Paul Fiore, the founder of Hustler Powerboats and later joined his son at Outerlimits Powerboats, passed away Tuesday after a sudden illness, the boatbuilder announced. He was 76.

Fiore ushered in the stepped V-bottom hull in performance boating in the mid-1980s, resulting in faster speeds and improved handling. Major boatbuilders soon followed Hustler Powerboats by revamping its hulls to eliminate chine walk and porpoising.

Fiore sold Hustler Powerboats in 1993 and soon after went to work for his son Mike, who had founded Outerlimits Powerboats in Rhode Island. Tragedy struck the Fiore family when Fiore’s 44-year-old son MIke died in 2014 in a boat accident at Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri.

Father and son Paul and Mike Fiore in an undated photo.

After his son’s passing, the senior Fiore continued to consult with Outerlimits Powerboats but was essentially retired from the boating industry. Dan Fleitz, sales manager for Outerlimits, said Fiore always made himself available any time the company had questions. Fiore’s sister, Donna, works at Outerlimits.

Fiore had been dealing with an unspecified illness for about a month. The company did not disclose the cause of death.

“Paul was a living legend in high performance boating. He had a one of a kind personality but was truly humble,” Outerlimits Powerboats wrote in a Facebook post. “Paul was an instrumental part of Outerlimits when he came to join his son Michael in 2000. Paul was a visionary and an innovator. He loved nothing more than to make an Outerlimits go fast. He has left his mark in so many positive ways in the industry.”

Fiore is survived by his wife, Diane, and daughter, Donna; four grandchildren Nicole, Sophia, Jet and Moxie. He’s also survived by his ex-wife Joyce, mother to Mike and Donna.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, December 7, 2019 at the Outerlimits Powerboats factory, 3 Minturn Farm Road, Bristol, Rhode Island. The event starts at 2 pm and all are welcome to remember Paul Fiore.