Hydrocart History

A few posts back on this bulletin, I posted some info/pics on a hydrocart someone had. Another email was just r’cd on these unique lil’ raceboats, I thought I’d share along with some neat photos.

Hi Phil —
Thanks for taking the time and posting these jpegs . My father, Craig Bowman helped found the National Hyrokart Association in 1963. He was working in a friend’s fiberglass shop in El Monte, CA where the owner and his son were getting into boat building and racing. Since my dad was the lightest weight guy at the shop, he was recruited to be their driver. The attached photos were from a meet on Oct 6th, 1963 at Lake Ming in Bakersfield, CA where dad won the inboard division on a Dolphin hydrokart. The membership card was designed by my dad when they started the association earlier in the season. He was charging about $20 to register and join, which entitled you to a booklet of meets and rules & regs, etc. that was advertised in the back of a popular boating magazine at the time.

Letters began pouring in from all over, and he was even contacted by a man in Russia who was compiling a government-issued almanac on boat racing and very interested in the hydrokart phenomenon… At this point, my dad got a little nervous as he had accumulated $3-400 dollars of membership dues and wasn’t quite sure what to do next — it all happened very quickly.  Eventually it was funneled into proper usage for NHA activities and the rest is history, but I thought hydrokart enthusiats might enjoy this bit of history and vintage photos.

Eric Bowman


  1. Dear Sirs,
    My name is Louis A. Skuce of San Diego, CA, and I used to live in El Monte, CA from 1962 to 1965. My Dad, Nicholas Skuce, my brother, Nicholas A. Skuce Jr. (Digga), and my self
    were the founders of Dolphin Marine, later Dolphin Engineering and Research Co. True to the article above, Craig Bowman was recruited by my dad to drive my boat, (I was too young and inexperienced at the time); and yes, he won the first hydro kart race at Hansen Dam on May 5, 1963, as well as the U.S. – 1 Championship for single engine inboard karts that year. What a delight to see this bit of hydro kart history printed here in this publication. Thanks for posting it. Sincerely, Louis Skuce.

    1. Hi Louis — Thank you for confirming my dad’s role in your family business back in the early 60’s. I would love to talk to you sometime regarding those days and what you remember about my father, Craig. He is currently living in Mexico enjoying his retirement. Please contact me thru my web site http://www.ericbowman.com

      Thanks again,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *