Australian boater John Hughes tells his story about reef fishing down under with Australia’s first manual shade top by SureShade


Australia boasts some of the best fishing in the world with hundreds of fish species to catch – from its famous barramundi to tuna and shark sport fishing.

John Hughes, an avid pleasure fisherman in Australia, was looking for a cost-effective shade system that would keep him protected from the hot Australian sun on his Haines Signature boat.

He discovered SureShade and became one of the first boaters to have the manual MTF shade system – and the first SureShade customer in Australia!

“The ONLY protection I need against the sun is SureShade.” – John Hughes, Nhulunbuy, Gove – Australia

SureShade recently interviewed John about his experience with SureShade, his new manual boat top shade system and how it has made fishing and boating in Australia even more pleasurable.

SureShade (SS): John, tell us about boating in Australia and what type of fishing you enjoy?

John Hughes (JH): My wife Glenn and I live in a very remote part of Australia; Nhulunbuy, Gove in Arnhem Land of the Northern Territory. It is tropical with wet and dry seasons, cyclones, crocodiles, snakes, water buffalo and best of all, the greatest fishing on the planet!

“The collective name for a group of barracudas is a battery. They are voracious, opportunistic predators relying on surprise and short bursts of speed (up to 28 mph (45 km/h) to overtake their prey. How’s the fangs on this little monster that
Glenn landed?” – JH
You can go to any of the creeks and rivers to get your fill of Barramundi and mud crab, or head out to the Arafura Sea, and get amongst all the coral reef fish or troll for sport fish – Sail, Marlin, Tuna, shark etc. The temperatures hang around 25 – 32 C [77 – 90 F], with the humidity so thick you can drink the air. We love it, and we love our Haines Signature 632F.
(SS): Sounds like it gets pretty hot while boating. And that’s why you decided you needed some better sun protection for your boat?
(JH): Yes. Although we had a hard top fitted, we were still exposed to the powerful gammas when reef fishing from the quarterdeck.


(SS): And how did you find out about SureShade?


(JH): Just by chance one day, I was surfing the web and looking at the Florida boat scene, when I caught a You Tube video of this shade awning that was powered driven to extend out to the stern of a cruiser. That’s what I wanted, but I needed a mechanical one due to our locality for an easier install. So, I sent off an enquiry to SureShade and this is what started it all.


(SS): So tell us a little bit about the process for purchasing a shade system from a supplier in the U.S. for a boat in Australia.
“We are very impressed with the new shade top. No flapping, even at 60 KPH, and dries off very rapidly.” – JH
(JH): It started with me sending photos of the boat, where I wanted to install it and of course the measurements. Now, I confess to not being an engineering type of person, but with a determination to have this on my boat and to show off a shade awning with no side poles to support it, I knew this would be an eye catcher up here. So with my wife holding the tape measure and being as accurate as possible, off went the details to SureShade. The manual version was still in development, and I think I was one of the first customers to see a drawing model to check out.
Despite different time zones and thousands of miles, they were able to work with me to customize the fit. For example, my hard top tapers off at the front, so the fittings were adjusted to compensate for this, as the telescopic tubes must be parallel. Meanwhile, as the final details were being worked out we selected the color of the Sunbrella fabric for the top.

(SS): And how did the installation process go thousands of miles away in Australia?

(JH): When it came time for installation, they worked with me to make sure that everything went smooth. Even a last minute change to get wider poles to install the sunshade on top of the hardtop (instead of under it) was accommodated. They made sure the final install on my boat went so they would have a satisfied customer on the other side of the planet. How about that?

(SS): Yes, a happy customer is our number one priority! And how have you been enjoying the sunshade system?

(JH): Well, since December we have been showing off our shade… it turned out even better than expected! The shade now covers for full extent of the quarterdeck, with no side poles to get in the way of the fishing rods. It’s just a simple little exercise of winding the handle for the telescopic poles, and Hey Presto – instant shade.

We boat around our favourite spots at speeds between 40 – 70 KPH [25 – 44 MPH], with no problems for the awning. Rain protection as well, as the natural slope of the awning allows the water to run off. When we get back in, I leave it extended (to show off to the other boaties), trailer it and go to the wash bay. Maybe it’s got something to do with the climate here, but the fabric dries so quick, that when I park it home, I can roll up the awning – it’s dry and no risk of mould.

(SS): Fantastic. And do you recommend the new manual shade by SureShade to other boaters?

(JH): To whoever may read this, I strongly recommend SureShade, so don’t hesitate, just do it. I have one last thing to add, and that is:

The ONLY protection I need against the sun is SureShade.

More barracuda facts from John Hughes:
Most “cuda” are caught while fishing for other more desirable species. They will hit a lure hard and offer a spectacular jumping fight, often destroying lighter lures with their impressive array of big dog like teeth. Most fish are released to fight another day, the larger specimens are suspected to carry the debilitating disease ciguatera which causes severe problems like vomiting, headaches, loss of sensation and fever.