The Captain’s Shark Cat Julie Anne gets a soft touch. She’s gone from basic to bling, decked out with new EVA flooring from Deck Armour and new retro-style seat coverings handcrafted by Matt Robinson from Maroochy Marine Covers.
When it came to picking a flooring design for The Captain’s Shark Cat, we insisted on a simple, restrained design theme, in keeping with the minimalistic boat design. Then things got crazy. Somehow, we made the leap from basic planking with a company name to a giant sperm whale hunted by feral whalers. Shane Paton, distributor and fitter of Deck Armour, had something to do with it. “The flooring is 60 per cent of your finish above the decks — so create something memorable and unique to your business,” he insisted. So we did.
After Shane convinced us we needed something sexy on the floor, we watched him lay down a flooring template using a non-stretchable, non-tearable plastic templating material called PatternPRO. Then he passed us up the food chain to Deck Armour bossman Joshua Goodvinn to talk design. Josh suggested a mood board, as well as a list of likes and dislikes, so he could channel our salty vibes. We did that, and the designs he bounced back to us were almost bang-on. After a just a few tweaks, we told him to hit the green button on the CNC router.
FITTING THE FLOOR
Weeks later, when Shane rocks up to The Captain’s quarters, he’s beaming from ear to ear, keen to roll out the freshly minted Deck Armour. “Finally, a deck without a marlin on it,” he chortles. “This one tops the cake.” Shane’s first job is to prepare the surface for bonding. “There’s a real chemistry to adhesion,” he says. “We pride ourselves on being specialists in this area. The flowcoat surfaces are lightly sanded to remove the wax, then wiped with several different chemicals to get ready for adhesion.”
As well as the large floor sections, we’ve opted for Deck Armour on the kill tank in the middle of the boat. This should provide extra grip for the cutting boards, as well as a working table for the camera gear. And it will double as a seat, so it has to be comfortable. Shane lays the fresh armour down, activating the pressure-sensitive glue. Although hesitant at first, we’re glad we laid flooring on the foredeck. It’s far from traditional, but looks amazing and takes nothing away from the Shark Cat’s original Bruce Harris lines. It also helps with practical things The Captain often overlooks, such as grip. The back seat on the transom features a tribute to the original Shark Cat logo. It doesn’t just look cool, it’s also grippy and comfortable when boarding the boat from sea.
SELLING THE DICK
“The exciting thing about this job is that we’re running a theme — we’ve translated the story of Moby Dick onto the floor,” Shane says when the job is finished. “He’s sporting a few harpoons and looking pretty pissed off, but it feels right. It’s nostalgic, the colour palette works beautifully, it fits the vibe of the boat and represents what you boys do — storytelling.”
TAKE A SEAT
In a former life, Shane was a furniture designer, and he’s now admiring the retro-themed pair of bucket seats at Julie Anne’s helm. “A lot of detail has gone into these seats, the diamond stitching, triple-stitching on the edges — and the colours are symbolic of the boat,” he drools. We’re getting lost in Shane’s superlatives, but he hasn’t finished yet. He reckons one of the things that makes a finish interesting is, “the combination of textures. You’ve got gelcoat, flow-coat and stainless steel, but these amazing seats really finish the cat off.” We can only nod in stunned agreement.
Matt Robinson from Maroochy Marine covers supplied the handiwork on the seats that Shane is now rubbing himself somewhat amorously against. Matt was inspired by the opportunity to create something interesting for The Captain’s cat (music to our ears, given we love trading in anything other than cold, hard cash). “I love seeing the classics restored,” says Matt, who has almost three decades of upholstery experience. “The upholstery is the last thing done on a boat — and often the cherry on top of the project. I came on board because I love jobs that let me use my imagination and skills.” The Captain is happy to oblige.
We’ve retained the cat’s original bucket seats not just because they look good, but because they’re bloody comfortable. After wrapping them in cardboard and addressing the box to Matt, we had given him the brief: “Use your imagination, have fun, keep it retro and tie in the other colours of the boat. Oh, and don’t stitch a bloody marlin into it.” “First, we take the patterns of the seat, then divide it into sections such as diamonds and dark grey strips,” Matt says. “Each section is cut and sewn together to form the seat cover.
We add the backing foam to the vinyl and sew it all together to make one unit, then fit it to the bucket. Custom jobs require an old-school approach. There are no computers, the vinyl is hand-cut, sewn together with a machine, then pulled and stapled.” When he’s not doing love jobs for The Captain, Matt does custom work, including storage and travel covers, bimini tops and clears. The Captain salutes you, Matt.
Q&A: THE DYNAMOS BEHIND DECK ARMOUR
It’s been five years since brothers Joshua and Kristan Goodvinn kicked off Deck Armour, throwing out the old paint brushes from their signwriting days and diving deep into the marine industry. The Captain checks in with Josh to see how things are going.
THE CAPTAIN: G’day Josh, how did Deck Armour come about?
JOSH: We were designing and fitting large-scale signage and boat wraps for marine clients and noticed the market was crying out for a non-slip flooring solution that looked cool and could also stand up to harsh Australian conditions.
What skills did you carry across to Deck Armour? Our knowledge of adhesive technology for starters, but Deck Armour is much more than slapping on a sticker. I’m also a traditional signwriter, so I’ve been trained to use a brush. It’s given me a good eye for detail and I love the old-school look.
Likewise. Looks like things have grown around here. I remember the first order of EVA rolls coming to my garage at home. Now, we’ve got two new factories in Redlands Business Park. One is purely for cutting and deliveries Australiawide, the other houses an installation bay, showroom and offices.
What about staff? Our staff numbers have doubled in recent years — we’re running 24-hour shifts to keep up with demand.
Sounds like hard work. It is, but fortunately we love what we do. We’re also committed to maintaining the high quality. We’ve turned down work from Alaska and Dubai, as well as from several Australian manufacturers.
Big call. At the end of the day, we love dealing with the end customer rather than pumping out generic floors and losing control of production quality.
So you fit everything? Nope, we create everything, but our team of distributors helps fit and install all over Australia. They put their heart and soul into the boats. It’s not just a franchise — they believe in the product.
Speaking of products, what’s everyone hot for at the moment? Everyone still wants fish rulers. As far as logos go, the kraken is a favourite — and marlin never get old. Ah, the marlin.
What about colours? Charcoal grey seems to be the favourite colour, especially in Victoria. It goes well with monochrome tones (grey, white and black). Dark teak is popular up north because it hides the red dust.
How can people channel their inner flooring designer? We encourage people to keep it personal and create designs that mean something to them. We had a customer with a compass tattoo that was replicated on the floor. We’ve also had kids’ names in the footrests. Creating a mood board of photos and ideas is helpful to shape their look, and getting likes and dislikes also helps.
Any other tips for getting the right look? Carry a theme through the boat, whether it’s the colour, font styling or just the name of the boat. Anywhere you stand or sit that gets wet is a good spot to carry the theme through. Think about how the wrap (if you’ve got one) complements the flooring design.
Any designs we can’t mention in polite company? We had a boat named Swallow This. And a spearo wanted a silhouette of a girl with a speargun. He also insisted on a nipple. Fortunately, the CNC router was accurate enough for the finer, er, points, of the detail.
How about some tips for preparing the boat floor before the Deck Armour crew arrives? Preparation is key. The adhesion is only as good as the surface it’s stuck to, so tidy up flaky paint and soft floors. Beyond that, we’ll prepare the surface with a light sand and wipe with several chemicals.
What other applications does Deck Armour have? There’s a trend toward large removable mats. We lay the mat on 3mm or 4mm rubber backing. When placed around a seat base or a corner, it doesn’t move an inch. Sounds like a great option for moored boats. Anywhere you need a non-slip product you can wash, Deck Armour can do the business.
How do you clean the good stuff? Use a non-acidic or PH neutral detergent, warm water and a medium or stiff brush. The more you look after it, the more it’ll look after you. And please, don’t smoke and ash on the floor. That’s a killer for any EVA product, but unfortunately it does happen. Lastly, don’t fillet on your floor.
Good advice at any time, Josh. The Captain salutes you!
0407 650 746
Maroochy Marine Covers
(07) 5479 5622