It’s no surprise that many jet skiers take a shine to motocross to keep sharp and in shape. But did you know that the street went both ways? There’s quite a few professional MX riders who take to the water to hone their skills, and a few years ago, MotorcycleUSA met up with Tyla Rattray and Dean Wilson aboard their Kawasaki JetSkis.
Meeting up in San Diego, California’s Fiesta Island, joining Lucas Oils’ AMA Pro Motocross racers Rattray and Wilson was eight-time IJSBA World Champion Victor Sheldon. According to MotorcycleUSA, “The pair of ultra-fast 250-class racers ride for the Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki team aboard highly-tuned KX250Fs. After spending a few hours sliding, splashing and crashing in the cool, blue water of the Pacific Ocean, we discovered just how comparable the two sports are.”
Riding a pair of 800cc SX-Rs, the 781cc twin-cylinder plant pumps out around 80 horsepower, not too far from the early bikes these riders grew up on. “They’re a blast to ride,” says Wilson, “Obviously I’m not too used to it as this is only my second time Jet Skiing. But the more I ride the more fun it is because I’m getting better. I’m learning every time I get on it. The way it turns and reacts is a lot like a dirt bike. Right now I’m kind of winging it, but there does feel like there are some similarities between sports.”
“The sports are quite similar,” stated Sheldon. “You’re bending your legs and using your upper body strength. The stance is kind of similar – you’re crouched down and squatting. I think it’s one of the closet sports between one and another. It’s really good cross-training aid for moto guys because it’s safe and you don’t have to be as focused as you would be on a dirt bike. You can ride a little bit looser because you don’t have to worry as much about getting hurt.”
“Mentally it’s the same,” continues Sheldon. “The physical prep is also quite similar because both sports take strength and endurance. Sure you use a little bit different muscles, but they’re really comparable.”
“I really enjoy riding these things,” adds Rattray. “I don’t know about racing them as I’m not fast enough to ride at a top level yet [laughs]. But to come here and ride Jet Skis with my buddies is a lot of fun. I want to do it a lot more this summer—it’s really awesome. I gave them a try for the first time last year and this year so far I’ve been riding a lot. For me it’s a good way to get some exercise and have some fun away from the track.”