With performance forums devoted to every brand of PWC on the market and a vast and surprisingly knowledgeable list of active members, the once obscure Web site greenhulk.net has fast become one of the go-to sites on the Internet.
Enthusiasts are well aware of the site. Dealers, however, also should bookmark its pages, which include everything from performance mod discussions to late-breaking technical issues and fixes for the newest PWC.
We recently caught up with Green Hulk’s creator, Jerry Gaddis, to learn a little more about the site many consider to be one of the most valuable PWC resources available.
A Hulk Is Born
Like many Internet success stories, Green Hulk had modest beginnings. It started when Gaddis purchased a Sea-Doo RXP 215. Nicknamed the “Green Hulk” by his children for its vibrant color scheme, the boat soon became the subject of many performance mods, mods that Gaddis discussed on the Internet under the handle Green Hulk.
With little initially available for the boat, Gaddis, a skilled tuner, fabricated a number of parts on his own. He posted the information on various forums and began swapping ideas with other performance junkies. Soon, the give and take took on a life of its own. “That brought on many requests for pictures of what I was doing via e-mail, which became overwhelming,” recalled Gaddis.
A friend, Mike Trinastich, offered to build him a blog Web site where he could post pictures and share the information on what he was doing to the craft. “The crazy thing was that the blog brought on even more e-mails from people with questions, and e-mails from others that just wanted to share and discuss ideas. This gave me the idea to open my own forum where everyone could share ideas openly.”
Ultimately, that simple blog became Greenhulk.net. Initially a forum targeted solely at Sea-Doo performance, soon requests from owners prompted Gaddis to include a Yamaha section. Ultimately, forums were added for all the major manufacturers, even jet boats.
And like Dr. Bruce Banner and those gamma rays, the result got surprisingly large.
To call the growth of Greenhulk.net explosive might just be selling it short. Green Hulk currently has 9,600 registered members, of which 8,300 are active. According to Gaddis, it’s currently growing by about 1,000 members per month. Add to that number the countless lurkers who peruse the site, visitors who take in the knowledge anonymously, yet never register, and you have a powerful industry presence. The site is currently seeing 3,000 unique visitors every day, a number that is only expected to expand as summer — and a new riding season — draws near.
It’s a tool that has proven not only beneficial for the end user, but also for both dealer and manufacturer.
“There are many advantages to using greenhulk.net from a dealership point of view,” said Steve Friebe, the shop foreman at Clawson Motorsports, Fresno, Calif.
“The members push the envelope on performance. Some of them too far, but the knowledge gained was on their dollar and most all the members are great with sharing just what went wrong and how to avoid it.
“The old saying that two heads are better than one is taken to an extreme level. With the large number of members, someone has probably had a particular problem before and can help you with it. As a dealer we have tech support through the manufacturers, but if the unit is anything but stock, we are basically on our own if there are issues with it.”
Gaddis said he “was surprised to learn that even the manufacturers browse the site from time to time.
“They get valuable input on their products from consumers and learn how their watercraft is holding up in the field,” he said. “Dealers and watercraft manufactures both stand to learn a lot on the site by listening to what the consumers have to say about their products.”
Examples? Last year, questions were numerous on Kawasaki’s potent new Ultra 250X. But in many cases, the boats were simply too new for dealers to even be aware of potential issues, much less their severity. The wide reach of Green Hulk, however, enabled those common issues to become rapidly apparent, as well as enabled dealers and owners to learn of the suggested solutions.
“We have many members that actively participate in the forum, and if they have a problem with their ski, they post about it,” Gaddis said. “Many times we see several people having the same technical problems discussing matters and working out solutions to overcome their issues. If you ever had a problem with your ski and you have no clue what’s going on with it, you could simply log in, post your issue and usually within minutes, you will have an answer from a knowledgeable member.
“The same is to be said about making your ski faster. If you need advice on modifications and what can be done to soup up your ski, Greenhulk.net is the perfect resource.”
Beyond The Blog
Obviously, greenhulk.net has now gone far beyond a blog. Gaddis still plays an active part in the forums, but now has the welcome assistance of moderators to keep things running smoothly. “These guys are a great bunch of people who share the same passion for the hobby that I do,” he noted. “They are all extremely knowledgeable about PWC and are very helpful to the newer members of the forum.
“I do give a lot of personal technical advice through private messages on the forum and
e-mail, but the forum itself is an encyclopedia of information that can be accessed through the Search feature. Anything you want to know about problems, solutions and the latest high-performance parts can be found on the forum.”
As to the future, Gaddis has already opened a sales site for his own performance parts line, found at 4-tecperformance.com. This e-commerce site is a place where forum members can shop for performance products and receive a discount off the listed retail prices.
“I honestly had no idea the site would have grown to what it has become today,” he said. “It’s truly amazing at what it’s become.
“I can’t take all the credit for the success of the forum, as it’s the active participating members that make the site what it is.” psb