More products offered for recreational PWC riders, motorcyclists
Walking through the Hydro-Turf factory offers an eye-opening look at the most well-known seat cover and traction mat producer in the personal watercraft market. Crates outside the Anaheim headquarters are full of Hydro-Turf’s material, waiting to be formed into seat covers and mats, while inside fewer than 30 employees are hard at work shaping foam and upholstering seat covers for their latest customers.
Arno Olbricht, president of Hydro-Turf, has managed to keep all manufacturing in the U.S. for his company, which serves as both an OEM supplier and an aftermarket player, while also growing the product line.
Customers have turned to Hydro-Turf for 25 years, as the company has become a household name on the PWC circuit. But as trends change, so has the company.
“We’re definitely moving away from a race-oriented (PWC) industry and continue to grow the recreational market, so we’re catering more toward that recreational rider and improving the appearance and products that are on the OEM watercraft,” Olbricht told Powersports Business during a factory visit.
While Hydro-Turf’s products still appeal to PWC racers, everyday PWC owners who are looking to personalize their watercraft or replace old, worn out seats or traction mats are turning to Hydro-Turf more frequently because of its reputation.
“The racer is looking for something that’s a little more aggressive. The recreational rider is looking for something to enhance the appearance of their watercraft, maybe differentiate it, customize it a little bit more on the stock ski,” Olbricht explained.
Hydro-Turf’s high-caliber product and craftsmanship are what have drawn in customers — and OEMs — for more than two decades.
“Our products fit well. They look good. They’re made with quality materials and quality workmanship, and we stand behind our products. And it’s been well received and very popular out there,” Olbricht said.
To appeal to everyone from those who want each panel a different, custom color, to those who just want a new Hydro-Turf seat to match their stock PWC color, Hydro-Turf offers more than two dozen options for its customers.
“Some people don’t have the vision to pick and choose the color for each panel on their seat, so they like to look at something and say, ‘Give me that seat.’ So that’s why we’ve expanded our line of stock colorways to make that choice easier for some of the customers,” Olbricht said. “It also makes it easier for the dealers to inventory those items as well.”
However, made-to-order seat covers are also available, allowing customers to choose the material and panel colors for their seats, as well as custom stitching and embroidery.
As Hydro-Turf has expanded its PWC brand, it has also reached into other segments of the powersports and marine industries as well.
“Hydro-Turf is still very active in the personal watercraft market, but we’ve expanded into several other markets, including standup paddleboarding and more boating traction, certainly HT Moto with our motorcycle covers and seat pads.”
HT Moto was launched several years ago, offering Hydro-Turf seat covers and tank pads for on- and off-road motorcycles, as well as ATVs and side-by-sides. The sport bike market has quickly grown to become a large part of HT Moto’s business.
“We’re doing really well in the sport bike market, especially sport bike freestyle, where we’re well known for customizing the seats,” Olbricht said. “We replace a majority of the foam in the seats. We do cutouts, buildups, and then make custom covers that are specifically for those applications. Riders like Jason Britton have been using our product for years and continue to stick with it.”
HT Moto already has patterns for a number of sport bikes, dirt bikes, ATVs and side-by-sides, but the company can also make custom covers as long as the staff has seat to measure a pattern for.
“We do a lot of older cruisers as well, older bikes that we have to custom make patterns for,” Olbricht said. “We can certainly do that, along with foam modifications, and we do buildups, shave downs, gel inserts. So it’s all possible, if we have the seat here.”