This super bowl Sunday, at just about the time my east coast brothers started placing a batch of Rubin’s famous chicken wings on the bbq; my racer friend Paul Pham and I started burning through a full tank of 91 octane, on the left coast. We like to call it training!
Paul’s training Kawasaki.
Over the years people come and go in our lives but, some of the nicest people in the world that I’ve met all seem to be boaters of some type or other. Some cruise, some race, and some do both but, all seem to have discovered the secret that life is not just a journey to the grave.
Quoting the WOW, what a ride quote:
“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming – WOW, WHAT A RIDE!”
Remember a slogan in the late 60’s; you meet the nicest people on a Honda (Honda’s ad campaign against outlaw bikers). Unforunately, Honda after a few short years opted out of the watercraft market and so today the sole survivors are the top three (Seadoo, Kawasaki, Yamaha).
I asked Paul how long ago he started riding. He said right here, 15 years ago at the Cabrillo launch ramp. He met up with John Belton and Kim Bushong – two other racers that played a huge role in my pwc days. Paul said he was riding a Yamaha and John and Kim were each on Kawasaki 15F’s. Years later, at the same launch ramp I run into this trip with Catalina Island as the riding destination.
As a brand new offshore rider I remember doing my best to try to keep up. The broadside swells and waves that day seemed to me as a type of enigma code for me to decipher. I thought that if I tried zigging and zagging my way to the island with the swells and waves, I would prevail. Not so on a watercraft.
At some point crossing the San Pedro channel my brand new 2007 Seadoo GTX Ltd suddenly dropped down from midair, my handle bars now pointing at a 45 degree angle to the direction I faced. Up, over and in the ocean water I flew. Ohhhhh shhhhhhhhhit! Hey, not so bad I thought, at least it’s not concrete. While in the water and contemplating the rather far swim from my location to my Seadoo I suddenly look up and see Paul.
He quickly scolds me, as a coach would a student, “you need to go straight, no matter what, no more zigzagging.” His English is much better today, back then while in the water I initially had no idea what he was saying. Then off he rode, to join the others, leaving me, now swimming with all my might to reach my ski. Thoughts of large swimming fish below provided the motivation.
In a few short weeks (Saturday, February 28, 2015) Paul Pham will be one of many competing in the Eleventh Annual “World’s Longest Continuous PWC Race, in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Today, it was not only good riding with him but, also playing the coach role. Looking forward to also joining the crew at Lake Havasu.
The event will once again be sanctioned by the International Jet Sports Boating Association (IJSBA), and is expected to draw a record number teams from around the globe as well as all of the top PWC racers from the US. The Teams will be competing against each other while trying to break the 300 mile record of 4 hours 31 minutes 24 seconds set by the 2014 Mark Hahn Memorial Overall winner Craig Warner on a Kawasaki.
This race is being held again in the memory of endurance racer Mark Hahn who was instrumental in providing the momentum to keep endurance racing going strong and growing across the country before his untimely death during a PWC race in 2004.
The “Team” format features two riders for runabout (sit down) boat teams and up to three riders for a stand-up craft. Solo riders are also welcome to “Ironman” the race on either style of boat, a real test of endurance and stamina reserved for only the true endurance zealots.
What you see in this picture is a scull craft. A scull craft is used for sculling. This is also a form of exercise enjoyed by our good friend Cindy. Cindy trains often. The hard part she said is not in the water, it is pushing this scull craft, on this WWII looking hospital trailer, up the hill and to her home about a mile away.
Cindy also told me that recently she flipped the boat while trying to reach the dock. Cindy could not find a way onto the dock and also did not want to risk swimming past two dead sea birds so, she started yelling for the nearby life guards. Non heard her, even though they are just down the ramp and up on their lookout building. She tried whisteling, yelling, to no avail. Then, before she contemplated swimming past the dead birds, two plumbers came out of the bathroom, heard her call, and helped her onto the dock.
Now this is one tough lady!