12-27-2013, 01:40 PM #1
The Incredible Hulk: Behind The Man Behind The Industry’s Most Successful Forum
My friendship with Jerry Gaddis all started with a friendly email warning me that I had really screwed up. In the final months before Personal Watercraft Illustrated would fatefully fold up, I had written a response in the monthly “Letters to The Editor” department asking why PWI wasn’t featuring more “conversion skis.” In this instance, the questioner was referring to performance enthusiasts who were shoehorning supercharged and turbo’ed Rotax 4-Tec engines into Yamaha GPR hulls. When done right, the result rendered insane triple-digit top speeds. When done poorly, the result was a snarky reply from a young magazine editor.
My response to the letter reflected my narrow experience with these machines, and from what I had seen, wasn’t terribly impressive. The handful of conversion skis I had seen first-hand exhibited some questionable craftsmanship and in my response, I said something to that degree.
Unfortunately, the group of persons that my response offended – albeit not a majority – were tremendously vocal. And they wanted my head on a pike. The internet uproar was enough to warrant a word of cautionary warning from the founder and owner of the industry’s fastest-growing performance PWC forum, www.greenhulk.net.
Actually, my first statement’s not entirely true. In further reflection, Jerry and I had hit it off at various media gatherings previously, but I will always consider that one email as the moment Jerry put his arm around me in friendship…and kindly smacked me in the back of the head.
“Don’t give them a reason to turn on you,” he warned. “They’re really passionate about these things. They need to feel respected.” And he was right. So much so that I’ve carried Jerry’s words with me as my career transferred from print to digital publishing. No matter how divided our industry is, everyone wants to feel that the one fraction they care about is just as respected as the others.
This too, was a lesson Jerry had to learn. Long before the enterprising Morgan City, Louisiana native launched his top-of-the-line performance hardware e-commerce store, PWCPerformance.com or transitioned his one-man blog into the fastest-growing personal watercraft enthusiast forum in the industry, Jerry was guy who wanted to push his supercharged Sea-Doo to the next level.* Always a fan of fast toys, Jerry applied his know-how acquired through years of tuning on cars and boats to his new 2004 Sea-Doo RXP.
The apple-green two-seater caught the attention of his two small boys. From the moment Jerry brought the ski home, the two referred to it as the “green Hulk” after the temperamental gamma-radioactive superhero.
Although the 215-horsepower output far exceeded anything produced by the competition, for Jerry and the rechristened “Green Hulk,” it simply wasn’t enough. The project ski gave way to a personal blog, documenting the build process, the trials and errors and most notably, the successes. Word of the blog quickly spread and with followers came a flood of emails.
Unable to field so many questions, Jerry turned to friend Mike Trin to assist in transforming greenhulk.net from a blog to a vBulletin forum. Jerry wrote, “I decided to start this forum so that instead of discussing mods one-on-one through email, everyone could talk together in open forum.”
In the new format, greenhulk.net quickly grew. An influx of home garage tuners, ski builders and top level performance shops began participating, sharing their experiences and know-how and input.
Yet, until that point, greenhulk.net was just a hobby for Jerry. The third generation in a family business, Jerry’s bread-and-butter came from Life Saving Equipment & Repair, the manufacturer of The Roe Float lifeboat, Tuff Bags, tarps, signs, custom dive equipment and a major supplier oil and gas industry, the diving and trucking industries. As more and more requests came to Jerry asking for help in locating custom or unique performance parts, Jerry saw a need he could fill. The launch of 4tecperformance.com (later to be renamed pwcperformance.com), the online store could better connect performance enthusiasts with the parts they needed.
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12-27-2013, 02:06 PM #2
12-27-2013, 02:34 PM #3
12-27-2013, 03:15 PM #4
12-27-2013, 04:38 PM #5
Ha Ha Ha, Jerry went from flogging safety gear and life boats to being one of the pioneers and main instigator for many of us (who aren't fossils) of our addictive hobby?
Jerry recently thanked me for my long standing customer loyalty, which I appreciated such a personable email. I then pointed out to Jerry that he only has himself to thank for my repeat return, and I very much doubt you would find anyone or any bussiness that is as dedicated to customer service and satisfaction as the pwc performance.com crew.
Merry Cristmas and wishing you all the best for the future.
12-27-2013, 04:39 PM #6
12-27-2013, 04:55 PM #7
Talk about beyond the call of duty.
I recently on the 26/Dec/2013 placed an order for some new dress keys as my original ones were looking bit worn.
It would have been the 25/Dec in the USA. You can imagine the surprise I got when jerry responded to my order.
I gave him a stern warning to get back to the festivities and I was in no hurry!!
My one off turbo red monster would not exist without this forum
12-27-2013, 04:57 PM #8
12-27-2013, 05:02 PM #9
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
- JUST NORTH OF CUBA-- FL,KEYS
i smell duck tape burning ,, good thing the bailing wire is still holding.. Sorry couldn't help myself..
12-27-2013, 06:10 PM #10
Great write-up, Kevin. Thanks for posting.
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