Balex Marine has won the award for Most Innovative Local Product at the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show for their Automatic Boat Loader (ABL).
The award is new to the show and was created to recognise and reward innovation in a marine application, and was judged by well-known marine journalist and HWBC Hall of Fame inductee Barry Thompson. Thompson commented that “the fact that all the hard work is eliminated has huge advantages, and the increased safety features makes it clear the product is ‘a real winner’.”
First staged almost 60 years ago, the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show is New Zealand’s largest, longest running and most popular boating expo, with more than 36,000 visitors over the weekend.
The ABL’s New Zealand inventor Lex Bacon and Managing Director Paul Symes accepted the award on behalf of Balex Marine.
“We believe this product provides the ultimate boating experience,” says Symes, “and the system provides a platform for many more innovative products. With over 90,000 trailer boats sold annually in North America and 30,000 in Australia, the export opportunities are really significant.”
Lex Bacon, the Inventor, has been working on the idea in various forms for over 10 years (including pulling in both sons!) before entrepreneur Paul Symes invested into the business along with product development company Locus Research.
A lean and rapid product development approach ensued, leading up to the Hutchwilco Boat Show. Locus Research research director Jono Jones, who led the project said, “The last five months have been a whirl of activity, and the award is hugely satisfying for the whole team.” Jono and Paul led a team that involved a wide range of internal and external resources from hydraulic design, through to structural and chemistry, down to brand and graphics.
The whole Balex team is gearing up for the final development refinements through to production whilst orders are coming through the door.
Managing Director Paul Symes is also gearing up to raise capital to drive the development of the US and other offshore markets.