Feeling creative? The water sports industry is hungry for cutting-edge designs printed on vinyl and applied to powerboats that are ultimately seen by hundreds of thousand of people in competitions around the country.
Discover how a Seattle-based company has found its niche wrapping boats for some of the most recognizable names in the sports equipment industry.
When it comes to boat wraps, System Inc. has it covered. The Seattle-based company launched a MasterCraft wrap program a few years ago that’s produced some creative – and profitable – results.
You can’t miss System Inc.’s work. No matter what the design, the artwork has several things in common: it’s colorful, it’s creative, it’s cutting-edge, and it’s sporty. System Inc.’s creations are characterized by their neon colors, graffiti-style, sharp angles and, of course, vinyl.
System Inc.’s business is booming, in part, because it’s much less expensive for a boat owner to change the look and feel of their boat than it is to buy a new one – or even to paint and recoat the vessel. System Inc. has wrapped boats for professional athletes and consumers alike through its relationships with MasterCraft, Nike, Body Glove, Oakley, Red Bull and QuickSilver. The company also works with snowboarding and wakeboarding companies.
Josh Sirlin, president of Sirlin Enterprises, the parent company of System, Inc., calls his creations art for non-traditional canvases. The tattooed entrepreneur’s work has appeared at such high profile events as the Telus World Ski and Snowboard festival in Whistler, British Columbia. And if you’ve seen a MasterCraft boat decked out with funky graphics, it’s probably a Systems Inc. original.
“Most of the boats we wrap are for display purposes at boat shows,” says Josh Sirlin, president of Sirlin Enterprises, the parent company of System, Inc. “We get especially busy in the Spring when people are getting their boats ready for the summer or are buying a new boat from the dealer. The dealerships are also looking to dress up their boats in the lot because they want to attract attention, so we continue to launch new designs.”
Developing Stock Designs
System Inc. does custom boat designs, but the company also offers a large selection for manufacturers, dealerships, athletes and consumers to choose from. For example, System Inc. has more than 30 designs available for MasterCraft vessels, including half-side wraps, half-side plus transom wraps, full-side wraps and full-side plus transom wraps.
“A lot of our designs are created by world-class artists,” Sirlin says. “I have a resource of phenomenal artists that I draw from based on what we are trying to accomplish. Each of our designs also has different color variations, so they can be changed slightly. What we don’t do is signs on the sides of boats. Everything is based on the logos of our partners, like Body Glove and Nike. We are representing the corporation’s interests with our designs by blending their logo with art.”
Some of System Inc.’s latest creations include the Dragon Tattoo, which looks much like what its name describes it as – a dragon tattoo. The Koi Tattoo is similar, but instead of a dragon theme the artwork includes a koi fish. Then there’s the Rusty 2010 with its skull theme. This is modeled for Rusty Malinoski, one of the most dominant riders in professional wakeboarding today.
“I was able to explain to Systems Inc. what I had in mind for my boat, and they created the coolest looking graphic I have seen,” Malinoski says. “They took over and came up with the coolest looking graphic. Just getting to know Josh and to see how awesome of a job they did on my boat, we decided it’d be a good idea to work hand-in-hand.”
Installing Boat Wraps
Systems Inc. doesn’t actually install the boat wraps in-house. Rather, the company works with an international network of professional installers. Sirlin says finding qualified installers can be a challenge because even highly skilled wrap professionals may not have experience applying vinyl to boats. The company typically contracts senior installers that have been working in the industry since its humble beginnings.
“Sometimes it’s a training process,” Sirlin says. “We try to educate new installers and also support them by documenting everything to exactness in the wrapping process so they will have as few problems and as much success as possible with the installation.”
System Inc. relies on 3M vinyl for its boat wraps. 3M markets its Controltac Graphic Film with Comply for both car and boat wraps. It’s typically used for short- to long-term fleet and vehicle graphics, but can also be used for interior and exterior signs, including applications to moderate compound curved, corrugated and riveted surfaces.
One of the advantages of Controltac is its pressure-activated adhesive and air release technology. The film also offers good initial adhesion assists on compound curves and rivets and pigmented adhesive provides excellent hiding power. With Controltac, there’s no edge lifting, shrinking or cracking and it boasts a glossy appearance. 3M also promises fast, clean removal with heat.
With the right materials, an impressive portfolio, strong partnerships, and Springtime coming, Sirlin expects his business to keep booming.
“We’ve been fortunate to partner up with MasterCraft because they are progressive leaders in the industry. It’s been a big opportunity,” Sirlin says. “The industry progresses every year, with skateboarding, wakeboarding and other popular related sports. That gives us more and more opportunity to work with top sports equipment companies.”
As seen on signindustry.com