This past March 9th to 13th in 2016, the Motorboat China Open was held in Dameisha, Shenzhen, China. Organized by the Chinese Motorboat Association (CMA), Culture and Sports Administration of Yantian District, Shenzhen Municipality, Shenzhen Xblueme Sports and Culture Development Co., Ltd., and Nanning Jetski Sport Culture Co., Ltd., in association with the Tianhaifeng Water Sports Club and Dameisha International Water Sports Center, this was the first of its kind, with organizers expecting more than 200 top riders from over 30 countries worldwide to participate in the event.
Held at Da Mei Sha Hai Bin Gong Yuan, one of the most popular beaches in China, the tourist destination is located about one and a half hours by car from the Shenzhen Airport. Marked by an impressively huge humanoid monument, Da Mei Sha Hai Bin Gong Yuan is located just across the road from the official host hotel making it an excellent location for the race. Nearby there is also an outlet shopping center, which has been very instrumental in growing the town in recent years. Although efforts were made to welcome a larger gathering of racers, only 12 classes hosted several dozen racers from across the globe.
Thankfully, many world-leading names were present to show their support for the event like Chris MacClugage, Phil Pope, Christian D’Agostin, Gyorgy Kasza, Brock Austin, Rick Sherker, Brandon Lawlor, and even IJSBA President Scott Frazier. Unfortunately, despite the star power present, bad weather plagued the race week. Rain and wind, and cold temperatures were interspersed with gusts of wind from time to time, event knocking the tents over. All of this played havoc with the starting position, as big swells broke on the beach.
Because of the rough seas and bad weather, the race did not proceed on schedule as officials needed to change the starting method three times: first, racers had to wait while idling, then change to starting with the signal from the official, to finally needing to stand beside their skis as usual, and await the signal of the flag. For the runabouts, a rolling start was divided into three rows, four in the first column, four in the second column – an irregular system for sure, of nine lined up in the third column.
The consistent changes, unfamiliar starting methods and inexperience of the course marshals made absolutely progress slow with each delayed start. Because of this, the delay of progression and bad weather, the number of laps of each the heat was reduced. Racers noted that the closed course was very large, with a back and the home straight so long that many worried that their engines would blow. Likewise, the limited fuel tank capacity of the GP class required a reduction down to seven laps.
In addition to the closed course and freestyle jet ski heats in the event, rubber dinghy competitions and flyboard competition was carried out, with a demonstration of the jet surf as well. In addition to the China Yamaha distributor, local camper and fast-growing drone industry company, DJI companies being on display in the paddock, hundreds of tourists came by bus to visit in light of the bad weather. The Chinese tourists were not deterred by the bad weather, watching the tournament from beneath umbrellas.
In fact, the novelty of the event brought local amateur photographers eager to capture the scene. Sadly, had weather permitted the event would have allowed for longer races, faster starts and better riding conditions. Many racers voiced dissatisfaction with the progress, but seeing that this was the first time that such an event had occurred in China, it was to be expected. And given the population of China, there is a possibility that the top riders will appear in the future. Organizers are looking to target Thailand’s King’s Cup, as both popular and government interest grows. The association is planning to continue holding more events, so it is expected to be improved little by little. Keep an eye out for the China in the future.