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Monday, April 22, 2024

JSAP conquers choppy waters of Lake Havasu

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Setting foot on the docks of the storied Lake Havasu for few times already may seem like a hackneyed shtick but nevertheless, this still evokes a proverbial awe from anyone wanting to conquer this notorious lock from Arizona. And like most everybody who is clueless of what to expect, the high winds, whirring roar of the rapids and loud babble of anonymous faces and the thought of tougher races ahead definitely confirm that they are in unfamiliar territory.

Riding through the whitewater is always a first-rate, white-knuckle experience! Simply there is no arguing that, whether you’re new to this experience or not.

But for the Jet Sports Association of the Philippines contingent, when it comes to navigating uncharted choppy waters, it is something they love and look forward to every time.

Unmindful of their own limb and life, the team leaves nothing to chance and grabs the bull by the horns, subduing the waves, the odds and their biggest nemesis, their fears of not besting their former performance.

But what intimidates them is not losing, or getting hurt, it’s failing to give their best shot in representing the country’s colors.

Held recently from October 1-9 at Crazy Horse Campground and Resort in Lake Havasu City Arizona, JSAP successfully represented the nation to the IJSBA.

This dope event, which is slowly gaining grounds in the county for quite some time is a clear recognition that Filipinos can excel in this ports as well.

The sports has been created in the mid-1970s and brought forth the very first World Championship in 1982.

Now, in 2022, this amazing event has been held for 42 consecutive years all on the waters of Lake Havasu, and Filipinos have been making their mark in this arena.

Jet Sports Association of the Philippines

The JSAP for those who do  not know, is a group composed of different responsible and respected individuals from all over the Philippine archipelago sharing one thing in common: their love for personal watercraft or commonly known as “jet ski”.

JSAP started from a small group of jet ski lovers and has now grown into a big community of men and women alike who see jet ski racing as an emerging sports in the global arena. The group is the internationally recognized governing body for the Philippines by the IJSBA (International Jet Sports Boating Association) and by the Asian Jet ski Federation.

The races that the association organize on a yearly basis serves as the training or practice for our very own home-grown jet ski riders. By following the international standard of racing, JSAP hones riders to be at par and aware of the rules and procedures of the IJSBA.

It has always been the goal of JSAP to produce quality riders and have them perform and represent the country in the international jet ski scene.

“As mentioned previously, we regulate the races every year for our riders to have the opportunity to train and compete against each other, developing further the culture of sportsmanship among them in this industry,” adds Ang

From left: Paul Del Rosario, BJ Ang and Anton Ignacio

The World Finals winners

The team that represented the country is composed of the following:

Leading the pack is the team’s rockstar Paul Del Rosario, a bemedaled competitor from the South.

Del Rosario is a full-time father to three boys and a dedicated husband. But one of his greatest love is heeding the call of turbulent waters on his favorite water ski.

On his regular days he wears a hat of businessman, managing their  family business of fishing and commercial real estate, but in his free time and even in his sleep, he is a jet ski beast who gives his opponent no chance at all.

He has been racing Since 1993 but took a 7 year pause from 2012-2019 due to family matters.

To make sure he’d represent he -practice on the track every week, on locations to match the environment does -calisthenics and CrossFit type work outs almost everyday.

For him, mental and spiritual preparation, isolation at the gym no distractions, regular and focused practices are crucial.

He represented the team in the Ski Modified Lites  where he may have came short but still did not let the country down as he improved his ranking recently. It is worth noting that Del Rosario was a World Champion for Ski Modified Lites Category, while he placed 5th in in the Amateur Ski GP 2 Stroke in the recent Havasu championships.

Next is BJ Ang, a pro racer who loves his ski and Ducati superbikes more than anything.  His teammates always look up to him for advices and inspirations as he is one of the most experienced and awarded water ski racers the country has ever produced.

His campaigns in the Pro/Am Runabout 1100 Stock -did not disappoint as he landed 5th place recorded another fifth finish in the Runabout Naturally Aspirated- 5th Place

Ang has been racing since 1997 when he was just 18 years old and aside from jet ski races, Ang is a superbike racer under Ducati Phils.

Since he owns Networx Jetsports in Subic, most members of JSAP always join him in fun rides or trains with him. Ang has always been advocating for this sport since from his own experiences, those who turned into this water sport became more disciplined, dedicated, and conscious about his environment, sportsmanship and concern for other racers are more developed.

Ang also says that discipline and healthy lifestyle are paramount in keeping up with this sports.

The team also prides itself with this young phenomenon Anton Ignacio whom everyone expects to win more championships in the near future. This 16-year-old rider bagged honors from separate categories. In the Runabout Naturally Aspirated category, Ignacio placed  4th while he secured the 7th place in heavily stacked Amateur Runabout 1100 Stock category.

Ignacio who hails from Quezon City is the son of Robert Ignacio, another jetski racer who also bagged awards when he was racing in his 20s. Anton started racing three years ago but his guts, aquatic derring-dos, and mental toughness have captured the respect and admiration not just of his teammates but even his competitors from all over the world.

To make his training more enjoyable and to strike balance in his studies and daily routines, he trains his body through other sports such as basketball, athletics and a little bit of workout. He also made it a point to practice his lines or the routes of the lake on daily basis to get himself completely acquainted with the Arizona lock which is also famous for notorious spring break parties.

When the competition finally unfolded, it was nothing short of a cruise for Anton as he knew exactly what to do the whole time. But not everything was that simple. The part of the race that gave him the scare was the hole shot because they were all racing side by side knowing that they can allow anyone to outrun them but at the same taking into consideration the welfare of every player in the race. It’s safe to say that every competitor had the same concern during the race.

“The most challenging part of the race was the hole shot cause all you guys are right beside each other and you don’t know what might happen, and if you fall you don’t know what you might hit under you,” explains Anton.

And when the waves have subsided, Anton emerged victorious, achieving what he and his teammates have all came for.

The team is also proud to introduce Cody Lorenzo Pontino,  another 16 year-old racer whose consistent exploits in the local and international tournaments make him another promising talent in the sports.  

Cody is just in Grade 10 but he finds time to race whenever there is an opportunity.

He performs really well academically and aquatically! Fact of the matter is he ranked 6th in the Novice Ski Stock division, another crowded segment of the tournament with competitors coming from almost every part of the world.

“I have been racing for 6 years.  I started at 10 years old. I train for the races by doing CrossFit from Mondays to Fridays and practice jet ski on weekends.. I don’t have a special routine but I think eating healthy, sleeping early and staying fit helped me win.”

At his young age, encountering an accident is something that dreads him but even that would not stop from competing and improving his game,

Another important piece in the team is Louie Buhisan. He may be a charmer off the ski but whenever he is riding, he really means business. Like most of the team, he is just starting but he is among those that competitors are looking to ride against. He placed fifth in Novice Runabout Stock

Completing the team is another veteran, Justin Paul Neri who hails from Cebu. His long experience, guts and achievements make him the leader and kuya of the pack.

He has been riding since his teenage years and would not want to quit anytime soon.

He was registered under the Grand Master Ski Class because of his age classification. Justin used to race back in the 90’s and went on a hiatus. This year served as his comeback in jet ski racing. He has been in the racing industry especially car racing for decades now.

He had Cross training for one month prior to world finals focusing on running for cardio, and weight lifting for body conditioning.

“It’s very difficult to give 100% the whole duration of each race…you definitely ran out of air if not fit enough, Nonetheless, JSAP gave me the opportunity to represent the country for my respective class and

True enough, these motley crew of dedicated enthusiasts competed and conquered Lake Havasu brought honor to the country, making a strong statement that we excel outside boxing, basketball and other popular sports.

JSAP will continue to dedicate its leadership to sending qualified athletes and bring honor to our country in this field despite challenges and bumps along the way.

Recently there had been a few issues which challenged the groups leadership and unity.  There were few jealous clubs  wanting to taint the reputation of the  association,

“But we stood our ground and remained steadfast with what we believe in the association. Fortunately, we have been recently recognized by the Philippine Racing Industry as the sanctioning body of jet ski racing in the Philippines and this has brought us honor and pride as our efforts in promoting the sports are finally paying off, “ exhorts  Ang.

After a successful stint at the Lake Havasu gig, the team is now gearing up for another bigger competition set to kick early next years.

Image credits: JSAP

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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