May he rest in peace.
John was a friend of mine. I stayed at his house after the 2005 Miami Boat Show. RIP John you were a ballsy guy I'll miss you.
May he rest in peace.
Last edited by SHARKEY-IMAGES; 04-16-2010 at 05:31 PM.
Condolences to the family and friends of John Crouse. RIP
I hope some old timers chime in on this because John Crouse deserves a lot of the credit for making a name for Don Aronow and this sport "back in the day".
Does anyone remember when John was the offshore editor for Powerboat Magazine? His articles where always insightful and took the reader deep inside of the sport. He was my favorite author.
John Crouse was also Don's publicist. He was the one that made Don larger than life. He was the one that wrote all those stories for the local papers and national magazines. It was John that noticed that Don had a cast on his arm and proclaimed (and then wrote) that it happened during a particularly rough race....but Don persevered....and probably won.
John was the only person that truly chronicled the sport as if it was major league baseball and kept stats. He was one of a kind and clearly, he left his mark on my life.
I wrote an article about John that was never published. I'll dust it off and post here. Below are some photos that John sent to me to go along with the ariticle.
Godspeed John....from a true fan
Unpublished interview with John Crouse from 2008.
As a wide-eyed teenager I had a deep love of automobiles. Loud, fast and jacked up in the back with deep dish Crager five spoke chrome rims all the way around and a pom-pom carrying cheerleader in the passenger seat. It was the 70s and High School meant just that. It wasn’t until during college in 1979 that I picked up my first copy of Bob Nordskog’s Powerboating Magazine and studied it from cover to cover absorbing every word and statistic. Watching the Benihana Grand Prix was always the highlight of my summer at the Jersey Shore and waiting to read the article in Powerboat about this race was a lesson in patience. Months later I would finally be able to read about the race I attended, get the inside story, and find out who actually won the different classes. There was a time in my life that I waited for, and then hung on every word the John Crouse wrote as the Offshore Editor for Powerboat Magazine, and since that time, no-one has ever filled his shoes. Of the heroes in my youth, John Crouse was one of them and he’s been my inspiration to become the Offshore Editor for Extreme Boats Magazine.
John clearly lived on the inside, rubbing elbows with the Aronow’s, Kramer’s, McCarthy’s and Kaisers’ of the time. He knew everyone in the sport of Offshore Racing and was often very critical of what he saw and didn’t care for. John’s column was usually written in a sort of cryptic shorthand that carried forth meaning without always being straightforward and simple to comprehend. John always seemed to know more than he was saying, holding something back for another story or the right time to reveal a secret. For years I was a huge fan of Mr. Crouse as he was my only source of information about what was happening in and around the world of Offshore Racing.
Then one month I flipped through my freshly delivered Powerboat magazine and he was gone, nowhere to be found amongst the pages. John’s column was always up front, between pages 12 – 15 in the editorial section, every month, without fail, except this month. I looked at the table of context, nothing. I read the publisher’s letter to the readers, no mention of John at all. What happened? Where did he go? Did he ever exist at all? How does someone go from writing for a magazine for a dozen years and then nothing, no goodbye to the readers? How does the publisher not wish him farewell? Month after month I watched and waited for his return but it never came.
John hasn’t gone far from the sport; he’s taken it upon himself to chronicle the events of offshore racing into two mammoth books. Searace part one and two. His original Searace book was first published in 1987 and continues to be referred to as the Bible of Offshore powerboat racing. His new book Searace…The Legends Etc. brings John’s unique slant on the sport into the twenty first century. If you love offshore, you need these books on your coffee table.
If you don’t know the name John Crouse, then you’re showing your youth. John was the personal publicist for Don Aronow and the sport in general. John made these guys into the heroes that they are today just because he said so. One of John’s favorite stories is of a photo of Don Aronow with his arm in a sling. The injury happened while he was playing football with his some Michael but John ran the photo with a caption that told that it happened during a race as a way to show the brutality of the sport. John made Betty Cook a household name. Sure she won lots of races but without a spokesperson spouting off about how the little woman beat up on all the big burly men and was the first woman in history to win an international world championship in motorsports, No one would know her name or any others of the time. Hiring a publicist was the brainchild of Aronow but Crouse took to the challenge and build up a dynasty that still lives on today.
These days John is retired, living in Inverness Florida and shipping his books out to the people that buy them off his web site or through the HOBRA web site. Although on the sidelines, John still keeps the pulse of Offshore by watching via the Internet. For John, it’s not what it once was and certainly not as grand as some of his favorite memories. Crouse first got involved in offshore powerboat racing in the 1956 Miami Nassau race. At the time, John was the boating writer for the Miami Daily News and received an invitation to go for a ride with legendary powerboat racer Sam Griffith, the famed yachtsman Dick Bertram and Jim Breuil, then owner of the Buffalo Bills. John’s ride was a two hours old wooden hull called Doodles II, a 30’ Chris Craft sea skiff. Once the race started they were immediately faced with 40 knot winds driving four inches of rain off the Florida Gulf Stream. Crouse recalls how eager he was to find a bathroom at the Bimini stop, but Jim Breuil was purple as he lay moaning against the transom! Crouse would have to wait until the race was over to go to the bathroom because Sam had three huge Bahamians load three 300 pound fuel drums loaded with high octane aviation gas for the ride back. The problem was that they didn’t have any ropes or cleats so the drums remained unsecured for the rest of the race! Crouse recalls how dangerous that race was from the very start as the Doodles roared out the broiling Government Cut. His first move was to rip out the boat’s speaker wires! When Crouse asked Sam why he tore the wires out Sam answered “so they can’t call us back!” It got far scarier minutes later when Sam elected to run between Forest Johnson’s Prowler and a huge empty Texaco tanker running so high that Crouse envisioned being ground to pieces by its huge mostly exposed flashing propeller blades!
John got his first taste of going to sea as a second year Midshipman at the US Naval in 1953 crossing the Atlantic in the US battleship Missouri in the worst storm in decades. After his stint at the Academy he attended the University of Florida and got his degree in journalism at the University of Miami. He went to work for the Hollywood paper as its sports editor. That’s when he met Red Crise and Sam Griffith, when they were running a race from Government Cut to Bimini and back. John recalls “I actually raced with them twice in that event. They were crazy war heroes, nothing could harm them. They were nuts and got away with it. In the inaugural ’56 race to Nassau one race, we got to Bimini and Sam has a brace of huge Bahamians load three 55-gallon drums of fuel. They stand them up in the back of the boat with nothing securing them then Sam hands me a hose nozzle to start refueling on the move with the brace of hot Cadillac Crusader engines exposed to any spilled fuel since their hatch covers shook loose minutes after the start after leaving the docks.”
Q. What years does your books cover?
A. My book covers from offshore races running in Europe in 1887 through 1987. The new book goes back to the days when Gar Wood raced in the Harmsworth races an includes copy of offshore activities after the first book that were high (or low lighted by the impact the immensely wealthy drug smugglers played in the sport from the late 70’s through the 80’s.
Q.– So why did you stop writing for Powerboat?
A. – I wrote for them for twenty years. I wrote for other magazines around the globe too but Powerboat was close to my heart. It all came to an end over an article that I wrote about the East – West Shootout in Corpus Christi Texas. I attended the race and wrote about what I saw. The fleet was mostly Bob’s West Coast boats from his POPRA group and only three boats from the East Coast. When I wrote that Bob called and told me that the race was the greatest offshore race in history when it was pretty much a flop which I accurately stated in my column which of course Bob didn’t like and had me rewrite the story which I did because of my years with him. Then it hit the fan when after I did rewrite it enough that I thought it would satisfy him when it appeared in the magazine I found that his girl editor Lisa who was his daughter in law and then married to his boy editor Mark Spencer had rewritten my rewrite and that ended that. Then years later when Allweiss sued me Powerboat ran PR man Bob Black’s release in full but months later when Allweiss’ lawsuit was thrown out of the court for lack of prosecution and I sent a release to PB what had happened, it never ran my story claiming that they got it too late! Too late for what?
Q. What was your favorite race?
A. I guess I always enjoyed the Bimini race the best. It had that real offshore flavor. Across open ocean with no land in sight and only a compass to guide you. That’s the stuff that made for legends. After Sam died, it became the Sam Griffon Memorial race. The original Sam Griffon trophy is in a museum in >>>> New York.
Q – Any advice for today’s Offshore Racers?
A – Yes, don’t go so fast. Race in rougher water at slower speeds. I hate to see someone get hurt because the speeds have just gone into an area that no one had ever dreamt of before.
Sad to Hear, Had the pleasure of talking to John and recieving an Autographed copy of His book. You will be missed!!! RIP My Friend!!
John was one of the few of a dying breed. Gutsy, could care less what you thought about him, would always tell you in confidence the truth behind any story he wrote. If there is an opposite to politically correct, it was John. I'll miss you cowboy!
Ron thank you for posting that. It brings back memories from the stories he told me over the years. John was one of a kind.
Alum Metal Fab
Custom Marine Sales
Dave's Custom Boats
Diamond Performance Parts
Double R Performance
Elton Porter Insurance
Fastboats Marine Group
GGB Exhaust Technologies
Grand Sports Center
Ilmor High Performance Marine
Lake Cumberland Marine
Lake Havasu Boat Show
Marine Technology Inc
McLeod Design Group
Performance Boat Center
Performance Marine Trading
Potter Performance Engines
Ron Sporl Performance
Speed and Custom Marine
Total Dollar Insurance
Teague Custom Marine
Wake Zone Marine Insurance
Young Performance Marine