While the pebbled shores of Lake Havasu City’s Crazy Horse Resort were jam-packed with racers and spectators at the 33rd annual Jettribe IJSBA World Finals, on the other side of the island a group a few dozen thick were gathered around Site Six’s beach listening to Sea-Doo’s Tim McKercher. “This is one of my favorite ride,” McKercher preluded. “The 45-mile ride will take us past Lake Havasu and up the Colorado River.”
The fourth annual Sea-Doo Ultimate Owners Ride, the newly minted tradition kicked off early Saturday, October 11, 2014. Happening the same weekend as the largest single personal watercraft event in the world, the IJSBA World Finals, hosted in the self-proclaimed “PWC capital of the world” Lake Havasu City, Arizona, the one-day Sea-Doo Ultimate Owners Ride guides enthusiasts from across the country (and continent, for that matter) through some of the most scenic locations on the river.
Sure enough, entrees from the US and Canada began pouring in long before the first band snapped at the Finals. Travel plans were made, skis were prepped and fuel tanks filled in anticipation of yet another successful Ultimate Owners Ride. Participation was a meager $10 per watercraft (encouraging many to ride 2-up), with all of the proceeds going to support the Junior Stars PWC racing program.
Although a preliminary meet-and-greet was held at local Mudsharks Brewery the night before, Saturday morning saw the mooring cleats filled with a variety of Sea-Doos, from half a dozen Sparks, plenty of supercharged RXTs, RXPs, and GTXs, a pair of 3Ds (which we were personally excited seeing), and a sprinkling of brand-new 2015 models provided as eye-candy by the BRP crew. Even a Sea-Doo 210 jet-boat joined the party, and provided this author a fine platform to take pictures from.
Although this year’s attendance was slightly reduced from previous years (dwarfed by the reported 40-percent decline in attendance in this year’s IJSBA World Finals), the group was managed by the Sea-Doo crew, with plenty of riders acting as herding dogs along the ride, particularly as we made several stops along the route. From Site Six, we ventured out, south around the tip of the island to travel up through the famous Havasu Channel and London Bridge, but were unfortunately turned back by the Lucas Oil drag boats that were competing on the island’s south side.
Doubling back, we journeyed up the California-side of the lake towards the mouth of the river, passing the raucous cacophony of the World Finals on the island’s northern end. There, we stopped to regroup before heading up toward the Havasu Sandbar. Leaving as early as we did, temperatures remained cool and boat traffic was at a minimum. This encouraged quite a few to romp on the gas and kick up some spray before taking a short break.
From fully-equipped GTX Limiteds featuring BRP’s intelligent suspension soaking up the chop to entry-level 60-horsepower Sparks, the crowd gathering around the infamous sandbar were all smiles, stopping to exchange notes, compare craft and trade tales of misadventures on the water. The short recharge prepared the riders for a slow cruise through Topock Gorge. Idling through the shady canyon, the large group of skis filled the river wall-to-wall, passing pontoons, day-boats and thundering jet boats up the river.
Passing through the no wake zone and beneath the suspended pipelines, we were only a short distance from the Pirate Cove Resort. The thematic desert resort occupies a secluded corner of the river with a long low-speed vein of beach prior to opening up into the cove. It took a while, but the large group of Sea-Doo riders finally gathered together for some fun – including a Sea-Doo Trivia Challenge for BRP prizes and a provided lunch.
While some chose to linger a little longer in the comfort of the Pirate Cove, others made good use of the free time and shot out into the river as quickly as possible. By early afternoon, boaters had filled up the canyons and sandbars, with no shortage of high horsepower boats churning up the Colorado – giving plenty of shoulder-high rollers for riders to launch their Sea-Doos from. With the mercury rising, most returned to Site Six by 2 or 3pm.
But that wasn’t the end. McKercher invited all of the participants to return the following day to the giant Sea-Doo display at the World Finals to take in Sunday’s “pro show” of racing. With a big spread of piping hot pizzas, cold drinks, and shaded seating, many came back to watch the world’s best racers contend for top honors. Considering all of the planning, fun and adventure that Sea-Doo crammed into this weekend, if there’s another company that did more to give its customers a better lifestyle experience, we haven’t found them.