Everything’s “extreme” nowadays. Guys on motocross bikes hurl themselves through the air, guys on snowmobiles backflip them like it’s no big deal, and yeah, guys even jump from the edge of space for kicks. Where do PWC fit into this mix? If you ask the mainstream media, they’re probably clueless. After a promising start, PWC racing and freestyle have both faded somewhat into the background. Sure, the sport still exists, but good luck finding it on ESPN…not even the “Ocho.”
Still, I continue to be amazed at what the best PWC freestyle riders can come up with. I think the surf if their natural playground, and where they perform their best, jaw-dropping moves. But the video below shows that some pretty wild stuff continues to be seen on flat water as well. It’s footage of Slovenia’s Roc Florjancic at the IJSBA 2012 World Finals in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and he definitely proves that freestyle has come a long ways since the days of headstands, tailspins, and dare I say it, pirouettes in the tray. (Yup, that’s where we used to toss the handlepole up, spin ourselves around once…and then catch that handlepole as it came back down. Impressive, I know.) Now, backflips are the move of choice. In one sequence, Roc strings together about seven of them, tossing in some helicopter spins to boot.
How do guys like Florjancic pull off these moves? Talent, mostly, but yes they do have a little help from their equipment. Their standup skis are a little shorter than the norm, the handlepoles anchored way out on the nose, the horsepower within is incredible, and their centered gas tanks hold just about enough gas to get through their routine. The key ingredient, however, is the steering nozzle. As well as side to side, riders can also pivot them upwards via a handlebar-mounted lever. That allows riders to force all that substantial thrust upwards, which in turn forces the stern of their ski downwards. Add in a good pull on the handlebars, and you’ve got the makings of a backflip.
So no, don’t expect to pull this off on your stock Jet Ski or SuperJet. But man, watch this, and tell me you wouldn’t like to try…