It was back in 1986 or 1987 that Rapido’s co founder, Paul Koch (who was owner of OSTAC Yachts at the time), met a young boiler maker in Australia, named Mark Toia. Mark was also “a multihull guy” racing with the Multihull Yacht Club of Queensland.
People around the Club said that Mark was a good photographer. The same people said that Paul should ask him to photograph OSTAC’s new Parallax 11 catamaran.
And so a deal was quickly brokered to engage the services of the budding photographer.
For the princely sum of AUD50, Mark scaled a navigation marker in Queensland’s Moreton Bay to shoot the Parallax 11.
One of his photos promptly sailed onto the cover of Australian Multihull World magazine.
Mark would claim subsequently, on several occasions, that this was his first ever paid photography job. (Mark was also known to have quipped, “Paul dropped me off on this little rock with bird shit while he sailed back and forth on his fancy yacht!”)
As for whether it was Mark’s first paid job, Paul is a little more circumspect, saying, “If it wasn’t his first, then it was certainly one of his first”.
Fast forward to 2016 and Paul was now building Rapidos in Vietnam. One day, he noticed a video on Facebook that Mark Toia had shot in Vietnam (see video below which is “probably” the same video).
Paul immediately contacted Mark to say “Well done, congratulations, blah, blah – and would you be interested in doing a video on the new Rapido 60?”
Mark laughed heartily and told Paul that he no longer charged $50 for his work. Paul retorted, “Well, we’re just a boat builder and we don’t have the same marketing budgets as those car manufacturers”.
With the banter done, Mark went into problem-solving mode: “I can bring a camera, myself and my son – and we can make a video while we sail away on the Rapido 60.”
They took off from Batam Island, Indonesia and Mark captured his footage. Soon after, the master craftsman had produced a stunning video on the Rapido 60 (see below) and, as promised, it was done on a boat builder’s shoestring budget.
Mark of course has enjoyed a stellar career working with the biggest brands in the world including Jeep, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Adidas, BMG and Sony Music.
In 2020, he even self-funded the sci fi action movie, Monsters of Man. His aim was to “deliver studio blockbuster quality at a fraction of a budget of the most high-gloss cinematic films”.
Just two years ago, Rapido (not Paul) had cause to contact Mark. Mark seemed pleased to hear from us and almost immediately said, “Did you know that Paul was the first person to give me a paid photography job? $50 is what he paid me.”
As Mark scaled his cinematic heights, he never forgot the day he climbed the navigation marker in Moreton Bay.
Paul and Rapido were very saddened to learn of the passing of Mark Toia on 23 October 2023.
We send our sincere condolences to his family and friends.