Go behind the scenes at Orlando-area Malibu and Axis dealer Liquid Sports Marine with owner Mark Watts.
Liquid Sports Marine
8650 East Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32817-3916
When did you start your business? Liquid Sports Marine opened its doors in Orlando in October 1996.
Do you consider the location of your shop a key factor to the business’s success? Our location at the major intersection of 417 and Hwy 50 is a contributing factor to our success, however a prominent online presence is just as important today. We consider liquidsportsmarine.com and facebook.com/liquidsportsfl our second location.
What boat is selling best these days? As the authorized Malibu Boat and Axis Boats dealer for Central Florida, we focus on the inboard market. The Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV is our biggest seller due to the sharp rise in wakesurfing. Used boats are a huge seller right now with our consignment program being a big hit. We have a waiting list for many models of used boats right now.
Where do you see your shop in 5-10 years from now? We will continue to specialize in our niche of wakeboard boats and wakesurf boats. Team Liquid lives and breathes the lifestyle.
Who is your average buyer? Our average customer is an activity-based family, however we range from the college kid buying his first wakeboard boat to the professional athlete training for tournaments. We sell to people with an active lifestyle who have a passion for all the things you can do on the water.
What is the dumbest question a customer has ever asked? Looking at the tower: “Where do the fishing rod holders go?”
What is the craziest return a customer has ever tried to make? Used spark plugs. Enough said.
Does your store support any local athletes or have a team? Yes. Being in Orlando, the center of everything wakeboarding and wakesurfing, we are the boat dealer to the pros. Our Malibu and Axis team, which consists of riders Chad Sharpe, Brian Grubb, Dallas Friday, Phillip Soven, Sean O’Brien, Kevin Henshaw, and Keith Lyman, is an integral part of Team Liquid.
How many days a week do you ride now compared to before you owned a shop? I live 5 minutes from the shop, so I’m still able to ride 5 days a week. My secret: Early-morning sets.
Who is your favorite wakeboarder or wakeskater and why? Obviously my Team Malibu and Team Axis riders are who I always root for. Team Liquid Sports supports them any way we can.
Tell us one of the craziest shop stories you can remember? A young man in his early 20s came into the shop looking at boats. About 3 hours later, a woman in her mid 50s came in with the same last name to look at the same boat. Our sales person said “Oh yes, your son was in earlier.” She said, “That was my husband.” Lesson learned — don’t assume.
How many woe stories per day do you hear from riders? Which was the best you’ve heard? Most of the stories have to do with too much travel — contests in Australia, New Zealand, and Costa Rica. Yeah, you’re breaking my heart.
Does your store carry any products that make it unique to other wake shops in your area? We focus on beginning to intermediate riders, which is is evident in our Windermere Wake Camp. We love to introduce new people to the sport.