Image Of The Week: How Do You Get An MTI Guy Into A Skater?

Doing his best Michael Pierce imitation, Louisiana’s Nate Michel, who loved the late Pierce like a brother, filled a Skater Powerboats catamaran full of enthusiastic women for the Kort 200–3.0 on Saturday and was all smiles with a helicopter overhead. Also like Pierce, Michel went for the laugh, telling speedonthewater.com that it takes an MTI guy to fill a Skater with women.

Nate Michel was grinning as he ran his friend James Branton’s Skater 388 powered by twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines in the Kort 200–3.0 with his wife, Robin, and six other female friends. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

He was joking—kind of—as he added to the longstanding MTI vs Skater debate amongst friends locally and around the country. Either way, he pulled it off thanks to his good friend, James Branton, who owns the eight-seat Skater 388 that speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden shot while flying with pilot Shane in local performance boater Chad Rudesill’s R-44 Raven II helicopter.

“That was a solid from my boy Jim Branton—I blew an outdrive on Friday and he insisted that I took his boat for Saturday,” Michel explained as to why he wasn’t running his well-known 40-foot MTI Cloud IX. “He said ‘Dude, you put way too much work into this event to not be out there running yourself.’ That’s truly an amazing boat and he’s an amazing friend.”

On Thursday and part of the day Friday, Branton hung out with Michel, who helped organize the event with Kort Wittich, another Louisiana performance boater who owns a 38-foot Skater along with a 34-foot center console from Sunsation Powerboats. But because Branton wasn’t sticking around for the weekend as he had plans to go to Miami for the Formula One Grand Prix, his gorgeous Skater was available.

“I’d do anything for Nate, so I told him to use my boat and have fun,” said Branton, who grew up boating with his dad, David Branton, in the veteran poker run participant’s well-known Cigarettes and Skaters. “After we realized he wasn’t going to have time to fix the drive for Saturday, it was an easy decision. I wasn’t going to be using the Skater and it was already parked at the house so it didn’t even require any work at all.

Branton, who also owns a 32-foot Skater that’s he’s been redoing for some time, informed speedonthewater.com that he recently purchased the Pure Platinum Skater 388 that Pierce owned when he passed away in 2019. Cool news for sure, that the boat is staying “in the family.” Also cool news is that he’s going to be repowering the boat with twin Mercury Racing 1100 engines and No. 6 drives. Between that and the 32, he has some cool projects for speedonthewater.com to report on in the near future.

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Image Of The Week: Skater, Party Of Five
Wittich And Friends Enjoy Impromptu ‘Kort 200’ Gathering In Louisiana
Pierce Buys Pure Platinum 388 Skater
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