That WaveJet

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Jamie O’Brien, basking in the limelight at Pipe. Funny, it’s hard to hear the laughter when you’re getting barreled. Photo: Hamish Humphries
Jamie O’Brien, basking in the limelight at Pipe. Funny, it’s hard to hear the laughter when you’re getting barreled. Photo: Hamish Humphries

 

Baby Take It Off!

The WaveJet is a surfboard that uses two small jets to provide 12 miles per hour worth of thrust. It was also a topic of conversation during this year’s North Shore season. Kelly Slater dared Jamie O’Brien to ride one in his Pipe Masters heat from the pulpit while accepting his 250th consecutive Surfer Poll award, for instance, and even though Jamie didn’t ride the WaveJet in his heat he rode one into very solid barrels after the event ended. He got very barreled and spit out and the people in the water shook their heads. The people watching from his deck laughed.

Garrett McNamera sat out the back during the Pipeline event on a WaveJet and caught a Third Reef bomb. A huge wave. And he rode it all the way into the inside and got detonated, breaking his board in half. WaveJets cost $4500. Those watching from the Oakley deck hooted. But he was back with a fresh one on the next swell, leisurely stroking into Off the Wall closeouts. Again, he broke his board. The lineup applauded.

There are many detractors to the WaveJet. Surfing is a pure sport and having two small jets providing 12 miles per hour worth of thrust is anathema. Those who can’t paddle shouldn’t surf. Fat men are its natural market. Etc. And the detractors may be plenty. But I watched Jamie O’Brien get barreled and I watched Garrett McNamera catch the biggest wave of the week on WaveJets.

No need to get hysterical. Simply something to think about. —Chas Smith


(The ad sales team wanted to make sure that we were aware of this video.)

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