Grand Award from Apex Awards and has been a member of Boating Writers International for nearly 20 years.

For general questions about the Minneapolis Innovation Awards please contact Rachel Harmon at 

The Innovation Award winners will be on display throughout the show, Jan. 12-14, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

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