As toy specialist at Superyacht Tenders & Toys, Mark Peak has one of the most enviable jobs in the world. We speak to him about everything from his days spent trialing the latest water toys to the growing demand for eco-friendly designs that’s currently sweeping the industry.
How did you first get into the yachting industry?
I have always been into watersports and learnt to sail and windsurf at around 10 years old. This led to working numerous seasons as a watersport’s instructor and after finishing my final summer season as a Beach Manager in Greece I came back to the UK and started working for OneSails, the sailmaker. This was the start of my yachting career and lead to travelling around Europe racing on many yachts, setting up and trimming the sails.
When did you join SYTT and how did it come about?
I first got to know its founder Josh when we went go-karting at a mutual friend’s stag do. I will never stop reminding him of the results as I pipped him to first place by less than a 100th of a second. A few months later Josh purchased an RS300 sailing dinghy, and with myself owning one too, got to enjoy close racing on a weekly basis at the local club. Knowing Josh, and seeing the business blossom with all things wonderful, weird, and wacky, it would have been foolish not to snap up the first opportunity to get involved.
What attracted you to the company?
There is very little not to like about SYTT. It’s awesome being one step ahead of the curve with the latest and greatest. Getting hands on and testing some of the coolest bits of kit in the world is such a privilege. The team are alright too…we are all mates and often a beer with the team after a hard day at work is a simple pleasure.
What does your role of toy specialist entail?
My role has developed over the years and involves almost all aspects of the toy side of the business, whether it’s new builds, sales, logistics, or heading up the brand-new rental fleet.
What does a typical day look like?
I would love to be that person that gets out of bed and goes on a morning run all bright eyed and bushy tailed, but no chance! I fumble out of bed at around half 7, and then fumble my way to work for half 8. The working day begins with actioning enquiries and ‘short term’ requests. Lunch often includes walking the dog around the local countryside, and then the afternoons are generally getting my teeth stuck into the bigger projects and new builds orders. Once home at around 6pm, the evenings often consist of a swim or cycle followed by chilled nights in with the fiancée and dog.
What trends are you seeing in the water toys market right now?
The water toy market will always have that element of ‘the bigger, the better’. We are always pushing boundaries with new technology, especially with slides and climbing walls.
Customisations are also increasingly popular; we have delivered nearly 30 custom units within the past year and the requests are coming in thick and fast. The option to have the units fully bespoke and matching the mothership is a real appeal to clients.
What are the hottest yacht toys for 2020?
Apart from custom jet skis, we are seeing a huge demand for foiling equipment. Foiling has taken over the watersports world with foiling windsurfers, kitesurfers, wakeboards, wakesurfers, sailing boats and powered surfboards. The Lift E Foil is one of my favorite bits of kit and the demo board often finds it way home with me on a summer’s weekend.
The trend for eco-friendly toys is becoming more and more apparent – is the lead coming from owners/captains or from the manufacturers?
More eco-friendly toys are slowly taking over as technology develops and manufactures begin to utilise more efficient and cleaner processes. This is always an appeal to owners and crew but never the sole decision factor into a purchase, therefore the responsibility of greener products heavily lie with, and is steered by, the manufacturers. With a surge in electric and environment conscious products to the market, it won’t be long until they become the norm.
What’s the most ambitious request you’ve successfully delivered?
One of the most ambitious requests I will never forget was the newbuild outfitting of a 120m yacht, from cold enquiry to delivery on board within three weeks. The fully bespoke supply included all items from jet skis, SeaBobs, dive gear, watersports equipment and clothing. Handling all the quoting, ordering, logistics, and delivery within such a short timescale was quite a feat. Don’t get me wrong, leaving it this last minute isn’t recommended, and I definitely found a few grey hairs afterwards!
SYTT also have a toy rental division – presumably for smaller yachts and sailing yachts with less space on board?
Although the rental fleet has increased our sub 50m customer base, we are also seeing the larger yachts take advantage of the service. With charter yachts becoming ever popular, renting equipment is an efficient way to promise guests the latest and greatest each and every year.
Is there still growing demand for chase boats to accommodate larger inventories?
Support boats are still popular, but we have seen a real growth with explorer yachts capable of handling some of the best inventories on board. With superyacht guests and owners seemingly getting younger, they are more interested in the garage space and what action packed toys it can entail.
And out on the water, how has floating dockage evolved over the past few years?
One owner once said that a floating platform is the cheapest real estate he has ever bought. Floating docks and swim platform extensions are one of the most versatile ways to extend your yacht, safely protect your investments, and get closer to the water.
With a view to crew, some of the larger inflatables can be a challenge to deploy and pack – have things improved in recent years?
Inflatable technology has developed massively over recent years and products are being produced lighter and stronger than ever. The key to success with the larger docks is designing the custom solutions in manageable sections that the crew can handle with ease in the water and on board. If the crew are happy, the products get used, and the owners are happy. With word spreading about these custom inflatables, we are finding new build yachts factoring in these solutions before the yacht is constructed and ensuring they are maximising the possibilities and operational efficiency.
What’s your all-time favorite toy?
It’s hard to pick a favorite toy with so much variety on the market. Demoing the HPC Electric bikes was a highlight along with the Jetlev instructor training. If I was an owner anchored in a remote Caribbean bay, the appeal of a paddleboard or quick snorkel would be just as strong as a 300HP jet ski and flyboard session.
If you could create the water toy of your dreams, what would it be?
The latest superyacht toys are already well beyond my imagination. I already feel like a kid in a sweet shop!
If you weren’t working in the superyacht industry, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t working for SYTT I would have got into teaching. With my instructing experience and Ocean Science degree, I expect I would be heading up science classes and being that mad science teacher which everyone once had.
Images: Mark Peak/SYTT