PROFILE: STEFAN BOATING WORLD

By: JOHN WILLIS


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The move from hairdressing to the Stefan Boating World dealership may not seem like an obvious one, but for larger-than-life Stefan Ackerie it was the most natural thing in the world.

PROFILE: STEFAN BOATING WORLD
Stefan Boating World. It's hard to miss.

What would your life be without a few interesting characters to enrich it? Damn boring. Luckily for us, the boating industry is full of these types of characters, and Queensland hairdressing and beauty icon Stefan Ackerie, owner and operator of Stefan Boating World on the Gold Coast, definitely fits the bill.

Meet Stefan once and I guarantee you will remember him forever. He may bring beauty to many, but it would be a mistake to think Stefan is all about the cosmetics.

 

MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE

Stefan earned his marine stripes through a long association with racing offshore powerboats. He was flying lanes and raising hell in mind-bending hulls way back in the ’80s. He holds records for crossing the Bass Strait as well as the Malacca Strait in Malaysia, and he has won the Australian Offshore Powerboat Championships several times. He is no novice on the water.

Off the water, Stefan’s hard work and success saw him nominated as a finalist in the Australian of the Year Award in 2004, while he has previously been crowned in the Ethnic Business Awards, and been named the 1990 Queensland Employer of the Year and an Official Ambassador for Brisbane. He even purchased the Expo 88 Sky Needle to light up the sky above his headquarters in South Brisbane.

He has a strong commitment to his staff and has supported his industry by implementing education programs in association with TAFE.

There is also a very strong charitable side to this Renaissance man. Stefan has implemented several programs to help kids in need, his famous Rainbow Van delivers meals to Brisbane’s homeless, and he made a donation of $7500 when former Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds got out the hair clippers for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave back in 2009.

 

BRIGHT IDEAS

Stefan has always had a great love of the boating industry and he is destined to make a splash with his new showroom in Coomera, situated almost opposite the Gold Coast City Marina complex. Stefan purchased the two-acre spot after it was vacated by Azzura Yachts and quickly set about transforming it with his usual passion and flair.

The showroom and façade weren’t quite complete on our recent visit so I’ll save the final details for a future issue, but I can give you the hint — Italian marble floors, Mediterranean gardens, Venetian sculptures, and pink and green rooms all make way for a multi-level showcase of new marine products. Stefan will certainly stamp his individual brand on the boating industry, but he is promising to do it all with well-priced boating packages and niche products.

Smartliner Boats is one of Stefan’s lead products. The brainchild of Frenchman Pierre Charlot, these boats are unique in style and design (see page 98 for a review). The Taiwanese-built fibreglass hulls range from 3.35-8m (11-26ft) and could be described as a combination of a traditional island longboat and European design, and the efficiency of their hull design means they require minimal horsepower.

The Smartliner range includes cuddys with removable cabins, revealing side console layouts, as well as tiller steer and centre console offerings. The side and centre consoles should prove especially popular with the sportsfishing brigade.

There’s a million and one tinnies on the market, but Stefan’s Smartliner aluminium boats offer a real point of difference — they have fibreglass internal liners, which is a new innovation that makes a lot of sense. Fibreglass is light, strong and has a non-slip finish, making an ideal floor for small or large alloy hulls. It also allows a sealed cavity to eliminate corrosion, when sinkers and other non-compatible components get stuck in bilges, and rigid floors with greater buoyancy offer added strength and safety.

The great ideas just keep on flowing from Stefan Boating World. How about an inflatable boat with a transparent acrylic hull? That’s right; a see-through bottom that allows you to keep an eye on what’s below. There are loads of practical uses for these great little craft, including reef watching, diver safety, hire and charter, education and survey assessment, but they would also be a lot of fun.

Stefan has also introduced the Cyprian range of Karnic fibreglass boats to Australia, and these beauties are destined to turn plenty of heads Down Under, just as they have done in 20 other countries throughout the world. They fit well with Stefan: individual styling, premium design, innovative ideas, aesthetically pleasing, congenial ergonomics and enchanting presentation. Karnic boats have a full range of offerings from 5.5m, with innovative open and sundeck packages, sportfishers, cruisers and striking sports combinations.

Then there is the pièce de résistance, the exciting little Razar Cat. This 4.1m twin-hull inflatable is a cross between a cat, a rubber ducky, a jetski and a high-powered racer. Outboard power and a steering wheel means these machines are not technically jetskis, so the best description, at least in terms of riding characteristics, is that it feels like a marinised quad bike, on steroids. This thing is more fun than laughing gas and relatively safe, too. Strap a 60hp Evinrude E-TEC behind the efficient, lightweight 4.1m hull and hang on, because it’s a proverbial rocket ship. There are plenty of practical uses, but fun is really the name of the game.

Stefan’s rainbow company logo exemplifies his attitude to life and business. His commitment is to keep pace with this changing world by offering a ray of sunshine through his panache and his commitment to providing well-priced products and top service to the Australian boating community. We’re officially excited.

Originally published in TrailerBoat #296, June/July 2013.

Find Karnic boats for sale.
Find Smartliner boats for sale.
Find Razar Cat boats for sale.

 


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