Canvas shops around the country have seen an increase in demand for tension shades versus fixed-frame structures such as biminis. Boat owners like sun protection with less obstructive framing and the modern look of shade sails.
Fabricators who have been installing tension shades are already looking at where the market is heading and where the next breakthrough could be.
“Motorizing an overhead shade is trending in new-boat construction,” says Mike Erickson, owner of Canvas Designers® Inc. in Riviera Beach, Fla. “As economy of scale takes hold, these shades will continue to become less expensive and even more popular.”
Katie Bradford, owner of Custom Marine Canvas in Noank, Conn., has hopes for a stretchy fabric.
“There’s a company selling shades made out of fabric that stretches so they can get a tight fit, but it doesn’t hold up in the sun,” she says. “Something stretchy that still has UV resistance would be pretty cool.”
“The next breakthrough for shades has been prototyped. We have been working on shades installed directly on GEMLUX® outriggers,” says Kevin Stancil, owner of KTM Custom Marine Canvas in Bradenton, Fla. “This would allow a much easier application that could be used universally on just about any boat using that name-brand outrigger.”
It was introduced at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in November.
“Yacht manufacturer Yellowfin [also of Bradenton] brought it to us and we helped them on the fabric-design side. We built three to begin. One was for the Yellowfin owner and two were for their customers.”
Providing tension shades primarily for mega yachts, Amy Poe, owner of Wyckam in Portland, Ore., says she is “playing with some ideas for simple, standardized solutions so each shade does not have to be so customized.”