Summertime means lake time here in Central Texas, and this morning I discovered a new way to recreate on Lake Travis – a jet surfer.
First reaction? Whoa!
I’m a slalom water skier, so I’m used to high-adrenalin water sports. I was a little leery of this motorized surfboard, though, which is powered by a small motor inside the board that pumps a jet stream of water out the back end.
The boards can reach top speeds of 35 miles per hour. Riders control speed via a hand-held throttle and steer by shifting their weight.
With some good coaching from instructor Jamie Naugle at Jetsurf ATX, I managed to scramble onto the board on my first attempt. It bucked me off after less than 10 seconds, but after that it was pretty easy to figure out. I zipped all around a cove without too much trouble, although I found left-hand turns way easier than right, or toe-side, turns.
Downside? The buzz of the motor sounds a little like an incoming swarm of robotic mosquitoes.
Kyle Ray (that’s him in the video), owner and founder of the Jetsurf Academy here in Austin, demonstrated some nifty tricks. He jumped wakes, made sharp turns and spun out like a motocross rider.
Jetsurf Academy offers instruction Thursday through Sunday. Cost is $125 for a one-hour session or $60 for a 30-minute discovery session. For more information go here.
Look for my upcoming story in the Austin American-Statesman.