07-08-2010, 03:05 AM #1
My Guide to Wave Jumping with a PWC
A KK Guide To Wave Jumping
I thought I would create a thread for methods and tips that I personally use for wave jumping on pwc's.
It's crazy stuff but like most people, if you're gonna do it, you're gonna do it.
Firstly understand that most ski's with fuel weigh around 400 - 500 kg. If you do come off, you will be in the water with a vessel weighing half a ton that will get thrown around like a rag doll in the waves. You, or others, don't want to be on the receiving end if this happens. This all the sudden becomes a very serious situation if/when you come off. Will you come off? Almost guaranteed at one point or another. I've come off numerous times and still see very experienced people come off from time to time. I'm not trying to scare people off but more so understand the risks. So let's try and do it safely.
Here's some tips so you hopefully don't end up in that position. Jumping waves is fun and I get a real rush out of it BUT it can be very dangerous and expensive if done wrong. I have personally seen ski's get damaged, smashed, seats come off and hulls fill up with salt water covering the engine, etc, etc.
I get asked alot, how do you do it? Words are hard to explain it, it's more of a 'feel' and just do it. But l will try and put it in words to answer that question the best I can.
Im not saying at all that I know everything and this is what everyone should do. But more so for people who to use this as a guide. My intentions with this thread is to give advice, mainly those who want to go out and play in waves so they are not endangering themselves or others. In recent times I have been fortunate to get valuable advice from a pwc wave jumper with over a decade of experience. When I get a tip from this person, it is a 10 year old plus experienced tip - so I listen, and listen well. This has enabled me personally to become more fast tracked and experienced, resulting me in having more fun, quicker. If I'm having fun, why can't others......
I am not the 'beez neez' and I am not saying that I am in any way or form, but I do feel I have information that may be helpful to others starting out. If I can help just one person from this thread to enjoy the pleasures that I do with wave jumping - then it has served its purpose
1. Understand Waves and Wind:
Ask yourself, are you on a reef breaking wave or a sand beach breaking wave?
Reef Breaks: Will usually form in the same spot, over and over. There is a permanent reef/rock underneath them. Reef break waves generally move faster than beach break waves. Yes, there are rocks in the area and the water will be shallower compared to beach breaks. Reef breaks are more dangerous I don't personally recommend starting off in these areas.
Beach Breaks: Are generally slower waves that can be sporadic in the way they form. They form on a bed of sand and in an area they can break left or right and peak anywhere along the beach. They generally won't form in a uniformed manner like a reef break. The major benefit of starting off jumping in beach breaks is that if you ever get yourself in a sticky position - you can head for the shore and use it as a safety net. Know that waves diminish closer to shore. You can't do this when on a reef or you will end up on rocks! That's why it is important to know the area.
Waves come in what is known as sets. A set is the collective noun for waves. Each set maybe contain different sized waves and different amounts of waves. This creates constant changing wave conditions.
Different winds create different conditions.
Offshore Winds: Meaning the wind is blowing off the shore and into the water. In Southern Victoria (Australia) this will generally be northerly winds. Because it's blowing into the wave, the wind will create a cleaner surface of water and will hold the face of a wave up for longer. These are ideal wind conditions because you have more of a chance to time your jump better.
Onshore winds: Meaning the wind blows from the water onto the shore. Basically, this sucks. The water will be lumpy and bumpy, the waves are generally flatter and most important thing to know is that the wave will close out quicker on you as the wind is coming from behind it.
2. Upon Arrival to a Jump Area:
There must be no paddle surfers or swimmers in the area. Obey all state and local laws accordingly
Familiarise yourself with the surf conditions and how the waves are breaking and forming.
Understand the area you'll be playing in
Know where all hazards are first like rocks, reefs, shallow points
Recognise any seaweed which may get stuck in your intake grate
Look for the impact zone otherwise known as 'The Pit' (common on reefs) and be aware of it. The Pit can turn out to be a classic case of 'Wrong Place, Wrong time'
Respect surfer's positions and their restrictions. They don't have 250 HP under them and are limited to areas. We can go anywhere.
Every time I come to a jump area, (regardless if I've been there before), I watch a set or two and see how the waves form and break. Read the waves and familiarise yourself with conditions before jumping. Every wave is different so different situations may arise quickly.
Also, know the 'safe zone'. This is the half way mark from the peak of a wave is and where the one in front of it has broken. In this safe zone is when you can manoeuvre and prepare for the next coming wave. The closer you are to the peak, the less time you will have to steady up and be ready for the wave. One set may come in and there will be a large safe zone. The next set will come and a safe zone is non existent - you will land off one wave and be jumping the next straight away.
3. The Jumping Part:
Don't go jumping on your own
Know your limits
I recommend you wear a GATH Helmet, which a watersport helmet designed for being in the water.
Watch out for other skiers in the immediate area. ALWAYS know where they are. I will pull away from perfectly good wave if I don't know where my jumping partner is. He may very well be on the other side of the wave. (Note - Yamaha's have a rooster tail that squirts water up 2 metres high. It's designed for this purpose. Open your squirter if you have installed a stop tap to it. It may stop a 400 kg ski landing on you)
When in groups/packs, jump in a clockwise or anti-clockwise manner. All people should be moving in the same circular direction. You jump, then go around to the 'back of the line'. This will avoid chaos and collisions and works a treat.
The hardest thing to learn is to take it slowly. It looks easier than what it is. Everybody tends to get a few good jumps, then overconfidence steps in. You bight off too much and pay the price. This has happened to me and probably has happened to most other jumpers one time or another. Getting it wrong can hurt alot. So slow and steady wins the race. Patience and Practice.
A hard thing to find is a place that has comfortable sized waves for beginners
You want to start off small. Preferably a place with no rocks and not too shallow
One thing I see alot of, is people go fast at the waves. This is how you land the ski nose first or 'belly whack' the ski. Both are not good for you or your ski. You want to try to land the ski tail first with the nose up and the bum down. Going faster doesn't mean you will jump better/higher.
I personally try and find a wave that has a reasonably steep face, that isn't broken or just at that point of ready to break. Line yourself up and hit the wave at a 90 degree angle. By doing so you will land straight and even.
When you select a wave to jump (not to big remember), approach it slowly (virtually idling) and let the wave come to you. As you meet the wave and start to ascend, that's when you give it some power. Just push the ski up the wave. If you get it right, the nose of the ski will ride up the face of the wave and will continue in that line off the crest, giving it a good angle in the air. Just relax and let the ski do the work. Land with the ski and keep your knees slightly bent. The wave will then move underneath you towards the shore and you will land at the rear of the wave. If all has gone well, the tail of the ski will touch the water first, then the rest of the ski will just 'fall' into the water. There you have it.
Sometimes you come across that the wave has broken early and you have no time to turn around, once you've committed - your committed. If you turn, you'll get thrown off. So a tip to go over broken waves is to tuck your head down and pull into the handlebars a bit closer and hold them tighter. The force of the water will push you back a bit. If you have your arms straight and get forced back you will end up letting go of the handlebars. So tuck in and anticipate you are going to be forced back. Depending on how much it is broken, you will need forward momentum to get through it. You can't just 'roll over' the wave, but you can't blast through it either. It's best if beginners stay away from broken waves where they can, till they are more confident.
4. If you come off in the water or if the PWC capsizes:
Get to your ski as quick as possible
Have the ski facing the shoreline and get on it from the back. The reason why you have it facing the shore is that if a wave comes, you will more than likely just be pushed forward with the white wash. If you are side on, you may tip over.
If your ski is upside down, know how to roll your ski up right. This is important as ski's are designed to be rolled over a certain way so no water get's into vital parts that may cause damage to the engine. Mine has picture on it with which direction to roll it. I have had to do this before. Climb on top of PWC from the right side, reach over the ski and grab the rails with both hands. Pull the ski towards you using your feet or knees for leverage, and use your body weight to turn the ski over.
You may be in a position where another wave is coming (like what happened to me). Make sure you are between the wave and the ski, not in front of it as you don't want the wave to throw a 500 kg ski onto you.
Sometimes you may be in heavy white wash and experience what is called 'cavitation'. This is where the prop has inability to push solid water through because of the high amount of air bubbles in the water, resulting in no acceleration. If this is to happen just let go of the throttle and gently accelerate again and feel for the prop to bight in, then accelerate.
I am not trying to put fear into anyone about the dangers of jumping. But you do need to know what dangers are involved and what to do if you come off. You must study a beast before you can tame it.
Jumping is fun and nothing beats the feeling of reaching for the sky on a ski.
Study the area you are jumping in
Know your limits
Go slow over the waves as you jump
Aim to have the nose up and land tail first
Know what to do if you come off
Don't jump alone
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This post was originally made for PWCFUN.com.au but it's valuable information that should be shared for all. Enjoy.
I am happy any feedback or constructive criticism which may improve this post.......
Last edited by Krazy Koika; 10-14-2010 at 04:28 AM.
07-08-2010, 05:59 AM #2
Last edited by K447; 05-13-2013 at 12:00 AM. Reason: Removed quite with damaged formatting
07-10-2010, 07:26 PM #3
lol uncola - not many people have noticed that. good stuff!
08-18-2010, 07:06 PM #4
08-25-2010, 03:27 PM #5
That is some sweet air you got there, I have gotten that high and let me tell you...it is just one of the coolest 3-4 seconds ever...you are literally flying! then just make sure you get a good landing because it can hurt coming back down.
01-21-2011, 08:06 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
- Fort Lauderdale, FL
Great write up and whata photo =)
01-29-2011, 08:54 PM #7
01-31-2011, 08:31 AM #8
02-04-2011, 06:34 PM #9
My gath helmet is very comfortable and easily worn all day without being a hindrance.
When jumping you can land in all sorts of manners and directions, so the risk of potential head collisions is imminent.
I even wear mine when I'm not jumping. I'll have it on when just cruising/riding at top speeds
09-22-2011, 08:22 PM #10
Been wave jumping a few times, but there is some very good information there, and some things i didn't know too.
Its always a good day when you know more at the end, than you did in the beginning.
Gnarly air BTW; great job!
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