For us, The 2016 Port San Luis Halibut Tournament really started the week before… the conditions were right to start searching our local waters for signs of white sea bass and halibut. The time of the year we all look forward to around here. We loaded up the kids and went for a boat ride to scout some spots that produced for us last year. Not long after dropping lines in the water I was hooked up to what ended up being my new personal best halibut weighing in at 46lbs.. A couple more drifts in the same area and we were on again. This time with my buddy CJ on the rod and reel bringing in another nice fish in the 30lb range. It was an awesome day on the water and a real treat for the kiddos to be around.
Kiddos with the 46lb Halibut Sea Monster
As we got ready for the tournament the following weekend the weather report was not looking good, calling for 7-9ft swell and 20-30kt gusts of wind, but we prepped for the conditions and headed out, this time with the A team on board. Jess Spencer, Forrest Ponds, Paul Sandoval, and myself headed down to the spot early Saturday morning. After hours of braving the elements, Forrest, who had spent the day up on the bow all by himself was hooked up on a nice fish. After a nice battle we boated a chunky 35lb halibut. score!!! we were in the game…
Forrest with the 35lb Halibut score that got us in the game
A few more hours with no bites and we headed back to port to make weigh ins at 3pm. We had heard that a couple other fish were caught but With 68 contestants in the tournament we had no idea what we were up against… about 10 fish total were brought in and at the end of the day, we were on top of the podium with the first place fish. Beating out the second place fish by less than a pound. But, this was only day 1 of a 2 day tournament.
Day 2, the weather was a little nicer and we thought we would stick to the same game plan and load up on some fish. Not the case….. Fished hard all day long for nada… not even a bite… Heading back into port, tired and hungry, we figured everyone else was catching and our chances of staying on the podium were very slim, but at least we would get some free BBQ…
“We were stoked just to get a fish”
Day 1 Weigh In with the 35lb Halibut
$2,200 in the bag for the 35lb Halibut
Its a team effort
As we got to the dock for final weigh ins we saw a few friends with smiling faces, Tammy who runs the tournament walked up to us and whispered “I think you guys got this”. Our attitudes changed real quick and we were eager to hear the final results. There was a hand full of nice fish brought in on Sunday but at the end of the day we held our first place title with the overall biggest fish of the tournament, claiming over $2200. We were absolutely blown away. We were stoked just to get a fish. This was a tough competition with a lot of well respected local fisherman in the mix.
After a couple cold ones, some top notch BBQ, a raffle, and some good times with family and friends, we headed home to get some much needed rest..
Fishing on my boat is a team effort, and this time we made it happen. Proud of the crew for getting the job done. Thanks boys… And Big thanks to our family, friends, wives, and people like the folks here at Liquid Militia that support us out here doing what we love. Until next time…
Hayden and his dad Shawn Millerick were lucky to have VIP treatment at this years 2016 Hurley Pro, Surf Contest at Trestles in California this month. Thanks to Laura Enever who is a pro, competing from Australia.
Pro Rider Mark Gomez | Jet Ski Back Flips In A Small Pool
Mark Gomez flipping | John Crabb with the best seat in the house.
Mark Gomez hit us up the day before he had plans to do a flippy in a backyard swimming pool. His buddy, John Crabb, who own’s Performance Fiberglass (one of Mark’s sponsors) hosted the pool party. Since we live pretty close to Gomez, we were down. This Labor Day Holiday Weekend was one for the books as we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Once we had a chance to check out the pool we were all kind sketched on how small the pool was (15′ X 30′). Keep in mind Marks Ski is about 6′ long, not much room for error. Mark being the Pro that he is was like, ‘I got this” so we started rolling the cameras. Without going into to much detail on every single thing just watch the video clip, it’s self explanatory ENJOY!!
Grayland Open Words from the amateurs who are ripping
Grayland open 2016 was one for the books for sure! I came into this event ready to throw down. I spent days and weekends practicing with friends and my Delta Freeride Crew. We traveled to Pismo Beach, our local training spot, almost every weekend leading up to the comp putting in a lot of hours riding and working on my ski.
Pismo training sessions going down
The crew at pismo, the last trip before Grayland.
Bryan working on his skills for the Grayland.
I traveled to Washington with my girlfriend Rheanna, and my buddy Neil. We piled into our motor home and hooked up the trailer and off we went. After a 14 hour drive from Cali to our amazement, we showed up to great weather and great waves. I was pumped!
Bryshady, Rhe, and Neil ready to the hit the Grayland express.
Practice Thursday couldn’t have been any better leading me into Friday for qualifiers. I qualified 2nd on Friday which brought me to Saturday heats. I was the last heat of the day which couldn’t come any quicker. They pulled up a rookie to compete in the amateur class which allowed Sean Starr to have a by while the rest of us amateurs competed to get to the top spots.
During my first heat, I started running into ski issues. All weekend after every heat I spent hours pulling carbs off, studs out, intake, replacing gaskets and lock-tightening everything in order to get back into my heat. Thanks to Blowsion for their 12mm wrench that I used all weekend!
With the hours of working on my ski I pushed through all my heats. With Saturday ending, leading into Sunday with the same issues. After every heat my ski kept me constantly wrenching with my buddy Neal by my side. Even though my ski wasn’t running perfect, I was making it work.
I went up against Damien Morgan, we both had a great run but I ended up coming out with the win which moved me into the finals for 1st and 2nd place against Sean Starr!
I came into that heat pumped and ready to give it my all. After my friends pumped me up on the side lines I was ready to shred. I went out with huge surf and great waves. I pulled multiple flips, can flips, 1 footed flip rolls, under flips, re-entries, 180 can stabs, no hand can stabs and more. Hands down one of the best runs I have ever had.
Grayland Open- Bryan Bourassa – Photo By Chris Marks
Grayland Open- Bryan Bourassa | Photo By: Chris Marks
Grayland Open- Bryan Bourassa – Photo By Chris Marks
I didn’t even know for one minute that Sean had ski issues. I was so focused on throwing down a solid run doing what I live for. I seen him go down once or twice and just kept putting it down to the ocean! I was pumped off my run.
Bryan Bourassa wins the amateur comp for the 2016 Grayland Open
The judges, fans, and friends came up to me and told me it was a great run, being the highest scored all weekend. The run was everything they expected for the overall win in the final for the amateur class! Nothing made me more Pumped and I appreciate everyone’s words and help.
Overall it was hands down a great weekend. Nothing but fun times and good riding.
I am now getting ready for this year 2016 Blowsion Surf Slam!! Looking forward to it and seeing everyone there!
Marissa, Zack, Sean, and Spark loaded and on the road.
This weekend was one for the books guys! Grayland open 2016 was off the hook. Starting off the trip, the legend ZB and I met up here in Orcutt my hometown nn Tuesday night to cruz for a bit and go over the mission ahead. First thing Wednesday AM Zack my home girl Marisa and I headed out to the TC Freeride shop in Paso Robles to meet up with Taylor Curtis to get the rig dialed in and ready for the road. After loading up myself, Zack Bright, Mark Gomez and Abraham Ho’s skis, gear bags, gas cans, and any other stuff we needed. We got the rig all dialed in and gassed up. We headed out of Paso on Wednesday afternoon headed for Grayland, amping to get to the event.
Pinned the whole way, switching off driving between me and Zack we drove through the night finally getting to the beach at about 11am on Thursday morning. 20hrs after leaving Paso, showing up on the beach was a great feeling to have made it safe and sound. Vibes were high, not a lot of sleep and not many people there yet but I was amping and itching to get in the water.
Sean Starr’s jet ski set up on the beach.
Sean Starr Practice Session in Pismo prior to arriving in Grayland, WA.
Nervous none the less from jumping from the rookie class last year to the am class in just a few months just barely getting flips around, I felt like I still had some major practice to do. After getting our rig unloaded and deciding to do my part to help set up the event venue was stoked to be helping such a great event. All the while, I was just itching to ride. Got a few guys together and launched the skis for a much needed squirt to wash the road trip off and get the bugs out! Time to bash some lips and huck some shit!
Sean Starr at the riders meeting 2016 Grayland Open.
Rolling around Friday morning at about 10:30 the rider meeting went down and we all went over the game plan for the contest and running heats, brackets, and heat times. yada, yada, yadda.. Then all of a sudden, I was asked to judge by Zack and Mark for Fridays heats until I had to ride my heat. That being such a rad opportunity for me all I could say was chooooooot. So yea, that was sick, I got to learn a lot about what the judges see from up top and what they are looking for. I had a rad time cruising up top with the big dogs until the amateur qualifying heats rolled around with my heat being first. I suited up, threw my helmet on, and was amping like none other. The buzzer goes off and it’s me in the first heat kicking off the am class for the weekend I threw it down and did what I do best, surf riding, wall bashing and squeezed in whatever big airs I could chuck after my 6 min heat, beached the ski and was done for the day.
Then proceeding to the rest of the days qualifying heats after the day was over the whole freeride family met up at the Cranberry Road Winery and got nice and sauced up with some good beer flowin. It was good to catch up with everybody and BS for a bit. Later in the night we all got hit with some very rough news from the Blowsion crew and the freeride fam about the passing of Blowsion owner and legend John Dady needless to say we all came together like we always do to do what we could to keep on trucking with the event.
Sean Starr Qualified 1st. He’s stoked
Saturday morning heats kicked off at about 11am and it was crunch time, it was elimination day, after the riders meeting they announced qualifying scores and the days heats. Looking at the heats paper, I had to do a double take. I qualified first in my class with a score of 64, whaaat… Going up against some serious shredders. I was freaking stoked!! and because of that I seated myself into the quarter finals. Going up against Matt Carte for my quarter final heat I scored some good waves and tuned in. They announced that I won the heat moving on to the semis yewww…
The rest of the days heats rolled on to the days end. Time to crack some cold ones with the crew and celebrate the good day. Wrapping up the night we head back to the cabin and catch some Z’s and get ready for the next day. Waking up Sunday, was sick in it’s self, I’m here, I’m riding today, I made it this far, lets get it going. Just frothing for my heats, showing up to the beach Sunday morning was nerve-racking, but I had to put that BS aside and just keep doing me and stick to my riding. In my semi heat, I ended up going up against east coast shredder Josh Bridges. Stressing in my own head knowing this dude kills it, we launched our skis and kicked off our heat. The buzzer goes off and its on! Doing what I can to get waves and put together some tricks. I look over, he’s throwing huge no handed rolls and no handed backflips and I’m like chit, time to turn on the gas. Was such a good heat, Bridges and I were killing it. I was getting some good ones out in the back sets with some solid surf riding and I managed to get a one handed roll, backflip, and underflip with some surf riding waves or 2 in-between. Then I over rotated a big flip bad in this heat. It took some time for the judges to figure out who was moving on to the final. I took the win and moved on.
I was amping so hard not knowing how I pulled it off, it was a go!!! My first am contest and I’m in the final!!! 20 minutes later it was what it all came down to, me and my good riding buddy and shredder Bryan Bourassa in the am final. We launched our boats and waited for the buzzer searching for a peak out in the back. The lollipop turns green and the final is on. I see a wave and freakin bash this thing till theirs nothing left, I pin my ski back out to get another wave on the super hollow inside section and sent a megaaa can re-entry right into the sand to my death… Within the first minute of the heat I’m down and maybe out. I come up and my lanyard is not on my ski and not on my arm I guess it decided to go for a swim haha leaving me and my ski dead in the water.
The rescue ski tried to pull me in but when hooking me up he gassed it too hard and snapped my tow rope. Once again I’m dead in the water and not able to start my ski. I sunk my boat, drifting about 1/4 mile south down the beach watching Bryan ride the rest of the heat to the top spot on the podium.
Grayland Open amateur podium top 4.
That was a bit of an upset for me, not to be able to compete in the final and battle it out with my riding mate but all in all I blew myself away with my riding. Being able to ride with these guys who are going big, killing it, and still somehow end up getting to the final and on the podium in my first go at the am class and score second place. The award ceremonies went down and I got back in the water to do what’s best when I’m pissed at myself shred out my frustrations.
I was the last one in the water at the event choooot, haha. We loaded up the rig and left the beach to West Port for a nice dinner at Bennet’s. With some good company before we all parted ways until the Blowsion Surfslam.
Quick pit stop to flush the skis.
Upon departing Grayland, our crew made a pitstop at Seven Feathers Casino and then stopping at Lake Shasta to ride and flush the skis out and let Marisa shred the new boat. The Grayland Open 2016 was one for the books for me with big learning curves to take note’s on and dial in my programming one step at a time. I’m coming in hot guys chyewwwww.
Time Lapse of painting the Freeride Helmet for Grayland Open 2016 winner of the Amateur Class By Daylite Ramsey
2016 Grayland Open Jet Ski Freeride Competition from the Pros
Brandon, Jeff Bolte, and I rode up to the 2016 Grayland Open together. We had a rather smooth trip with three skis on the bed of the truck and two on an open trailer. Josh Bridges shipped his ski to us and we hauled it up for him. We arrived on Wednesday around 5:00pm and quickly hopped into the water. The sun was out, the surf was awesome, and we all felt like it was our best day of ridding in a long time.
Grayland Open road trip for the team. Locked and stacked next stop Grayland.
Liquid Militia Team riders Brandon, Randy, and Jeff set up on the beach.
On Friday we had some great weather and a lot of qualifying to do. The waves were not really throwing to well, everyone was having a little trouble with the surf conditions. It was awesome to see all the familiar faces and also a lot of new riders that I had just meet. The rookie and amateur class looked better then ever. Everyone was pushing them selves and going huge. I had a pretty good qualifying round but I got ejected on a no handed barrel roll that looked a little worse then it felt.
Friday night we were on our way to the winery from dinner when we got the devastating news about John Dady. It came as a complete shock to the entire Freeride community. John was such a great guy and did so much to help and grow our sport.
Lawlor’s 2016 Grayland Open Rig. Truck packed, skis stacked.
Saturday morning we woke up to the good old normal GRAY Grayland. The fog was in and everything was wet. Brandon and I only hung out on the beach until 11:30am which at this point nothing had even started yet because of the fog delay.
Team selfie Thanks DAD!!
We had a family wedding to attend (2 birds one stone). We drove 4 hours south for our cousins wedding in Corvallis, OR. It was a beautiful out door wedding we had a great time catching up with friends and family.
Brandon and I arrived back to the beach Sunday morning by 10:00am to get our skis wet. Big thanks to our Dad for driving, we got to catch up on a little sleep during the drive. Sunday morning the fog was in heavy again.
There was so much to run, we had to get this comp started! We went strait into the consolation and final rounds for rookie, amateur, and sit down. The fog made it difficult to see. The judges had to pay extra attention to make sure they didn’t miss anything. Unfortunately Dan Lindgren smashed his face on the handlebars pretty bad and had to make a trip to the hospital to get checked out and glued back together. This created a little bit of confusion because Dan was running the show. The fog at this point was so bad you could barely see the ocean. The decision was made to go on with the award ceremony and hope the fog would clear enough for us to get some pro rounds in.
Randy Lawlor pumped to ride after that long drive.
Randy Lawlor doing an interview for TV at the 2016 Grayland Open.
It was great seeing some of our fellow Pismo Freeriders up on the podium.
The awards were over and the fog was in as heavy as ever. The final decision was to just do a Pro Jam. The Pro Jams are always fun, all pros went out at the same time and rode for 20 minutes. We feed off each other and push each other so it makes it a lot of fun.
When we came back in we found out the judges couldn’t tell who was who and couldn’t see anything on the back set, so there was no decision made.
As always it was an awesome time Dan Lindgren thank you for everything. Nick Foster thank you, All the judges thank you, thank you to the water rescue, and everyone else that helped make this event happen.
Zack Bright geared up
Grayland was an event I won’t forget. This is the 6th year I’ve been apart of this event and the 5th time I’ve made the drive up to south Canada (aka Grayland Washington). It really never gets easier.
This year I couldn’t get a crew together from Oside to go up and I didn’t want to drive my rig solo so I threw my ski in my truck Tuesday night and drove up to Orcutt, CA to Sean Starr’s house to help him, Marisa, and Spark drive. We woke up early and headed to Taylor’s to get the trailer and the rest of the skis to start our mission up north. We took way longer than expected and got a late start.
The drive went good and we pulled into Grayland around 11am on Thursday. Thursday was the rider clinic and check in day. We hung out on the beach and made our way back to the brand new Bogwater Brewing Co. Then made our way back to the camping grounds.
Big shout out to Neal Smith, Bryan Baroussa and Rihanna for taking me in and letting me stay all weekend in the motor home. Sorry for snoring!
Friday, we knocked out every class’s qualifying. Saturday, we moved through rounds to bring us to Sunday’s finals. Nick Barton couldn’t make it to Judge the event this year so, Chris Grace, Pete Macaffe and myself were the judges for the event (minus pro class). Big thanks to them. It went really well and utilizing nicks forward thinking scoring system, we all came to easy decisions for who advanced to the next round throughout the weekend.
Grayland Open Judging arena
Zack Bright Ski looking fresh
Saturday was a very hard day for me hearing the news that Johnny Dady Mr. Blowsion had passed away and that really put a hit on the entire weekend. We decided to carry on for him but it really affected me and a lot of us out there. Our sport lost a huge supporter and we will never forget him.
The finals went really well. Every year the amateurs and rookies really step it up, and this was no exception with addition to a lot of new riders! Honestly the entire amateur field was killing it. There were 6 guys that could win the event and every rider could podium so it was great watching them duke it out! Congrats to my LM team mates Bryan and Sean for taking 1st and 2nd.
The pro class got fogged out which was a bummer for us but in reality, the event is about the amateurs and growing the sport so I didn’t really care. Huge congrats to LM shredder Jeff Bolte for absolutely killing the masters class. That guy is 54 years old and rides better than most 20 year old’s. Best surf riding all weekend! Dudes a legend!
We loaded up and hit the road after the event and finally stopped at lake Shasta to ride the skis in some fresh water. I’ve always wanted to do that and that was super super fun.
Big thanks to Dan Lindgren and all the supporting sponsors for supporting this event. It has really grown since 6 years ago and I can’t wait to see the next 6 years and help out as much as I can!
Beach vibes, judging, people, the scene.
This was the 1st Grayland Open for me ever. Since I’ve been working out west in California for the summer, I have been able to attend some events that I normally would not be able to attend. I figured since I’m here and can meet up for my boy’s the Lawlor Bros. Lets do Grayland! I decided to enter the contest into the master class. Overall I ended up taking 1st place which was cool, I was just stoked to be able to ride with my friends and have a good time.
Jeff Bolte talking on the mic on the podium 1st place speech.
The race was out in Pahrump, NV and the track was much different than your normal race course. Instead of buoys the track has race wall’s and ramp jumps.
This year’s race season has been a bit slow for me due to ski complications, but I knew I had to throw something together for the 2016 Super Area World Cup Qualifier. The race was out in Pahrump, NV and the track was much different than your normal race course. Instead of buoys the track has race wall and ramp jumps.
Since I have been without a ski for most of the year I had to borrow a ride. I entered the stock ski class on Trevor Ritchie’s 650 Yamaha Super Jet and I entered Pro Freestyle on my Yamaha Wave Jammer. I ended up taking a 5th on the mighty square nose Super Jet and a 1st place on the Wave Jammer. It was quite a battle going against faster skis in the stock class. Every moto I was dead last out of the start, I had to work my way up through the pack to gain positions. Overall I had a great time in the stock class.
JOEY MORNEAULT Pahrump, NV
Joey Morneault hitting the ramp
I’d say the Wave Jammer was the crowd favorite over the weekend. Everybody just loves how goofy it looks. Just before the races started I decided to enter the sport spec on the Jammer just to see how I would do. Sadly the 500cc engine couldn’t hang with the competition so I decided to have fun with it. In my motos I was doing no handers and supermans on the ramp jumps. The freestyle exhibition is where the Wave Jammer really shines, it allowed me to put on a good show for the crowd. During my freestyle run I did a handful of tricks off the ramp jumps including 180’s, supermans, and no handers. My finishing trick was a big fountain. I wanted to make it look good so I kept the fountain going till my engine stalled. Sadly I almost sunk my ski in the process, but it was worth it.
Joey Morneault boosting off the ramp
Joey Morneault super man
Joey Morneault-No Hands
Overall I had a great time out in Pahrump, NV and I’m looking forward to the next event on August 27th. I plan to finish up the year by attending the Blowsion Surf Slam and the Pismo Freeride. I had some great support over the weekend from my Liquid Militia teammates and from my coworkers who decided to attend the race. It was nothing but smiles all weekend. Click Here to see Joey’s LM Rider Page.
Camp Far West | Pro Jet Ski Racers Ian and Pete Lifestyle Video and Pics
We were able to make a quick down low trip up to Camp Far West, wayyyyy up in Northern California to a city called Wheatland. Our plan was to meet up with as many of our NorCal team riders as possible and capture some sweet pics/videos of them. In return, we can start putting out some unique footage on our riders that has never been seen before. We think we did just that! capturing the hard work, training, and lifestyle of what it takes to be a racer these days. This first video is featuring two of our racers Ian Roberts and Pete Zernik . We have many more videos to come and lots of footage stocked up. Get ready to get stoked with us. Check the video out below.
Liquid Militia | Pro Jet Ski Racer Lifestyle
Video Description:Pro jet ski racers Ian Roberts and Pete Zernik show us their Nor Cal training grounds, “Jet Ski Cove” at Camp Far West Reservoir. To our amazement the location was just as they had described. The skies were crystal blue and the water was fresh, perfect combination for a killer weekend with the team.
Click on any of these photos to go to the main photo gallery for this trip
Pete Zernik getting in some practice laps on his jet ski
Pete Zernik all set ready to practice.
Ian Roberts – judging the buoys for the turn
Interested in checking out some of the pictures we took from the Camp Far West trip? They are now up, and ready to be seen. You can click on any of the pics above or this link here to view them. Enjoy and cheers to lots more good stuff brought to you by Liquid Militia.
This Pismo trip was a little bit different than what I usually expect. Every trip I come home pumped with lots of good memories to reflect on. This trip I came home with none of those feelings. This trip I came home bummed and with an empty spot on my trailer.
Short one ski | Pismo
The trip started like any other Pismo freeride trip. We headed out Thursday night and came home a few days later. The conditions on Friday were pretty nice. I had a great time surfing the waves and hanging out with everyone, it’s always good to catch up with friends. Saturday the waves were much larger and I was able to get my SuperJet upside down for some awesome pictures. I kept pushing it and wanted more. Nothing but smiles.
It all started out good…
Joey’s pre-disaster set up
Sunday was a little different, usually I don’t ride on Sunday because we have to head home. This trip we decided to stay an extra day and head home first thing Monday morning. I was stoked to have one more day of progression for the trip. I had a good riding session in the morning and then relaxed for a bit. Then I enjoyed some cake by the ocean (Thanks Evan Kilkus).
Now it was time for an afternoon of riding. I suited up and started sending it, this was the first trip that I was really trying to get flips dialed in. I was in the back playing in the big sets with everyone. I was getting tired and I decided it was time to go for one last flip before I head in. Well it turns out that saying ‘just one more’ will burn you every time.
Road Trips to and from
Joey Backflippin’ @ 2016 Pismo Springbreak Freeride
Anthony Nelson – Jamming
I landed the flip but then bobbled and fell over. I scrambled to get my lanyard back in. As I was going to plug my lanyard in I look over my shoulder and see at 10’+ wave right behind me, I knew it was going to be ugly. At this point all I could do is hold on as tight as possible and hope I don’t get separated. That wave was a beast. The ski was instantly ripped out of my hands and I got tumbled like a rag doll. When I finally surfaced I searched for my ski, I saw that it was about 50ft from me towards shore and floating upside down. I immediately started swimming for the ski, luckily my buddy Anthony Nelson swooped in (on the Wave Jammer) and brought me back to my ski. I quickly noticed that not many people were riding at the time, I guess everyone had gone in. So it was basically just me, my swamped ski, and the ocean.
When I up righted the ski I knew there was no way it would start, it was completely swamped. I knew the only way to get it back in would be lay in the tray and hope the waves push me in. My hopes were immediately crushed as another massive wave broke right on top of me and ripped the ski out of my hands again. Luckily after this tumble I could get back to my ski quickly. At this point I noticed that it had taken on lots of water and the nose was starting to go under. I got on the tray and hoped that the bilge pumps could clear it out and I could safely get back to shore.
The ocean decided it had a different plan, I just kept getting hammered with wave after wave. The nose of my SuperJet started to go under and the tail of it started to bob. As the ski was bobbing the current swept me out past the back set. As I was on my way out to sea, my buddy Jake Biland found me and headed to shore for a tow rope. Not long after Jake left, my ski slowly began to go deeper and deeper underwater.
At this point my ski was under the surface and I was the only thing keeping it from going to the bottom. My JetPilot life vest does a great job of floating me, but it’s not really designed to keep a ski afloat. The swells in the ocean were massive, but my ski seemed to stay at a constant level. As a swell would come my ski would pull me under water for a few seconds, when the swell left I could catch a breath of air. I kept holding my breath and going under with my ski as long as I could.
This was where I made one of the toughest decisions of my life, I finally had to let my ski go. (It felt like that scene in the Titanic where Rose lets go of Jack and he slowly sinks to the bottom of the ocean) I watched my ski slowly disappear as it went down in the ocean. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.
Now I was just floating in the middle of the ocean all alone. I was hanging out for quite some time until I saw Jake pop up over a wave. I could tell he was looking for me, but couldn’t see me. I waving my arms so he could easily spot me, he finally noticed me and rode over. I was very relieved to know I would finally be on shore soon.
Happy to be alive | Joey Morneault
I grabbed on to Jake and he began to tow me back in. The ride was a bit smoky from the exhaust, but it was still better than swimming. Before we got to the break I realized that I had to go into the hellhole that I just got out of. Since I was being towed there was no way we could outrun the waves. I held on the Jake as long as I could. When a massive wave came up I had to let go and get tumbled while Jake circled back around to get me. We probably did this 4 or 5 times before we finally made it to shore.
I’ve never been so happy to be back on land. As I slowly walked up the beach everyone stared at me with a puzzled look. They soon realized that my ski was gone. I slowly walked back to the truck and sat down to reflect on what just happened. Riding the surf is like playing with fire, eventually you will get burned. Sadly that Sunday I got burned badly.
After sitting for a moment I flagged down a ranger to report that my ski had been sunk. They took a quick note and said to keep an eye out for it. I was told to fill out a missing vehicle report the following day if it hadn’t shown up yet. After talking to the ranger I walked up to the Liquid Militia tent for some food (Thanks Kyla). We finally started packing up and I noticed a big pile of trash bags on the beach from inconsiderate people that attended the freeride. I piled as much trash as I could on the empty spot on my trailer to take to the dumpster. I thought if I made peace with the ocean it might give my ski back unharmed. Once we made it back to the hotel we had a quick hot tub session and then it was off to bed.
The next morning we checked out of the room and hit the beach. I drove up and down the entire beach hoping that I would spot my ski. Sadly we didn’t see anything. At this point I knew I needed to fill out an official missing vehicle report. I went to the ranger station, filled out the report, and headed home empty handed. The whole drive home I kept looking in my mirror hoping to see my ski, but all I saw were some empty bunks. I got home, unpacked, and prepared for work the next day.
As the week went on reality finally set in and I was super bummed that my ski was gone and I may never see it again. I always had hope of it washing up, but as the weekend approached I began to loose hope. The following weekend I was working at my shop and all I kept doing was staring at my empty stand that used to hold a SuperJet. I felt like I had lost a family member, that ski helped me achieve all of my accomplishments throughout my jet ski career. It was one of a kind and could never be replaced.
Almost exactly a week later (Sunday afternoon) I received a phone call form a blocked number, I answered the phone to hear that a Pismo park ranger was on the other side. He said that my ski was found washed up on the beach and that a towing company picked it up and had it at impound. I immediately called the towing company to find out the details. They couldn’t tell me much since it was the weekend, I had to call back in the morning to figure out what’s going on. I was stoked that my ski had returned. Now I just needed to figure out how to get the ski back.
Motor Carnage | Got Sand
First look at the damage
The following morning I called the towing company and they hit me with some bad news. My tow bill was currently at $580 for getting my ski off the beach and storing it overnight. I was also informed that storage was $100 a day and if I picked it up on the weekend it would be a gate fee of $150 in addition to the current bill. I was really worried that I wouldn’t have the cash to get my ski back. I asked if I could have a friend pick my ski up on my behalf, they said it was fine if they had a note from me.
After calling a few locals I got ahold of Sean Starr who was one of the local freeriders. Sean and I had met at the Grayland Open, but we didn’t really know each other that well. I explained my situation to Sean so he knew what was going on. Before I could even finish my story Sean took the words out of my mouth. He offered to pick up my ski and get it cleaned out for me. Sean also gave me a place to stay when I drove up to grab the ski. Without Sean I would have really been in a bad spot. He did a great job of cleaning the ski and sent me plenty of pictures to help me assess the damage.
Joey, his ski, and Sean Starr | Reunited
1 week in the depths
I was stoked to know that my ski was back in good hands, now I just had to finish a long work week before I could be reunited with my ski. Friday morning finally came and I couldn’t wait to hit the road and get my ski. As soon as I got off, Brandi and I got up to Pismo as fast as possible. We arrived at 2:30 am and found that Sean had a bed for us that was ready to go. We crashed out for a few hours and woke up to a nice dog hoping on the bed. I immediately got up and checked out my ski in the daylight. My ski was absolutely hammered, the hull seemed sound, but everything else was pretty trashed. The ocean broke off my bars, steering, and hood. My ski also got a wrecked paint job along with massive amounts of sand and even a bird skull. At this point it was basically a total loss. I was bummed, but I was happy to have my ski back. After assessing the ski we grabbed some breakfast and hit the road back to Las Vegas.
After I got home I could check out my ski to see the extent of the damage. Besides the hull and a few parts I basically have to start from scratch. I’m pretty bummed about the time and effort I had into my ski, because it was all ruined. I’m now trying to figure out where to start with the rebuild, or if I should just start over. Right now the possibilities are endless.
She’s a bute
Joey | Better Days Ahead
Since my incident many people have asked if I am done with freeride or done riding skis all together. Do you drop a beer and stop drinking forever? Hell no! I will definitely be back. I know my event was very tragic, but it wasn’t bad enough to stop me. I’m sure my SuperJet will live to ride another day, it will just take some time and money to get it back on the water. When I come back I will be pushing harder than ever to make up for lost time. Progression is my drug and I want to keep pushing until I am killing it.
After reflecting on everything I am very grateful for the freeride jet ski community. Without my buddies I may have not gotten my ski back or I may have floated out to sea forever. Our riding community is like nothing else, people went out of their way to help me out and some even put their lives in danger to save me. This is a scenario that I will never forget. If it wasn’t for Jake, Anthony, and Sean I could be much worse off. I may have not been able to write this article.
I’ll see you all this summer, I know there are a lot good time ahead of us on the water!