list of safety items to carry while offshore riding
Dana Point to Avalon 28 March 2010
My personal race report the 2010 LB2CAT
While I was camping in the pits at Long Beach Shawn Alladio shows up with her 4 rescue Jet skis and asked me if I want to join her and 2 others for a quick little ride. Hesitantly I say sure, I didn’t want to fatigue my muscles for the race the next day. As we’re launching the skis all I'm wearing is my helmet, goggle and race boots. No back support, no neck brace, no gloves, no wetsuit, no GPS, no radio. I was shocked when Shawn told me “don’t worry we’ll only go ½ way to Catalina and back”. It was blazing hot at the launch ramp, the water seemed flat and calm.
As soon as we got out the harbor the ocean was quite wild. Big swells and lots of chop. Every 5-10 seconds was as if someone was throwing a full bucket of water in my face. Shawn stopped us every few miles and made us look back at land making us familiar with certain land marks so that we didn’t have to waste fractions of a second each time we had to glance our GPS’s during the race. Once Catalina Island was in sight she pointed out more land marks. Once we turned around I was very happy, tired and relieved because I didn’t want to get more fatigued than I already was. The race was in 12hours. In my mind I’m thinking this woman is totally crazy for making me do this.
On race morning 9am about 48 of us lined up at the starting line and the flag goes up. I hit the gas and everyone was speeding out of the harbor towards the ocean. I kept telling myself “remember to breath and save your arms” I had to keep remembering to keep my body forward over the bars to keep my hands and forearms from cramping up like in previous races. This is the riding style of Mark Manke who has been racing standup jetskiis for many years and he suggested I try this style, but by doing this I risk flying over the bars if I hit a big bump. As we got into deep water the ocean became rougher and the fog kept getting thicker, I looked down at my 2 GPS’s and they’re both dead. FUCK my race is over and I may get lost in this stuff. Luckily another racer was to my left so I figure I might as well stick with him if I have any hope of making it to the island. Once Catalina was in sight we were both about 3 miles off course and had to go left along the island to get to the turnaround boat.
By this time the sky was clear and I started heading back to the mainland. I started following another group of racers but they were too fast for me and once we got back into the fog I was totally lost. I stopped twice to try power up the GPS’s but they still didn’t work so I pressed on. Suddenly I saw 3 guys coming straight for me though the dense fog, now I had to think are these guys going or coming. I realized that I had actually made a huge U turn and I was going the wrong way so I followed them and started to speed up and pass them but had no idea which way to go. I saw off in the distance a 40’ offshore racing boat heading back to long beach so I following it as best as I could but it was too fast. Just then I saw the hills of the mainland though the whiteness and I realize I’m about 5 miles from the finish. In my mind I’m thanking my lucky stars for the fact that Shawn Alladio invited me to ride the day before. Without her knowledge that she shared with me I would have been totally lost, this woman never ceases to amaze me. I was happy to be done with zero training on the water and thought I finished somewhere near the back end of the pack.
When we sat down at the award ceremony I wasn’t really paying attention and heard my name being called and people clapping. The 1st award was for the top 10 finishers and to my total amazement I finished in 10th position. I honestly couldn’t believe it. This was a perfect day to race for me (besides my navigation problem). I made quite a few errors during this race but I guess I will learn from them. The ocean wasn’t flat and boring like all the other races I’ve done and it wasn’t going to be won by a faster flat water hulled boats and it wasn’t going to be won by a racer that trains in a flat lake. This is offshore racing baby!! (a good desription is its like riding a wild bull with motorcycle bars strapped to its back)
I just want to thank everyone on my my team at PWCoffshore. Kim Bushong for taking the win over all the pros and to Mark Gerner for being such a warrior who had a 1 1/2 mile lead at the turn boat only to break down soon after. Mark is instrumental to this sport and I personally know how passionate he has been over the years to win this race. Shawn Alladio also on the team spent all afternoon towing Mark back from Catalina while everyone was having fun back at the pits. For me racing a PWC would not be possible without the support of Ossur Prosthetics and the use of their foot called Ceterus which has a built in shock which minimizes the impact on my residual limb.
Awesome job everyone.