HomeBoat InsuranceCatching Up With Eric Avila—A Bright Future For Concept Boats

Catching Up With Eric Avila—A Bright Future For Concept Boats

For Eric Avila, Concept Boats vice president and the son of company founder and president, Luis Avila, the 27-year-old Miami native has grown up in and around the boat-building business. You could say he was born to build center consoles, and he’s currently in a position to ensure that he does just that for the rest of his life. It’s clear Avila learned from the best—his father and mother, Belkys, as well as Concept’s longtime vice president of sales and marketing, Susan Patterson—and he’s utilizing that insight and experience to help take the company his father started in 1986 with a single-engine 17-foot ski boat to the next level.

Powered by five Mercury Racing 500R, the first 4400 from Concept Boats was delivered to Oscar Rodriguez in time for the Key West Poker Run. Photos courtesy Eric Avila/Concept Boats

The Concept model line has grown quite a lot in nearly 40 years and nothing signifies that more than the company’s latest 4400 Sport Cabin powered by five of the new Mercury Racing 500R outboard engines that Avila delivered just in time for the Florida Powerboat Club Key West Poker Run in early November. And, based on several magnificent 44-footers that Concept delivered this year, including a gorgeous black, blue and gray 4400 Sport Cabin to Florida performance boaters Isaac and Camille Burgos, there is more and more interest in the larger boats atop its lineup, which ranges from 27 to 44 feet.

Speedonthewater.com caught up with Avila recently to find out how Concept is planning to carry the positive momentum delivered to the high-performance boat industry during the pandemic into its next 30-plus years. He was gung ho about debuting the company’s first five-engine boat and said orders are rolling in for quint 44-footers. He also hinted at a larger model coming from the company in 2024. Of course, that news will be announced soon. For now, here’s what Avila had to say during our interview.

The family behind Concepts Boats enjoyed an incredible year, including the Concept Boats Poker Run to the Bahamas in July.

How exciting was it to deliver the first five-engine 4400 Sport Cabin toward the end of this year?

It was great. The response to the quint 4400 has been amazing—a lot of people are liking it. Of course, we’re very happy with it. The boat exceeded our expectations. You know it’s 21,000 pounds and it’s a low-90-mph boat with 400 gallons of fuel. The 4400 is still incredible with four motors, but adding the fifth motor has been well received. In fact, the Borgos family, who took delivery of a stunning 4400 with four Mercury Racing 450R engines, ordered a new one with five 500Rs.

We’re also very happy with the boat’s overall appearance and how it looks with the five outboards. It’s all about the big picture, and I think being able to offer that fifth engine is an option we have to have. It took some work, don’t get me wrong, but it’s worth it. My dad and I had to make some modifications to the transom to accommodate the fifth motor. But it was engineered and done correctly the first time around. That’s just how my dad does it.

What can you tell me about your dad and working with him for the past 10 years?

My dad’s been doing this for 37 years; it’s what he does—he loves being in the factory. And he’s really good at what he does. At the same time, he’s never been the guy who wants to go to events and socialize. He works and spends time with his family. But Concept has me now, and I like going to the events, hanging out and making the different connections. That’s fun for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like the boat building, too, but I also like to be outside around all of the boats and people.

The 4400 delivered to Isaac and Camille Burgos in June features an incredible amount of detail from the paintwork to the cabin.

So do you have a favorite boat you all delivered in 2023?

All of them (laughs). If I had to pick one it would be the new five-engine boat, but not just because it has 2,500 hp. Because it was the 18th Concept we’ve built for Oscar Rodriguez. He’s actually on his third 4400, too.

It sounds like Mr. Rodriguez deserved to build the largest and most-powerful Concept to date.

He’s always pushing us hard and he’s the one who suggested we hang five engines on the back, so I said “Sure, let’s go for it,” and we made it happen. And we pulled it off on a boat with an 11-foot beam, which for a lot of our customers is great for trailering. Speaking of trailering, we’re pretty excited that we’re going to deliver our first 4400 to a customer at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri in February. It’ll be the first one on the lake so we can’t wait to see what kind of response it gets up there.

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