With sincere apologies to my friends Jay Nichols and Tim Sharkey—both ace lensmen in the go-fast powerboat world—the 2015 Road Warrior-Photographer of the Year Award goes to Pete Boden of Shoot 2 Thrill Pix. Boden hasn’t just been on the road this season, thanks in part to five weeks in a motorhome. He’s lived on it.
“How many events have I shot this year?” said Boden via mobile phone from the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and Super Cat Fest events in Central Missouri a couple of weeks ago. “I don’t even know. I’d have to count, but I’d say it’s like 15 or 16.”
Boden started the 2015 go-fast boating season in Doha, Qatar, shooting the inaugural Qatar Cup in early February. From there he went straight (with a merciful stop back at his home in Sarasota, Fla., to grab some fresh clothing) to the Miami International Boat Show and then, one weekend later, to the Miami Boat Show Poker Run. For those of you who are counting, that’s three events worth of shooting during the shortest month of the year.
Prior to the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix in July, Boden kept busy by photographing a couple of vintage powerboat races, Super Boat International’s season-opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and the Florida Powerboat Club’s Tampa Bay Poker Run. Not content to hang out just in Florida, Boden also headed to Atlantic City, N.J., to shoot an Offshore Powerboat Association race in June.
After chronicling the Sarasota event during the July 4 holiday week, Boden hopped in his RV and pointed it northwest to shoot the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in Michigan as the official photographer for the event. While he was there, Boden handled an early morning photo shoot of a new Mystic Powerboats C4400 catamaran for the cover of the latest Speed On The Water digital magazine. The results were spectacular.
But Boyne Thunder was just the beginning of the 2015 Pete Boden Road Show—he spent five weeks shooting various events in the area including another old school powerboat gathering as well as the Hydroplane Nationals, OPA’s St. Clair River Classic offshore race in Michigan, SBI’s offshore race in Michigan City, Ind., the OPA International Race in Port Huron, Mich., and Sarnia, Ontario, Canada and Skater Fest, also in Michigan. (Boden was not the official photographer for Skater Fest, but he did deliver some great images.)
OK, I’m sure I left out an event or two that Boden photographed this season, but if his off-the-cuff memory isn’t any better than mine I’m at peace with whatever events I might have omitted. One thing is certain: Boden isn’t just an excellent photographer, the guy is a freakin’ workhorse. And while he is a professional—and that means at least trying to reap economic reward out of every event he captures—he’s motivated purely by enjoying what he shoots.
So what was his favorite event to photograph this year? Boden paused for a moment, both to shoot a boat running on the Lake of the Ozarks in front of him and to consider his answer.
“Port Huron was a lot of fun because the action was up close and I had a good vantage point,” he said. “The Qatar Cup was what it was, but it was an off-the-hook, once-in-a-lifetime thing to shoot. Atlantic City was fun—watching the Class 6 and Class 7 boats in three- to seven-foot seas, that was fun to shoot. I wasn’t out there getting my ass beat, but it was fun to shoot.”
Next up on Boden’s shooting schedule are the SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., the SBI World Championships in Key West, Fla., and the OPA World Championships in Engelwood, Fla. After that, he’ll probably take some time off—at least until the Joey Gratton Memorial Fun Run rolls around in early January.
“If an event isn’t fun to shoot, I won’t go to it,” Boden said before finding more subjects on the Lake of the Ozarks to fill his frame. “It has to be fun.”
All photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.