Bayliner Boats added Heyday Inboard’s wakesurfing boat models, WT-1 and WT2, to its portfolio.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Bayliner is integrating the production of the WT-1 and WT-2 into its boat production facilities and will introduce the models at Surf Expo in Orlando on Sept. 8.
“The wake/surf category is an attractive and growing portion of the recreational day boat segment, and particularly for those seeking a more affordable way to enjoy these popular watersports,” Bayliner president Keith Yunger said in a statement.
“This action affords Bayliner speed to market with wake/surf models that were specifically designed to meet the performance expectations of wake and surf enthusiasts, but will retail at a more affordable price point, further contributing to the growth of this boating category.”
Both WT models — formerly known as Wake Tractor — were designed by the father-son team John and Ben Dorton, of Bryant Boats. (John Dorton is a longtime veteran of MasterCraft.) The boats were designed “by millennials for millennials” with affordability, size and functionality in mind.
As part of the transaction, Ben Dorton will join the Bayliner team as manager of business development and John Dorton will consult with the Bayliner team.
“John is among the pioneers in this category,” Yunger said, “and that experience resonates in these boats’ design and performance. Further, these boats were engineered — as with Bayliner — with value and performance in mind and are a great fit for our Bayliner brand. We will work closely with the dealer network to integrate these models into our product offering.”
“By effectively combining John’s knowledge and these models’ innovation with the inherent strengths of Bayliner we have the team, product, focus and energy to be very successful in this category,” Yunger said.
Last year, Ben Dorton and his father detailed the process of creating the models to Soundings Trade Only.
Ben Dorton, a 27-year-old seasoned wakeboarder who led the models’ design, wanted to create an affordable boat that he and his friends could board and surf behind.
“Our whole approach to this boat company is that millennials are calling the shots,” Ben Dorton said at the time.
The boat had to be small enough to park on the street or in a driveway because some younger people don’t have garages, John Dorton said.
“We knew we had to make the boat lighter and easier to store, so they can tow it with their Xterra,” Ben Dorton said. “We made it durable so it would fit their lifestyle and where they’re living right now. At this point they’re not living in a nice house with a nice driveway.
“It’s all about the wake,” said John Dorton, “the wake and the music.”
At that time it was set to retail at $39,900 with a trailer, tower, Bimini top, speed control, ballast and music system.
Bayliner parent company Brunswick Corp. has made an affordable boat option a priority for several years.