52-year-old's first jet surfboard lesson predictably ends painfully
When Dave's friend, Mark posted pictures on Facebook that showed the amazing Jet Surfboard that he just bought, Dave got pretty excited. He asked to come out and watch Mark and maybe even attach a few cameras to record the action. Mark happily demonstrated and explained his new ride. It's a 90hp, 35mph thrill ride that you can carry under one arm. The engine is under the feet, built into the board that looks like a half sized surf board with a jet thruster on the back. It shoots water out the back, propelling the rider forward over the surface of the lake.
Mark explained that his machine is powerful enough that you have to be careful with the throttle. "At half speed, you own it, but press too hard on the gas and IT owns YOU." That statement is completely true, especially for new riders.
Mark made the explanation easy enough to understand. Start on your belly, move onto the knees, secure one foot and then the other as you stand. The feet fit into to large loop bindings, giving the rider a firm attachment to the board. The thin rope at the front helps with balance and allows the rider to lean and direct the front of the board. The throttle is an easy hand grip that connects to the front of the machine.
Mark easily got to his feet, jumped a few waves, circled a bit and even did a pass through a huge fountain in the middle of the lake. The camera on the helmet gives us a view of what Mark saw as he skimmed over the water.
Mark pulled up and hopped off, giving Dave an opportunity that he couldn't pass up. With the helmet cam running and the board cam looking back at him, Dave listens to the pointers and tries to take it all in. Mark is more optimistic than Dave is, but you don't get a chance to ride something like this every day and he's far too excited to let caution get in the way of fun.
After plugging in the kill switch, the board gives the rider a mere three seconds to hang on and get ready. Mark's last instructions were probably something about not trying to stand at full throttle but Dave is all in now and there is no turning back. The belly lap and the knee lap went smoothly and Dave heads out into the middle of the lake, away from anyone he can hurt. He gets on his hands and knees and then gets his feet planted. But as he lets go of the board with his hands, he is given less than a full second of complete joy before he tumbles into the water at high speed. The board shuts off and, after a short swim, Dave gets back on his knees to ride it back to shore. That's the end of the lesson for the day because he knows he has hit the water hard.
But as things settled after a few hours, Dave found that walking was almost impossible and he had pain where he has never felt it before. He made his way to the local hospital, driven by a wife who has told him many times to stop acting like a big kid. The doctors and nurses gave him a full check and sent him home. And although they seemed to admire his joy for life, they also suggested that some things are better left for the younger people.
Dave's wife, Kristy didn't say a word on the drive home. Her knowing look said it all.