Riding jetskis, if you are unfamiliar with them, looks like riding a motorscooter on the water, blasting over waves and Riding the Sea, Victorious. It couldn't be much harder than riding a bike, we figured.
We were wrong.
My friend, Eddie, and I were vacationing at the ocean and wanted to try jetskiing. To save money, we decided to rent one and take turns. Eddie went first.
As Eddie zoomed away from the shore, he beamed with eager joy. However, I quickly noticed that he spent an awful lot of time trying to stand up on the jetski, as they are supposed to be ridden, only to fall over. Once you fall off, jetskis have been designed to ride in circles around you.
Presumably, this is to ensure that you do not get stranded in the ocean as your jetski putters off into the sunset. Watching from the shore, it looked more as if the jetski were taunting him.
With each failed attempt to mount the monster, I had to laugh. Clearly, Eddie was just too tall and gawky to ride this thing. I should be able to do better.
After many attempts to ride the jetski, Eddie lay there, hands on the handlebars to keep it from doing its victory laps, but going nowhere. His stomach lay on the jetski footboard and his long legs just dangled like spaghetti in the water.
He was whipped.
"Hey!" I yelled. "Bring it in! It's my turn!"
He returned to shore and collapsed like a long, skinny beached whale.
"Ed, you know that you're supposed to stand up on the thing, right?"
"Go ahead. Laugh," he said. "You'll see. It's not easy."
He tried to warn me, to help me learn from his mistakes, but now was my turn to Ride the Sea, Victorious!
What I learned later Eddie was trying to tell me: Beware the Jets.
Ideally, when you ride a jetski, you give it some gas to get some speed going and then quickly jump up, stand tall, and ride the waves. The key thing is to get up QUICKLY.
The problem in not promptly standing has to do with the placement of the jets that propel the jetski. Picture this: the jets are right at the back of the jetski. When you are getting started, your hands are on the handlebar, your belly is on the footboard and the jets are blasting out what feels like a million gallons of water right below your belly.
Each time you gun the gas, it's like getting a crotch shot in volleyball. And, if the pain from this punch in the South Forty weren't enough, you also have to worry about you going one way and your swimming trunks, the other.
Soon the jetski was doing victory laps around me. It was all I could do to pull my trunks back up.
When I returned to shore, Eddie was smiling, but not taunting. He knew my pain. I didn't even care that I no longer had my pride.
I was just glad to have my swimming trunks.