What do you get when you combine sprint boat racing and jet ski racing? Adrenaline and good times if it’s anything like our experience recently at the Extreme Sports Park in Port Angeles, Washington. When Dan Lindgren published a last minute post looking for racers to attend a practice session at the track and race in between the boat heats, we couldn’t pass it up.
Evidently, Dan had met the owners of the track, Dan and Kelly Morrison at a City Council Meeting and suggested that it might be fun to race jet skis around the track during intermission periods at their events. The ridiculously fast sprint boats and great venue they have built typically attract between 5,000 and 10,000 spectators per event.
We arrived at the track just in time to witness the first wreck of the season. The boat rolled completely over twice and landed right side up. The “island hoppers” arrived quickly to the aid of the two-person crew. Many of the island hoppers are EMT trained and work in the EMS/firefighting field. There was also an ambulance on site just in case. There were no injuries and the boat was walked back to the boat launch (one of the crewmembers later referred to it as “the walk of shame”).
The channels they race in are approximately 14-feet wide and 2-to-4 feet deep. After a couple more heats, we suited up and launched our skis. It’s a little different racing around buoys than racing through narrow man-made channels. It wasn’t long before we misjudged a turn and found ourselves in the middle of an island completely beached. The island hoppers were very helpful returning our ski to the water and commented that it was a little lighter than the boats they were used to moving.
Dan and Kelly and all the racers and crew were very excited to have us and invited us back to be part of their next event! We will likely run some timed trials around a designated course between Sprint boat heats and score up the heats at the end of the day for placement. Details will be posted on the Extreme Sports Park Jet Ski Races facebook event page. The next race will be July 25th at the ESP track in Port Angeles, WA, so mark your calendars and if you cannot make it to watch in person, there will be live video streaming all day.
Additional text provided by Dan Lindgren