SHOWTIME! Hollywood, competitors from around the globe arrive in Havasu for IJSBA
The competition part of the International Jet Sports Boating Association World Finals is still a couple days away but the activities are just beginning.
Teams and riders from all over the world showed up for registration on Saturday at the Island Inn.
Besides the intention to compete at the highest level on their personal watercraft, the one thing all the racers had in common was how excited they were to be in Lake Havasu City for their sports biggest event.
“The World Finals for me is my vacation,” Antonio Claros of Bolivia said. “I bought my plane ticket in January. I came here to race, but after that, I’m just going to relax, watch the races and enjoy my time.”
The racers getting themselves here is the easy part. They pack a bag, jump on a plane or get in a car and head for Havasu. But for their PWC, tools and everything it takes to have a successful race on the water? It’s not so easy.
Rick Trevizo made the trek to Havasu from Texas this year for what will be his 13th World Finals. After 13 years, Trevizo knows what it takes to make sure it’s smooth sailing when he gets to Havasu.
“It’s a total team effort,” Trevizo said. “We bring everything from Texas in our trailer we could possibly need. It has to be there. Otherwise, you’re searching, begging for parts and that is not a good situation.”
It’s a stressful endeavor for all the racers to make sure they have everything and that it gets here safely. For the international racers, though, it’s a bit more tricky.
Abdulrahman Ghazi Al-Omar of the Kuwait Jet Ski Team, who’s been competing at the World Finals since 2013, said the team ships everything from Kuwait to Havasu.
“We bring our own tools and our own skis,” Ghazi Al-Omar said. “We modify the skis in Kuwait and then ship them by airplane to Arizona. Then we work on them a little more here.”
While a lot goes into the logistics of it all, Ghazi Al-Omar said it is worth it because he prefers to ride a PWC he knows mechanically rather than rent an unfamiliar one.
Claros, on the other hand, takes a different approach when he hops on a plane from Bolivia to Havasu.
In the past, Claros said he would buy a PWC and build it to be race ready. However, it proved to be too costly. Claros said if he were to take a PWC he bought in the states back to Bolivia, $8,000 would be the price. So trying to sell it before he heads home is the best way to go about it. That takes time, though.
Claros has been coming to the states for the World Finals since 2005, and has met plenty of people in town he knows and trusts to rent a PWC from. That is what he is doing this year.
“I have many friends that are from here or race around this country that rent (PWCs) during the World Finals,” Claros said. “This year I’m working with Jeff Heal. The boat is almost done. Since his wife races the boat it only needs two days work and it will be ready for us.”
There is no one right way to make sure all the equipment needed to be successful is where it needs to be, come race time.
While there might be a preferred method to the madness of getting everything to Havasu, the important thing is that the PWC works and goes fast.