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      The Nature Report: Family Boat Business

      If you see a boat heading out at sunrise on the Lower Laguna Madre, chances are pretty good it's a Shallow Sport, one of the most popular boats on the bay. Shallow Sport Boats come in 13 different models from a 15 foot Scooter to a 27 footer, but they all have one important thing in common, they are carefully handcrafted right here in the Rio Grande Valley. Wes Hudson oversees the family business in Bayview, and personally insures that each boat is built to perfection, just like his pioneering grandfather, who built his first fiberglass boat some 60 years ago, would have wanted.

      "One of the first 100% manufactured fiberglass boats probably anywhere in the world, so he kind of pioneered the whole industry. I had no question about what I wanted to do, I wanted to be part of the company and third generation," said Hudson. In the early 1980's Shallow Sport revolutionized the flat boat industry with its high tech quadra-hedrel double tunnel design, and the sturdy shallow running boats are prized all along the Gulf coast from the Valley to Florida. "I am going to guess about 2,500 Shallow Sports on the water, and the neatest thing is most of them are still fishing today." While Shallow Sport is experiencing steady growth in the boat building marketplace and has plans to expand further up the East Coast, the emphasis will remain on craftsmanship. "Our main goal here at Shallow Sport is to maintain quality over quantity. Some of our dealers want us to build more boats, but we don't want to lose any of the quality. We want the boats to last a lifetime."