This spring, Jonathan McCreary and Justin Bradley traveled to the first American Jet Sport Association (AJSA) race of the season, representing their home waters of Smith Mountain Lake. The local boys had a fantastic day, both coming away with trophies for second place finishes in their respective divisions!
Up until a month ago, I'd never heard of jet ski racing! Turns out, it's starting to explode in this part of the country, which means that close-to-home opportunities for those wanting to give it a try are getting easier and easier to come by.
There is a place for everyone from 8 years old on up in this form of closed course racing. Though Johnathan races a stand-up in the Ski GP, he says that there are also classes for sit down skis - even straight from the showroom stock models. So, for novices wanting to get their proverbial feet wet, there is no need to own specialized equipment to get started in the sport.
Each Friday when it's above 70 degrees, the SML band of PWC racers (called the Blue Ridge Jet Ski Club) gather between Becky and Betty's Creeks to set up a course and get in some practice. There are somewhere between 15-20 racers of all ages and skill levels who are part of the group. Johnathan also mentions that it's really fun to just come and watch a practice session, too! That'll be me hanging out in the tri-toon bleacher section. Ha!
The AJSA tour is based out of Chattanooga, TN and there are talks of a Mid-Atlantic Chapter being formed next year! Jonathan, a pro racer for many years who used to have to travel 12-18 hours to join a series race before the AJSA was around, also has a passion for starting a training camp for junior racers sometime in the not-too-distant future.
If you'd like to join the SML crew out on the water, check out their Facebook page for more information and to get in touch with Jonathan: