“This has got to be the first time I’ve seen you riding without a camera in your hand,” joked Tyler Hunt, a Parts Specialist at America’s Motor Sports. A bespectacled, bearded bear of a man, Tyler spearheaded much of America’s Motor Sports’ effort to host a Sea-Doo Day on Old Hickory Lake, TN. Working through the dealers social media channels and of course, in partnership with The Watercraft Journal, the event culled nearly 20 riders for the afternoon ride last Saturday, October 6th.
Typically, I try to steer clear of riding anywhere on the weekends (primarily due to traffic and the general proclivity of boaters to drink while on the water), and Old Hickory Lake has a bad tendency of churning into a broiling whitewash of chop anytime after lunch. Nevertheless, I, joined with my two oldest daughters, boarded our 2018 Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 equipped with a Linq-mounted cooler stocked with water, sports drinks and a few candy bars, and joined the throng.
Departing Sander’s Ferry Park is a breeze. The ramp can easily accommodate six trucks simultaneously, and while the piers might need a good pressure washing (we have a lot of geese), they’re in good shape and the cleats, pylons and other hardware are well maintained. Most gathered around swapping stories, comparing their models one with another, and pawing over the only current ST3-based model present, ours. While we distributed free WCJ decals to the crowd, a handful looked over the machine, it’s BRP Premium Sound System, central storage compartment and rear-mounted cooler.
Although coined as a “Sea-Doo Day,” America’s Motor Sports’ team made a strong effort to make sure everybody (even those aboard Yamahas and other machines) felt included. Today wasn’t about exclusion. All were welcome. The route was simple; a eastward route up the serpentining river from Hendersonville to Awedaddy’s Bar & Grille in Gallatin, Tennessee. Driving out into the channel, the conditions were already less than ideal, but trimming the big RXT-X’s nose skyward softened the rolling chop’s hammering against the ST3 hull. The added weight of two passengers, a packed cooler and full 15.8-gallons of fuel, helped soak up a bit of the chatter as well.
As the surface smoothed, I trimmed the bow back down to neutral, letting the nose bite a tad. This gave us a chance to veer from the caravan and swerve between the many islands dotting the lake’s northern shore stretched with farmland and undisturbed riverfront. The knife-edged RIVA Racing Pro-Series Sponsons slipped silently keeping the 300-horsepower Sea-Doo’s tail firmly planted as I pushed the ski hard into corners enjoying the gleeful screams and cheers from my passengers clinging to my Slippery life vest. This, I mused, is what it’s all about.
Heading the procession was Middle Tennessee PWC Club’s vice-president Odie Teague. Despite piloting a bright green Yamaha FX Cruiser HO, Tyler had designated him the leader for us to follow. Passing the inlet towards Boxwell Reservation, we veered north towards Lock 4 Park and above. Awedaddy’s is perched on the side of hill, a restaurant broken into multiple levels of patios and indoor dining. We sat outside in the shade of the bar’s pavilion with large shop fans blowing a welcomed breeze. There, Tyler and Candace Isom distributed raffle tickets and read off the numbers, dolling out prizes to the winners.
The wind rustling the early-October leaves only spelled for more wind-blown conditions out on the water, so we and a small group of Yamaha riders lead by local Kerry Hibdon finished lunch, paid the tab and loaded up for the ride back. Urged by Kerry to show them “the fun way” back, we sped through coves, around tree-topped islands and alongside cliff faces only stopping twice to regroup and tear off again. While Kerry and crew needed to head back as soon as possible, we still had some extra fuel left in the tank so we broke away to enjoy some unbroken glass up Drake’s Creek.
The detour didn’t last long as when we returned to Sander’s Ferry, the whole gathering were busily loading up and cleaning their skis. It was late-afternoon by the time we had the Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 loaded on the trailer, and many were either ready to head home to put their feet up, or grab dinner, so the group dispersed quickly. Before leaving himself, Tyler told me, “Thank you to everyone who came out to our first ride. It was a blast I hope everyone had just as much fun as we did. Thank you again. We here at America’s Motor Sports look forward to seeing everyone at our spring ride.”
Additionally photography provided by America’s Motor Sports