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Beneath the Surface: The Rover

Rover : Not Your Average Micro Skiff

In the third installment of the Beneath the Surface Podcast, Sean and Corey discuss the inspiration behind the Rover.

It’s a micro skiff. It’s a paddle board with a motor. It’s the Rover.

In Beneath the Surface: Rover, Not Your Average Micro Skiff, Sean interviews Corey about the identity of the Rover. From the initial CAD renderings and testing the very first prototype in the Gulf of Mexico, to winning Product of the Year and Best in Show at iCAST in 2016, the Rover is the first of its kind. It skirts the line between a micro skiff and stand up paddle board, so much so that the Coast Guard scratched their heads the first time they saw it.

Get to know the Rover, the most innovative water vessel we’ve ever made.

“People were moving from large bay boats to flat skiffs. So, with the paddle board, I was like, man, this is a killer way to get super shallow and to be really stealthy and have a simple approach to fishing. So we scaled a skiff down, a paddle board up, smashed them together, put a motor on it and there you go.“ – Corey Cooper / CEO & Co-Founder


Who's In The Episode

Lead Designer, Co-Founder, and CEO at BOTE, Corey Cooper is a licensed engineer hailing from Auburn University. Corey is the pioneer of the DarkRoom, assisting with the design of the machinery, concepting the layout and ultimately developing the workflow used in DarkRoom production. Corey’s passion for this project is so strong that on any given day, regardless of how busy things are at BOTE, you will often find Corey working in the DarkRoom.

Sean Murphy is the Director of Photography at BOTE and a world-renowned photographer based in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. After spending most of his career based in Los Angeles, shooting for brands like Adidas, Red Bull, and Toyota, just to name a few, Sean moved back to the Redneck Riviera. You can find Sean capturing gritty America and spontaneous moments that translate into visually stunning photography.

After 40 years of working on boats, he left the industry and started working on BOTEs, naturally. Pete Buzzelli heads up research and development, helping bring all of Corey’s crazy ideas to life in the DarkRoom.

Harry Madison is a BOTE ambassador who truly embodies the lifestyle.

“In order to make your mark on the world, you often have to make a voyage from the familiar into far off places where few have ventured or even dared. These journeys are necessary to discover our true selves and grow our knowledge of the world around us. We have developed a platform that will help you take that journey. A BOTE like no other, that will take you farther, faster than anything we have ever created. We call it Rover.” - Corey Cooper / CEO & Co-Founder

Links From The Episode

  • Prototyped in the DarkRoom, the >Rover is not your average micro skiff.
  • Long before the Rover there was the HD.
  • Get to know someone who embodies the Rover lifestyle, Harry Madison.
  • First came the Rover, then came the Rover Aero.
  • Back to the Everglades? Never Again. Except maybe one more time, on the Rover.
Corey working on the first Rover prototype in the Darkroom
The Rover going through iterations in the Darkroom

Go farther, faster! Go farther, faster!
The Rover is a paddle board/micro skiff hybrid like no other
Allowing the rider to go father, faster like never before
while still being able to creep into the shallows just like a paddle board

“People were moving from large bay boats to flat skiffs. So, with the paddle board, I was like, man, this is a killer way to get super shallow and to be really stealthy and have a simple approach to fishing. So we scaled a skiff down, a paddle board up, smashed them together, put a motor on it and there you go.“ – Corey Cooper/ CEO

Hand-crafting prototypes, making adjustments to get it just right
Innovating watercrafts as we know them
A great vessel for a pair of riders
Borrowing hull design from the HD to allow it to cut through the water

We created the ultimate fishing platform
Able to go places you can't with just a paddle board or a traditional skiff
The Rover
A true innovation in fishing

Show Notes

  • 00:00:00 Intro
    Corey and Sean are back to dive into their first product-focused episode, and it’s all about the Rover.
  • 00:01:27 An Idea Was Born
    Corey sent Sean a CAD rendering of a watercraft with a cut out in the back for a motor. A few weeks later, he handmade a prototype.
  • 00:04:10 "Can I Put a Motor On It?"
    For years at trade shows, people would always ask “hey man, can you put a motor on that?” Corey’s initial thought was that people must have been too lazy to paddle. Further, the direction of the brand has always been to simplify paddle sports and fishing experience. With people moving from skiffs and kayaks to paddle boards, the company was focused on creating products that take a stealthy and simple approach to paddle board fishing.
  • 00:06:23 The First Prototype
    It’s about time. Corey realized that designing a motorized paddle board didn’t have to compromise the direction of the brand. Instead, it would elevate it. By taking the core features of the HD paddle board and smashing it up with key elements from a flats fishing boat or micro skiff, the Rover would still be a paddle board at heart. You could put a motor on it or leave it off, just like you could use a KULA as a seat or leave it on the shore. Stealthy and simple.

    The DarkRoom team handmade the prototype and enlisted the help of BOTE ambassador Harry Madison to take it to the water. The stability was insane.
  • 00:09:33 Go Further, Faster
    The philosophy of the craft was to go further, faster. The trick was to power it appropriately and keep the nose out of the water for safety, but also displace and plane enough to reach top end speed.
  • 00:11:38 What Makes It Unique
    It’s short and narrow enough to be a paddle board, but thick enough to reach the buoyancy of a boat. In the end, the Rover is a self-buoyant motorized paddle board that skirts a lot of regulations because of the way it’s constructed.

    Calling it a definitive name that others understand is challenging, because it’s an entirely new product that hasn’t been defined in the outdoor and water sports space. But one thing’s for sure. True to BOTE form, it’s simple but sexy.
  • 00:14:38 So Many Uses
    It’s a boat. It’s a paddle board. It’s both, but better. After the Rover moved into production, the guys realized it was the perfect vessel to take back to the Everglades. Going further and faster without compromising stealth and simplicity is exactly what they needed for their next SUP adventure, and exactly what the BOTE brand embodies.
  • 00:16:12 Outro
    Thanks for listening. Later!