IJSBA’s New Preliminary World Finals Safety & Mitigation Measures


There’s no sugar-coating it, kids. For the most part, PWC racing has taken a massive hit this year. From local and regional events, to even the National Tour, racers have been hamstrung by states’ responses to the COVID-19 panic. Promoters desperate to maintain their events are working closely with local officials to abide by any rule and restriction that will permit the event to carry on.

In no small part has the IJSBA worked closely with the authorities at Lake Havasu City, AZ to preserve the annual event. Here is the latest announcement from the IJSBA pertaining to this October’s IJSBA World Finals:

Greetings to the Personal Watercraft Racing Community. As you may have read, on the first business day of Summer, 2020, IJSBA signed a historic agreement with authorities in Lake Havasu City providing for the World Finals to be based in Lake Havasu City for the next ten years- with a goal of the event being there indefinitely. This agreement was something that IJSBA had been working on for more than two years and the announcement was intended to start big momentum for racing this Summer. Unfortunately, the Summer has also seen devastating results from the COVID 19 pandemic that had places severe obstacles in the way of our Sport. This bulletin is the first release of IJSBA’s plans to operate the world’s largest watercraft event under the conditions we face this year.

Several parties worked tirelessly to come together and create an agreement to ensure World Finals stayed in Lake Havasu City. One of the key principals in turning the contract into a reality was Terence Concannon, the President of Go Lake Havasu. His experience in tourism and recreation was instrumental in creating the opportunities for several key provisions in the agreement. Mr. Concannon’s support for Personal Watercraft Racing, and IJSBA’s contributions to the economy of Lake Havasu City were noticeable all through the negotiations. He, along with Mayor Cal Sheehy, are also committed to the safety and well being of Lake Havasu City residents, as well as visitors. Therefore, in keeping with their goals and ensuring that the competition community enjoys the safest possible opportunities, IJSBA is now announcing these minimum standards and expectations for the 2020 World Finals.

World Finals Minimum Precautions
In order to prevent the potential introduction of COVID-19, IJSBA is making changes and implementing restrictions in relation to the normal operation of World Finals. This list is the start of our process to design the mitigation measures. These announcements should be considered the very basic of what to expect at all times during the event.

  1. Registration and Sign In will be extended by an additional day. Initial practice is expected to be pushed to Tuesday, with registration to take place Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. This extra day will allow for more distancing and less intermingling of participants and crew.
  2. The riders’ briefing, normally held on Sunday night will now take place on Monday afternoon, at the race site.
  3. Volunteer medical professionals will be at the entrance to the pits. Temperature controls will be in place. Random screenings are to be expected.
  4. There will be one grandstand. Volunteer medical professionals will be stationed next to the grandstand. Grandstand entry will require a daily temperature check. Persons who receive the temperature check will receive specific colored wristband for the day. No person will be admitted to the grandstand who does not have the correct colored wristband.
  5. VIP area, as well as the area where the second grandstand normally sat, will be turned into lawn chair seating in both reserved sections as well as a “first come first served” section. Distancing will be required between lawn chair placements with only members of the same household, or similar regular contact, will be allowed to place lawn chairs in a close proximity pod arrangement.
  6. VIP hospitality will be a daily snack and gift along with a reserved observation area. Buffet food will be suspended for 2020.
  7. Award ceremonies will not take place on Friday and Sunday nights. Instead, awards will be given daily on the beach with proper distancing.
  8. Food service providers will be required to maintain enhanced precautionary measures during the event including facemasks, gloves, and regular sanitizing. This will be the case irrespective even if local and/or state laws no longer require the use of such measures at the time of the event.
  9. Vendor placement will be staggered, in the trade show portion of the event, to allow for regular distancing. All vendors must employ daily sanitization measures.
  10. Hand washing stations will be present throughout the event.
  11. Persons not complying with mitigation measures will be removed from the event without exception.
  12. Technical and safety inspections will be staggered in a larger area to allow for distancing to be maintained.

What you can expect at the 2020 World Finals
IJSBA is preparing a plan that relies, primarily, on federal, state, and local guidelines and requirements. As these rules are constantly evolving, so too will our plan evolve. What is being reported here are the minimum precautions IJSBA will be taking to ensure that we deliver you the best possible World Championship. Make no mistake, amenities will likely be cut in order to prepare for producing the event under difficult financial conditions. Do not expect the same World Finals you normally see. Do expect great racing, the world’s best staff, and the push to return back to normal, next year, for our 40th Anniversary event.

IJSBA is charged with the obligation to ensure that Personal Watercraft Racing is maintained as a constant, sustainable, and prestigious sport. This obligation extends to competitors, the support industries, the numerous tradespersons who make their living in the watercraft business, the fans, event organizers, International Affiliates, and the OEM Manufacturers which govern IJSBA. The lead agency of nearly every major sport, around the world, has either started back up or has announced their intentions to operate, this year, under restrictive conditions. IJSBA believes it is in the best interest of the PWC community to hold the 2020 World Finals and to continue to demonstrate the resilience of the sport and to maintain the confidence of all participants that PWC racing will persevere even in the most complicated times. The PWC Racing sport, and PWC performance industry, are no less significant than any of the other sports and industries that are making a commitment to carry on this year. We will get this done, and get it done correctly, so that our special 40th celebration, in 2021, is everything it should be.

This week, IJSBA will be contacting immigration officials in the USA, as well as other countries, to prepare the proper environment for attendees to obtain travel permission. We will have more announcements on the subject of mitigation measures at World Finals as things develop from planning to implementation. We will also have announcements of more fun and exciting things that have to do with PWC Racing, too.

For questions or comments about this bulletin, please email info@Ijsba.com.

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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  1. Avatar
    live free 21 July, 2020 at 07:40 Reply

    Amazing How much we’ve allowed fear to rule our lives .
    last I checked on , no one gets out of here alive .
    Life is inherently dangerous .
    Its not a matter of if but when Covid19 gets you .
    So you can cower in fear of whats coming or face life head on
    and live .
    Your choices mostly seem to decide your fate , obese ,unhealthy lifestyle
    and unfortunately old age .
    Death is life and life is death .
    Its what you do in-between is how your life is measured

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