Driving around by any popular beach on New Providence, and even walking around, the sound of jet skis can be heard hitting against the waves. Those local riders can turn that love for jet skis into a professional career through P1 Aqua Cross (AquaX), according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Azam Rangoonwala.
Rangoonwala made that statement at a press conference announcing The Bahamas as the host of the 2019 P1 AquaX World Championship, set for November 8 to November 10, in Nassau Harbour, on Wednesday.
“We made it possible for anybody to go and buy a jet ski and compete within the series on an amateur level to slowly build up their name and then be able to compete in the long term in the pro series and qualify for The Bahamas, and that is the beauty of the AquaX. It is all about accessibility,” Rangoonwala said.
This will be the second world championship event that P1 AquaX will host. The first one was in 2017 in Key West, Florida. This year’s championship will be the first year of a two-year deal between the Atlantis Resort and P1 AquaX.
Rangoonwala wants to get the local boating and jet ski community involved.
“What we do for the boating community in terms of getting the word out is often we will go to – like you say there is a local jet ski club – we will try and involve them in much as possible. We will go and talk to them and explain to them that AquaX is different from your regularly jet ski community,” Rangoonwala said. “What we found in the past with us is that the jet ski community sometimes gets a bad name for themselves but what we do is that we provide a training process within AquaX where they all are regimented. When you join AquaX what you have to do is – yes you sign up but you have to have a certain type of safety equipment and you have to go through a training procedure. What that is, is that you come in and you spend about two hours in a classroom and we teach you what the process is. They have to wear a vest and a certain type of wetsuit. There is quite a lot in getting involved and we try to make it as simple and easy as possible.”
AquaX uses stock jet skis in their races unlike in other jet ski racing where jet skis are modified, making it expensive for the average person to join.
According to Rangoonwala, there is usually a spectator area and they are currently working to see how that will work for next month’s championship.
The reigning world champion, Brian Baldwin, was on hand at the press conference and spoke about the event being in The Bahamas and what he hopes to do.
“It is super exclusive to be here in The Bahamas racing. We have been on a super high this year, basically won everything. I want to continue that streak to come here and win. For it to be here in such an exclusive area is really mind-boggling. The sights and everything here are amazing,” Baldwin said.
The Denver, North Carolina, native is ranked at the top of the Lucas Oil Top 10 World Rankings with 99,283 points. Behind him sits American Eric Francis with 97,077 points. In third place is another American, Chris MacClugage, with 91,401 points.
The professionals go up to 80 miles per hour and can hit that speed in four seconds, said Baldwin. This will be the first time that the American and European circuit riders meet this year. AquaX features both men and women riders, and this year, the world championship will climax a 14-event international AquaX season.
Riders will be competing in the Pro Enduro and Pro Sprint races.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism