2020 Minneapolis Innovation Award winners announced

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) recently honored winners of the 2020 Minneapolis Innovation Awards, recognizing groundbreaking new consumer marine products, presented during preview night of the Progressive Insurance Minneapolis Boat Show. 

The Minneapolis Innovation Awards honor manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products in the boating industry to market in the following categories: aluminum fishing boats, fiberglass fishing boats, and pontoon boats. This year’s program evaluated fourteen products; and judges ultimately selected three Innovation Award winners and one honorable mention.

In the aluminum fishing boat category, Crestliner won for its Active Performance (AP-X) Hull. “The Crestliner Active Performance Hull (AP-X) blends their established hull manufacturing with the new, unique keel design to enhance low speed handling and high speed efficiency,” noted Innovation Awards’ Judge and Chair Brady Kay.

In the fiberglass fishing category, Yar-Craft won for its 2020 Yar-Craft 219 TFX. “Yar-Craft has brought unique design improvements and quality manufacturing elements together in their 219TFX.  A monocoque, uni-body Iike built, multi-species boat delivers a strong, efficient hull combined with a full featured deck to serve a variety of anglers needs,” said Innovation Awards’ Judge Bill Gius.

In the pontoon boat category, Avalon & Tahoe won for its Avalon Waketoon-Surf Series. “The Avalon Waketoon has presented the industry with an innovative design that could become a popular segment within the pontoon boat marketplace.  Wake surfing has become one of the most popular “tow” sports and this boat marries that with the most popular boating segment on the water,” said Innovation Awards’ Judge Adam Quandt.

And, Bennington received honorable mention in the pontoon boat category for its Bennington Bowrider. “The industry’s first bowrider-style pontoon is worth acknowledging as the stadium-like seating increases driver sight lines while providing a sporty and elegant look not seen before,” noted Kay.

“We’re proud to honor this year’s Innovation Award winners here in Minneapolis. Their new products showcase the strength and innovation of marine manufacturing in the upper Midwest,” noted Show Manager Darren Envall. “We’re excited to highlight these products and the dozens of other innovations at the 2020 Progressive Insurance Minneapolis Boat Show – THE place in the region to check out the newest and best in boating.”

2020 Minneapolis Boat Show Innovation Awards judges bios:  

Brady Kay (Chair): As the executive editor of Pontoon & Deck Boat and Great Lakes Boating magazines, Kay has been writing and photographing all types of boats for nearly 20 years. He is currently on the Boating Writers International board of directors as well as a member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Kay has earned writing and photography awards from Apex Awards for Publication Excellence as well as BWI.

Bill Gius: Gius has been in the marine industry for over three decades. He has worked in marketing at Pabst Brewing, Mercury Marine, Kohler Company, Turning Point Propellers and iboats.com. He owns “Country Consulting,” a marine industry consulting firm and works with Great Lakes Marine Marketing, a long-standing, Midwest manufacturers rep company. Gius is also a contributing writer to Pontoon & Deck Boat magazine and Great Lakes Boating magazine.

Adam Quandt: Managing Editor of Boating Industry, Quandt tackles everything from testing and reviewing new products, to tracking industry trends and serving on the board for numerous industry-focused award programs. Though not necessarily born into the boating world like many others, Quandt has quickly developed a passion for the industry and strives to continue bringing boaters together as we move forward into the future.

For general questions about the Minneapolis Innovation Awards, please contact Melissa Taylor at mtaylor@nmma.org. The Innovation Award winners will be on display throughout the show, January 23-26 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

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