August 02, 2016 - 6:30 PM
OKANAGAN – An exciting new sport that combines snowboarding with boat-free wakeboarding is starting to catch on in the Okanagan.
Jetsurfing is done on a specialized, gas-powered board and according to Michael Banin — one of three men who brought it to the Okanagan — there is nothing else quite like it.
“I always thought watersports were fun but I wasn’t passionate about it or anything,” he says. “Then I was house boating and I went out on one at around dusk. It was like Point Break. We got out there and I’m doing things I couldn’t imagine. Doughnuts, hops, slalom, carving. It’s was liberating.”
The boards are rented out by Jetsurf Okanagan, which launched this year. The boards have a Formula 1 engineered carbon fiber hull that houses a two-stroke gas engine and are controlled with an RC-style remote.
On calm water you can reach 50 km/h.
“They’re very responsive,” he says. “And the learning curve is so small, once you get up you’re surfing.”
Banin and his partners purchased four of the Jetsurf boards and their company is the first in Western Canada to rent them. Although they are also for sale, a price of up to $25,000 each puts them out of range for most watersport enthusiasts.
Still, Banin and his partners believe this is only the beginning.
“I can see it becoming a lifestyle for a lot of people,” he says. “Getting up and going for a surf for an hour before work or at the end of the day. The closest thing is snowboarding on water.”
Jetsurf Okanagan will meet you at the Okanagan lake of your choice for a rental fee of $105 for a half hour or $155 for one hour. That includes a lesson if you’ve never used one before. They recommend quiet lakes like Kalamalka or Wood Lake for privacy and relatively low number of boats.
“We’ve refined our training program because some people found it difficult to get up,” he says. “But it doesn’t take long to catch on and now we have couples, women, men, young and middle aged doing it. It’s really accessible to everyone.”
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