This is my first post on this site, but I've been around da mud motor scene for da past three years or so. When it was just Go-Devil and Mud Buddy things where calm, and most outboard users thought the long-tails where too hard to drive, too slow, and cost too much for a lawn mower engine on a steel frame. I'm not going to argue any of that, but at least two of the three are true to me (and I had one).
NOW......With the introduction of the short-tails things have gotten interesting. The first to develop a short-tail almost 9 years ago (yes 9) was a guy named Brian Provost in Laurelville, LA. His short-tail would later be known as a Pro-Drive. The extremely weird thing was the second to develop one was a college student named Kyle Brausard, also of Laurelville, LA. He was going to school to be an engineer and the motor was actually his engineer project. This was done about 4-5 years ago if I'm not mistaken. His motor would be named Gator-Tail.
Here's where things got very interesting.
About two years ago Mud Buddy entered the short-tail market. The "Smoke and Mirrors" behind this was...... Mud Buddy claimed they had been testing their short-tail for 5 years, but no one had ever seen nor heard of this in the past. In many people's opinions (including mine) they rushed their first try (balanced hyper) to market because they knew they were going to begin loosing their tails. Some of which made bold proclamations that MB would have lots of problems because they didn't do near the R&D they had said they did. Mud Buddy touted they where leading the way into the future with their version of the short-tail with their longer drive shaft and balanced drive system that didn't need neutral. This was somewhat correct; the balanced drive didn't need neutral. Problem was the drive shaft was too long for easy steering, and the balanced drive wouldn't let the prop dig into the thick stuff. One conversation I had with Kyle of GT, he told me "Mud Buddy rushed their product to market, wait till next year they will change to a shorter drive shaft, move the weight back, and add a neutral." Sure enough, dat dude knew what he was talk'n bout.
Not to mention Mud Buddy had quit a few problems with their actuators on their electric tilt/trim which some blamed on their vendor, and others blamed on their rush to market.
Now to Go-Devil. Mr. Coco (dat man deserves all our respect) at first said he would not get into the short-tail market because demand on the long-tail was still there. After everyone realized the short-tails handled better, ran faster, carried a load better, and had better options Mr. Coco decided to get into the short-tail market. He started making prototypes last spring, and continued the R&D throughout the rest of 04'. His "Surface Drive" has recently been released and is one heck of a machine.
I must also mention......I'm the VERY proud owner of a Pro-Drive boat/motor combo. I've put 45 hours on it since April 15th of this year. I've also been to a few "Mud Fest" this year and can say most all these motors are completely awesome. There is one however I wouldn't own if someone gave it to me (I'd sell it though
), simply because I
feel they are very unethical. All in all.... They all get the job done, some maybe a little better than others, but that's why you need to run em and figure out which one suits you best.