How did your jet skiing career begin?When/how did you get into jet skiing?
So, it all started when I got injured and wasn’t able to ride a motorcycle anymore…. I was looking for something to fill that gap in my life. I thought it was a very similar sport so I started researching. As a freshly injured paraplegic I had to be somewhat safe and consult my doctor. After talking to him and getting his opinion–he strongly advised me not to do it, warning that it might be just too violent for my back. For some strange reason I ignored his recommendation and went ahead and tried riding a PWC, after that it was all downhill from there. I was absolutely hooked and wanted to get a bigger and faster ski.
Training and competing for AquaX PWC racing is much like training for motocross. You need your endurance level to be very high; it’s a full body impact sport, so you are using every muscle group in your body–and it gets really brutal with rougher weather conditions. I’d consider it harder than motocross because each wave that comes at you is constantly changing…making it that much more difficult to negotiate each obstacle. Yes, the water is more forgiving than dirt, but at 70 miles per hour, water becomes very unforgiving too.
What are your greatest achievements?
To date, my greatest achievement was finishing in 2nd place at the 2016 Russky Grand Prix in Vladivostok Russia. This was a 5-day endurance offshore race on some very interesting water conditions in the North Pacific Ocean. I was the only USA racer and the only physically disabled rider in the 34-racer field.
What are you most proud of?
The thing that I’m most proud of is being able to compete with all the other riders and staying with them…I’m the only disabled racer competing in a non-disabled sport and I feel humbled that these elite athletes would allow a physically-challenged rider without being judgmental towards me. Since this is a full body sport and I’m paralyzed from my middle back it puts me at a significant disadvantage, I feel like I work twice as hard with my hands to support my body to stay with the rest of the pack during rough water or surf races.
What do you do when you’re not competing or training?
Training and preparing my ski for competitions does occupy a good portion of my time. I enjoy spending the time with my wife and two kids and just being out on the water, spending quality time together.
Are you currently training for a specific competition?
Just three weeks from now, the IJSBA World Finals are coming up. This is the Woodstock of PWC racing…..I will be the only disabled racer in the event and I’m fortunate to be invited to represent my amazing sponsors at this event. I will be competing in the final race of the event, the endurance race.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are snow skiing and sailing. It’s something that the entire family enjoys doing and it’s a great escape from the day-to-day life. Not to mention, I still get a great physical workout doing it.
If you could only eat one thing for a month, what would it be?
Hands down, spaghetti with meat sauce.
Do you have any recovery routines?
My physical therapist got me hooked on RockTape….used it for one race and that’s all it took to be a believer.
How do you use RockTape?
I use RockTape H2O for every race. A 4″ strip across my back to support my shoulders. 2″ straps to prevent arm pump on my forearms and couple straps on my triceps for faster recovery. The basic combination has been on point to keep me in the game for the multi-day competitions.
What is your favorite tape style?
Well that’s easy black H2O.
What do most people not know about you?
As healthy as I like to eat…I just can’t resist a good old fashioned apple pie for desert.
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