Joey Morneault | Festival of Freeride (FOF) and Australia Trip

Joey Morneault | Festival of Freeride (FOF) and Australia Trip

A few years ago I met a Kiwi named Roger down at one of the local Jet Ski shops in Las Vegas.

Joey NZ

Joey (Left) and the Kiwi Roger (Right).

Over the past few years we ended up being pretty good friends and we traveled to some events together. Roger always told me that I needed to go down to New Zealand to come ride. For a few years I just laughed about it and figured I wouldn’t be able to make it happen. I recently went through a few life changes and decided to say “Screw it, I’m going on an adventure”.

Joey NZ 2

Joey NZ 1


I decided to go down to New Zealand during their biggest free ride event called the Festival of Free ride (FOF). After looking at flights I discovered that traveling to Australia wouldn’t cost too much more and just like that I had some plane tickets for an adventure of a life time. I didn’t really have any plans for the trip. The goal was to attend the FOF and just have fun. Everything else I just figured out during the trip.

Joey NZ 3

I was a bit nervous and a bit hesitant going into this trip. This was my first big international trip and I had a 24 hour travel period for me to make my way down under. It took a total of 3 flights to make it down to Auckland and I was pretty out of it by the time I arrived. Once I survived customs I met up with Roger and we headed to get some food. Driving on the other side of the road was the weirdest feeling. What was even more weird was the pizza selection. For dinner we had a banana and salmon pizza along with a caper and onion pizza. Both pizzas were surprisingly good and I would choose the banana pizza over pineapple any day of the week.


After grabbing some dinner I got to meet John Wright who was one of the race promoters for the area. It was cool to see how they hold jet ski races on the other side of the world. John also gave me a place to stay for a few nights during my trip which I was very grateful for. After getting a good nights sleep Roger and I grabbed some breakfast and headed to the shop so we can prep the skis for our riding trip. At breakfast I got to experience a meat pie and it was life changing. I wish we had meat pies in the United States.


Joey NZ 5

Joey NZ 8

After prepping the skis we headed just outside of Auckland to ride at a river called Les Batkin Reserve. While riding the scenery reminded me of Oregon lots of trees and grass everywhere. It felt awesome to ride a ski without a wet suit. Going from winter to summer was the best idea that I ever had. After a quick ride at the lake we loaded up the skis and headed off to Tauranga. Tauranga had a beautiful harbor and an amazing surf setup. We launched at the harbor, rode around the island, and played in the surf for a few hours. The surf wasn’t super powerful, but it was clean and playful. I had a blast riding Roger’s Super Jet out there.
After our surf session I ate dinner with everyone that rode surf with us. Dinner was an interesting experience. We went to a burger place and a handful of people in the restaurant didn’t have shoes on. I asked Linda Thompson if this was normal and she confirmed that it was normal. I still think no shoes in a restaurant is one of the craziest things ever. After grabbing dinner Roger and I headed to Gareth Wing’s house where we stayed for the night.

Joey NZ 7

The next morning Roger and I loaded up and headed back to Auckland. On our way to Auckland we made a quick stop to repair Paula Power’s steering cable.She was in the process of getting her super jet ready for the FOF and was ready to make a comeback.

 After a long day of traveling Roger and I arrived at our motel in Waiuku. All of the riders at the motel were having a few drinks and talking about jet skis. I also met up with Mark and Abraham at the motel. After a few hours of socializing it was time for bed so we could ride the next day.


Joey NZ 9
We were up bright and early so we could head down to the beach. The Kariotahi beach was amazing because it had black sand. At the event registration I ran into Tayne and Terry Lemon. I haven’t seen the Lemons since World Finals back in the USA. After registering I rode for a bit in the surf. The surf at the FOF was much more powerful than what I rode in Tauranga. The surf was actually big enough for me to do a few flips and rolls. It was first flips and rolls that I did since I totaled my surf ski. It really made me miss surf riding.
Joey NZ 11 Joey NZ 12


The second day of the FOF was amazing. The surf cleaned up and the weather was perfect. I couldn’t ask for a better day of surf riding. The FOF had some pretty good contests and my favorite was the Wave Blaster biggest air contest. It was nothing but carnage. Paulie Paul tried to do a backflip and bailed and Mike Hay bailed off of his ski and absolutely wrecked it. After the carnage was over we went to the awards ceremony. The ceremony had a massive amount of raffle prizes and quite a few awards to give out. Some of the awards were comical; my favorite award was the most injured award which the winner was given a carbon fiber toilet seat. The awards ceremony turned into an after party that was a pretty good time.
Joey NZ 4The following day Roger and I headed back to Auckland for to recover from the few days of riding. We met up with John and his wife for nice dinner overlooking the harbor in Auckland. This was probably one of the more relaxing parts of the trip.

The next day we were headed off to Mangawhai for some more surf action. The surf here was awesome and the water was bright blue. New Zealand seemed to have a little bit of everything when it comes to surf riding. After our surf session we went back to the river to flush the skis out. At the river we met up with Shane King, Pete Dimoline, and a few others. Once the skis were flushed out it was time to pack my bags and get ready for Australia.

I looked out my window on the plan as we were about to land in the Gold Coast and I really liked what I saw. Nothing but beautiful water and white sand beaches. As soon as I landed my buddy Justin Belczowski picked me up and we headed straight to Surfers Paradise. The beach down there was amazing and the weather was perfect. Justin showed me around the beaches and waterways while we headed over to Worx Racing. On my trip I made it a point to meet up with people that I have seen over in the States. I usually catch up with the boys at Worx racing during the IJSBA World Finals. After my visit at Worx we headed back to Justin’s house for dinner. After dinner we went down to park and I got to meet some other Joeys. It was pretty crazy to see kangaroos just hanging out everywhere at sunset.

Joey NZ 13

The following day Justin had to work, but he was nice enough to give me the keys to his truck. So I hit the road and went straight to the beach for a nice breakfast while looking at the ocean. After breakfast I walked the beach for a bit and then it was off to Springbrook National Park. I played tourist for a day, which was nice for a change. I drove around and saw some breathtaking views. After a day of exploring I headed back to meet up with Justin and Naomi for dinner. I enjoyed a very nice dinner with some great friends that day. After dinner we checked out some of the nightly entertainment that the Gold Coast had to offer. While walking around Justin and I found the iconic Meter Maids and we decided to get a photo with them. Seeing the Meter Maids really reminded me of Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas. There were a handful of other street performers, but the Meter Maids were my favorite.

Joey NZ 15Joey NZ 14The next morning Justin showed me around for a bit. We ate breakfast on the beach in Kirra. Kirra was absolutely amazing. It looked like something that you would see on a post card or in a travel brochure. I highly recommend stopping there if you are in the area. After eating at Kirra we headed to Jet Pilot Headquarters to meet up with some of my sponsors. Getting a behind the scenes tour of JP was really cool. I got to see all of the new gear coming out for the next season. Jet Pilot was even nice enough to let me go on a bit of a shopping spree. I came home with tons of new gear.

After my stop at JP we went down the road to Australian Jet Ski Parts so I could catch up with some of the guy that I’ve met in the states. It was cool to see how AJSP operated.

For the remainder of my Australian experience I explored the waterways on a boat, checked out some street fairs, and ate some amazing food. My last stop was in Brisbane where I stayed with my friend Tim O’Neil. I have known Tim for a few years after meeting him in the states. He was nice enough to accommodate me before I flew out to return home.

Joey NZ 17

Joey NZ 16

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Joey NZ 19
Overall my trip far exceeded my expectations. I had an absolute blast and I met some awesome people along the way. Escaping our winter for two weeks was probably the best idea I have ever thought of. I was very fortunate to stay with friends throughout my whole trip so it was very affordable. I was very nervous to go on my first international trip and now I want to do an international trip every year. I recommend traveling to everyone. There is a whole world out there, you just need to go explore it.

JOEY MORNEAULT LIQUID MILITIA ATHLETE PAGE |

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Jeff Bolte | Wavedaze windy, flat, but still a hoot

I packed up and left West Virginia on Wednesday to head to Maryland to do some carpentry work in Ellicott City, I made some sawdust and hit the road to Virginia beach on Thursday.


Phot By: Stephanie Sickerott

Phot By: Stephanie Sickerott


The sun was shining but the wind was crazy, Many riders were talking about the bridge being closed for hours because of the Highwinds. When I arrived the surf was small with strong off shore winds, even though it was blowing hard, a few skis were out enjoying the waves and spray.

I cruised to the hotel and met up with promoter Dan Swartz and the other free-riders arriving from all over. I was stoked to catch up with old friends and meet some new faces in the crowd, we were all psyched to share some frosty beverages and swap stories on how we were all having the typical wrench parties the week before a freeride!

I had installed a new H2O Torrent 148 pump and Skat-Trak thin blade, cutback impeller in my Rickter and was excited to get in the water and test it in the surf. Unfortunately all the wind had blown the surf pretty much flat. That didn’t stop us from going out and making the best of it, we had a fun session and my ski was hooking up and shooting roost better than ever! Now it was time to get out of the wind and wet gear, and put on some Liquid Militia threads and a hoodie. We got ready, then headed out to grab some grub and get the party started at Peabody’s nightclub. There were shuttle buses to take the riders from the hotel to the club and back so nobody had to worry about driving, very excellent! Too much fun was had at the club so we carried on back at the hotel until about 4 AM when the police came and told us to turn down the music and party, LOL!


We awoke Saturday to warmer weather and sunshine but the surf was even smaller. We ate breakfast and got on the beach. I rode a tank of fuel and had fun shredding the small stuff. After the ride we checked out the raffle where a lot of good prizes were being auctioned off.

Phot By: Asia L. Stewart

Phot By: Chris Kyttle


The promoters of WaveDaze do a raffle ever year with the items that company’s donate to the event. The proceeds go to a specific cause. This year they donated a bulletproof vest to K-9 police dog, which is probably why they took it easy on us and no one got arrested Friday night ha ha Ha!

Saturday night we went back to Peabody’s for a few drinks and to watch the Supercross races and chit chat with the crew.


Phot By: Stephanie Sickerott

Sunday was sunny and warmer with no wind and no waves, Lake Atlantic was in full effect. One of my buddies, John Francavilla talked a friend into bringing out a big boat in the afternoon to make some waves! I was already packed up so I missed out on that. All in all it was a great weekend to catch up with my freeride family on the East Coast, Liquid Militia teammate Jake Bright came out from California, some Canadians, a couple Australians and riders from all over the country rounded out the crew for this spring WaveDaze free ride this year! Can’t wait for the next ride!

JEFF BOLTE LIQUID MILITIA ATHLETE PAGE |


Phot By: Chris Kyttle

Joey Morneault first time attending the Daytona Freeride 2017 5

Joey Morneault first time attending the Daytona Freeride 2017

I will go back as long as I’m still riding skis. The Daytona Freeride will not disappoint.


This was my first year attending the Daytona Freeride and my first time attending an East Coast event. I had an absolute blast and I recommend that everyone goes to this event. I didn’t know what to expect on the other side of the country, so I packed my bags and caught an overnight flight hoping for the best. I arrived at the Daytona airport around noon and walked straight to the baggage claim. I grabbed my bag and looked to my right and spotted a Liquid Militia shirt.

I immediately walked over to the guy wearing the shirt and introduced myself. After meeting Mark Walker and talking for a few minutes he offered me a ride to the event in his rental car. I was STOKED to be in Daytona for only 5 minutes and I already organized a free ride to the event. On the way to the event I was chatting with one of the other guys in the car and it turns out that he lives only a few houses over from my cousin in Philadelphia, PA. Sometimes I can’t believe how small of a world it is.

Baggage check

Baggage check

Welcome Skis

Welcome Skis

Daytona Bound!!

Daytona Bound!!


We arrived at the host hotel after a quick lunch and shopping adventure. The weather was absolutely perfect I was able to wear shorts and sandals all weekend. After checking in, I met up with Nicholas Foederer to grab my rider pass which is a a necessity if you want to ride. The next step was to walk the beach to see if I could bum a ride on a ski. A few minutes later I got to take Michael Grasso’s super jet for a rip. The surf conditions were pretty fun and it was pretty warm outside. I got away with only wearing my wet suit bottoms, it was a nice change from the West Coast surf. After a nice riding session I met up with Mark and his friends for dinner.

The View from the hotel deck

The View from the hotel deck

Joey- getting in some riding time.

Joey- getting in some riding time.


I basically went out to dinner with a random group of people that I haven’t met before. Everyone was super nice and welcoming, I was immediately treated like part of their riding crew. I stayed up pretty late waiting for my roommate (Cookie Monster) to arrive, she ended up missing her flight and arrived much later than expected. Luckily I killed the time by talking about jet skis with Buck, Bryan, Cameron and others down at the hotel bar. We probably could have talked till the sun came up, but I eventually called it a night and crashed out.

The Takeover!!

The Takeover!!

New Friends!!

New Friends!!


The next morning I woke up, grabbed breakfast, put on my sandals, and hit the beach. The beach was packed with awesome people and amazing skis. While walking down the beach I managed to hang out at the Skat-Trak booth with Michelle and Tom (Hot Products) for a bit. Michelle hooked me up with a sweet Skat-Trak hat and Tom gave me a Hot Products shirt for hanging out with them. They were giving out hats and shirts to tons of people that stopped by the booth. After hanging out at the booth for a bit I grabbed some lunch and walked the beach again. I spent countless hours meeting new people and enjoying the amazing weather. Towards the end of the day I suited up to ride some of my teammates skis. Mark Gomez and Brandon Lawlor were nice enough to let me take their skis for a ride in the beautiful Florida surf. While riding I witnessed Mark Gomez to be the first person to back flip a jet surf motorized surf board. It was crazy that guy can do anything LOL…

After some riding I went out to dinner with the same group from the night before. We decided to stay out a bit later and hit the club. We had a blast at the club that was conveniently located across the street from the hotel. On our way home we found a 24 hour pizza parlor, so we grabbed a quick snack before bed.

Joey suited up!

Joey suited up!

The following morning I was a bit sleep deprived, but it was totally worth it. I grabbed some breakfast and went down to the beach to watch the surf style event. My buddy Sean Starr was crushing it and ended up taking home first place! He was on fire all weekend. After watching Sean ride I got to experience the Cherry Popper event. The Cherry Popper is a contest for people to stick their first back flip. This event was priceless. There were so many awesome attempts and bails. I could have watched it all day. Eventually all of the contestants landed their flips. After the Cherry Popper I suited up and took Sean Starr’s ski for a ride. While riding his ski I witnessed Sean back flip one of the jet surf boards. I think Sean is determined to catch up to Mark’s accomplishments and he’s doing a great job of it. After my first ride I took a break and then went out again on Randy Lawlor’s ski. Randy’s ski was a monster with his massive engine. It wore me out pretty fast so I only had a short ride.

After the events closed down we got cleaned up and went to the Kona Tiki Bar for dinner. The bar was basically taken over by jet ski riders, it was such a cool experience to look around and see nothing but awesome people that share the same interest. After dinner we went back to the club and got a bit out of control. We had the times of our lives and ended up closing out the place. Immediately after the club we went back to the pizza shop for a late night snack. I swear the guy at the pizza place knew my name by the end of the weekend, we probably spent way too much time there.

The last day was the hardest part of the trip. Heading home from awesome events is always a bummer. After packing my bags I hopped in the car with Melissa and Michelle. We ate at a place called Steve’s diner. This diner was recommended to us by Jeff (Steve) Bolte. This diner had the best homemade food. Mark, Kaley, Andrew, Melissa, Michelle, Jeff, and I all talked about the future events that we plan to attend while we were eating. We all decided to come back to Daytona for 2018. This event was absolutely worth traveling for. It was such a nice break from the cold Las Vegas weather. I highly suggest this event to everyone. I will go back as long as I’m still riding skis. Daytona will not disappoint.

Jeff (Steve) Bolte

Jeff (Steve) Bolte

Melissa, Joey, Kaley, Mark, Michelle, Jeff and Andrew

Melissa, Joey, Kaley, Mark, Michelle, Jeff and Andrew


Joey Morneault | Liquid Militia Team Rider Profile