Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Boating and Good Friends Help Heal.

Sure boating and water sports are fun and we have seen these hobbies bring families closer, but can these pastimes actually help heal? The Whittet Family is an example of Malibu boat owners who are looking for togetherness on the boat to help their healing process. The Whittets' son Zach passed away in a car accident earlier this year. Together with their friends at the Ski Shack, Greg, Jolie Ann and their six-year-old daughter are throwing themselves into the activity that brought Zach and the entire family so much joy, prior to his death.

The Whittet family was new to water sports in 2002. It was during this time they purchased a Malibu boat from the Ski Shack and became a wakeboarding family. There was no one in their family more profoundly affected by their purchase than their son, Zach. He spent every summer since that time wakeboarding. It became his passion and in turn brought the family closer together.

"It [wakeboarding] became the defining nature of their family." Recalled Greg Mustain, owner of the Ski Shack and close Whittet family friend.

Zach began working for the Ski Shack, part time, several years after the boat purchase and made plans to attend college in Florida just so he could ride even more.

For most of us that work here at Malibu Boats or for one of the Malibu dealerships boating and water sports are a way of life. This is what we do day in a day out. We can begin to take for granted the fact that we sell fun and family togetherness. We can get wrapped up in our day-to-day lives and miss the fact that passion for these activities can have a large impact on a family.

Greg at the Ski Shack, e-mailed us to let us know, not only that the Whittet family dynamic was forever changed by the passion water sports ignited for them, but that they continued to find strength in that passion even after Zach's passing.

The Whittets lost Zach in a car crash in January. And even after the trauma of loosing a child, Zach's father took the time to console their friend Greg and let him know just how much his friendship and the boat he sold them meant to the Whittet family.

Check out this video: Zachs video

After Zach's death the family didn't think they would ever would be able to bring themselves to boat again. The memory of Zach and his passion for water sports was just too overwhelming. But for some reason they could not part with their Malibu. It was still the source of so many great memories and such a big part of their son's life.

Amazingly enough, the Whittets decided to purchase to a new Malibu boat. The impetus behind this decision is their 7-year-old daughter Natasha. The Whittets want her to share Zach's affinity for boating and water sports. The Ski Shack was so moved by this decision that they are selling the family this boat at cost and making the process an experience that is worthy of a tribute to Zach.

"I am just glad that they are going to remain in boating for their sake and especially for their 7-year old daughter, Natasha." Greg Mustain told us.

At a factory level, we are trying to do something special for the Whittets by creating a custom boat graphic for their boat as well as a production scrap book that chronicles the creation of their new boat. This book will be complete with photos of the employees at our Tennessee factory who are building the boat. They are all extreme anxious to show their support for the strength of this family. And we all hope that this boat gives them the strength they need to cope with their loss and continue to live a full and happy life.

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