Rocking The Boat

The Front Runner is a bit like a vitamin-enriched soft drink: a healthier product for a market merely seeking gratification. “Boating is filled with hot-rodders and hillbillies who just want to go fast,” industrial designer Joey Ruiter says. “That’s who boat manufacturers are targeting. I’m saying that you can have the horsepower and the excitement, but you don’t have to be doing it the way you are today.”

That way involves copious amounts of fiberglass, which is manufactured with styrene, a toxin and potential carcinogen. “Making these boats is literally killing people,” Ruiter says. His aluminum hydrofoil concept reduces harmful emissions without sacrificing muscle: pulled by two independent four-stroke engines, the Front Runner draws only a few inches of water, allowing it to go in shallow areas and clear normally crippling obstacles. Ruiter hopes this combination of performance and sustainability will be a wake-up call. “My clients in the ­contract-furniture industry are pushing me to do things environmentally,” he says. “I wanted to help another industry come out of the dark ages.”

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