Steve Stepp, owner and president of Initial Marine Corp. in Sanford, Fl., was the first to design the pad bottom and Stepp (or Notched Transom) for offshore boats in 1978.
Velocity powerboats have a reputation for being fast slippery - fast. That makes sense given the powerboat-racing background of the man involved.
Stepp got a taste for speed on the water in his first boat, a 14’ Speedliner with a Scott Atwater outboard, when he was 14. The Stepps lived in South Point, Ohio, and the family belonged to a boat club oh the Ohio River. Steve watched the fellow club member Milt Freeman race-test his 14’ Crosby, and he started to crew for Freeman at the races.
At age 18, fresh out of high school in the summer of 1962, Stepp started racing his own Crosby. At the same time, he and partner Jim Lester bought a boat dealership on the Ohio River called Mercury Marine. Stepp worked in construction during the day and at the marine business at night.
Racing in the National Outboard Association in Knoxville, Tn., in the mid-to-late 1960’s, Stepp ran Glastrons, Critchfield tunnels and Allison Craft runabouts. He quickly developed a solid reputation.
Stepp continued to race through the mid-1970’s, but there was one small problem with South Point-winters were brutal. He wanted to boat year round, so in 1976 he bought a house in Pompano, Fl. By July of the following year, he sold the dealership in South Point and moved to Pompano. He bought boats, refurbishing and selling them.
Then, like so many entrepreneurs, he decided he could build a better product than he was peddling. He built a 30-footer that borrowed some of the best design elements from the OPC boast he had raced, namely a pad bottom and notched transom. He built the first one out of wood.
As he continued to build boats, word got out, and a pair of racers, Gene Whipp and Mike Poppa, told Stepp they wanted to buy five bare hulls. Whipp then decided to buy a marina in Florida and start rigging Velocitys' for Stepp. Whipp found the marina, and the two seemed on their way.
Although the business partnership never took off, Whipp and Stepp became fast friends and started racing together. Whipp and his wife Chris are the godparents of Stepp’s daughter, Amada. In 1981, Stepp, Whipp and the 30’ Velocity made history as the first offshore V-bottom to break 100 mph in the annual kilo trials at Sarasota, Fl.
Later that year, Stepp built what would become on of his most famous and enduring race boat, the 40-footer, BIG RED, which he raced with Whipp. They traded driving and throttling chores.
Today the company builds 80 boats per year in their 20 000 square foot factory, that accounts for $4 Million to $5 million in annual sales.