Words + Photos By: John Basson
“I think I am addicted to my quad and bike riding on weekends.” This was the reason/excuse I used for almost one year now in order to not go to Abu Dhabi and enjoy a day on the beach with Louwtjie (my brother-in-law) and our families. However, my wife started putting on the pressure and finally, I had to give in. Jet Skiing with Louwtjie and the families was made compulsory before I was allowed to ride any land-bound vehicle again!
When Loutwjie decided to buy a Jet Ski, he used the “go big or go home” philosophy and settled for nothing less than an 1800cc turbo-charged monster. I must say, secretly I was looking forward to riding it, but had to suppress my excitement. (I will get to its performance in just a while.)
It was a perfect winter’s morning with awesome UAE temperatures and the plan was to meet at the launch site. Easier said than done if your GPS does not know that there are houses built where its software thinks there should be a road. After some desert and pavement riding, we managed to find Louwtjie and Neline. The kids almost immediately took to the water while we unpacked and “set up camp” for the morning. (Remember that Jet Skis are controlled, don’t just launch from any spot you like.)
When we finished off-loading the pick-up, I assisted Jihan with his lifejacket. He had been super keen and even called his uncle the night before to ensure that the Jet Ski was full of fuel and that he was not to oversleep! I think the first thing that got my attention was how quiet the Jet Ski was. Trying to compare it to a quad was probably not a fair comparison, after all this was a 1800cc (exactly four times more than my “racing” quads) and I expected more.
When Louwtjie and Jihan returned it was my turn. I had been watching them as they were riding and many years ago I had a go on a 750cc version (a monster in its own time). Let me just say that pulling away by snapping back the accelerator was not a bright idea and I could hear Louwtjie laugh as I was getting back on the Jet Ski! I was expecting performance, but it felt like the Jet Ski was snapped from under me by a cable that was attached to a rocket. The next pull away was again at full throttle as I had to restore some dignity, but this time I was holding on and knew what to expect. The Jet Ski is amazing and the acceleration definitely more than on any of my quads or bikes!
By the time I returned, John-John (my oldest) was already in the water and waiting for the beast to return. I let him sit in front and pilot the Jet Ski after explaining some of the do’s and don’ts. He took to it almost immediately and after 10 minutes, with no other Jet Skis or people in the water, I let him have a go by himself. He has been riding quads since he was two and knows what happens if he crossed the guidelines/limitations I set for him.
Well John-John was a natural and after 20 minutes I had to stop him as I am sure he would have been on the thing till it ran out of fuel. The advantage of the bigger Jet Skis is that they are more versatile. Some might say they are too big, but this Jet Ski comfortably took three adults while pulling two kids on a tube. This allows for more family fun and interaction with the kids whilst still having very high performance.
It was a great day and watching the cousins play to exhaustion was also rewarding. The day turned out to be great fun for all, but we had to cut it short as the wind started blowing around noon, and after running several hundred meters trying to catch one of our cartwheeling umbrellas we decided to rather pack up and go home
It was another great day outdoors in the UAE and soon we will repeat the outing.
Get out there! Soon it will be too hot!