A Christmas get-together, a time for the family… that is how the idea for Piranha Propellers began in 1988. Two half-brothers, Brad Stahl and Eric Jochim, sat around talking about boating, waterskiing, and fishing. Each had an engineering background in a different field.
Stahl was a 1984 graduate of Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in aeronautical engineering and Jochim was a 1971 graduate of Oregon State University in civil engineering.
Jochim complained about the cost and inconvenience of damaged propellers. Stahl wondered about the possible applications for an incredible new composite he had found. “What can we build out of this new material that will allow someone to repair his propeller in just a matter of minutes for less cost?” Neither realized this was the start of a project that would revolutionize the recreational-boat propeller market.
Stahl, founder of BCSI – an aeronautical consulting firm – had the first design completed by February 1989, and soon the name Piranha was chosen and the distinctive logo was designed. By April 1989, the first molds were built. Then the hundreds of hours of testing and modifications started, followed by the many nights of indecision.
In late 1989, everything finally worked and the pair obtained a booth at the Cow Palace for the San Francisco Boat Show to see what the public thought of the new invention.
The response was overwhelming. it seemed that everyone had a horror story to share about damaging propellers, and they all loved the idea of being able to change each blade separately, and do it themselves in just a few minutes.
In June 1990, the two were issued U.S. patent #4,930,987. They continued to make refinements and realized the world’s first modular composite propeller was on its way.
At the Chicago IMTEC 1990 – the industry’s big trade show for boats and accessories – the response again was great. Piranha was one of the top five innovative products of the year.
Now, Piranha Propellers has a complete line of props for sterndrives, outboards, and inboard-outboards ranging from 9.9 to well over 280 horsepower.