Véhicule Magazine: Keys Island Runners

The Keys Island Runners started off in Key West with Action Marine’s 17-footer. It was the base, or at least a stepping stone, for just about every go-fast guy down here. We all started out with a stripped 17, put down new stringers and floors, and built a Frankenstein engine. We all grew up poor on Stock Island and had to help each other build our rides. As we got older, guys got jobs—usually for the city as electrical linemen or for the water department. They make up around 60% of the Runners’ founding crew.

Keys Island Runners by Jo Anna-Flavia Schmidt

Since then, it’s taken off and gone from a local boys club to a group with an open invitation to all go-fast guys out there. These new members bring big money with them and $100,000 boats. It’s brought a whole new dynamic and the network keeps getting bigger. We have more people coming to each meet, and local businesses and friends make money in turn. Everyone has a good time.

The founder’s brother was a legendary fisherman, freediver, and all-around great person down here. He struggled with cancer for a few years. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that all the benefits, golf tournaments and meetups that we held for him wasn’t the glue that initially brought the whole crew together. At the very least, it helped us realize that we can assemble a whole crew of local boys with a single Facebook message. His brother passed away and shortly after, the Keys Runners was founded.

It’s kind of snowballed since then.

Keys Island Runners by Jo Anna-Flavia Schmidt

The name of the game is 'anything goes' when you're on the open water. Any logic or reason deployed is quickly dismantled by one simple fact — nothing except for sheer power makes sense out here. It's Machiavellian. Ruthless. They do what they need to do to get ahead, because nothing's in their way.

Check out our very own flats boat design featured on Wallpaper and read more about the Keys Island Runners on The Arsenale.