Jumping a ski can be a really risky but rewarding way to ride. Make sure you’re well prepared so it’s not the last jump you’ll do!
Like all things in life, jumping a jet ski comes with a few do’s and don’ts.
Getting air on a personal watercraft is a lot different than when you would jump your bicycle off of dirt ramps as a kid.
It’s best to have a general understanding of what you should be doing before you go barging the water.
This list will show you a handful of tips as well as things to avoid when you’re jumping a PWC.
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1. Take things slow
Opening up the throttle and jumping some wakes is a great time. That might be the very reason you bought a jet ski in the first place. However, you should really take the time to be sure you know what you’re doing.
Have you ever heard the phrase “test the water before you swim in it”? Well, you should always test the waves before you hit them going full throttle. Do a couple of slow jumps and feel things out. Once you get your speed dialed in you’ll be able to hit the wave correctly and get the best jump possible.
2. Know the best weather for jumping a jet ski
Weather is a huge factor in boating, and specifically in the world of PWC. If you’re looking to jump some natural waves then going out on a flat day is a bad idea, even if you live near the ocean. Windy days are always going to produce the best waves.
Although it may be tempting, never go out on the water in severe weather. Some riders will go jump a jet ski when a hurricane is approaching because they get the best waves. What happens if your jet ski breaks down and there are 5ft+ waves all around you? That’s not a good time for anyone.
3. Find the right location
Knowing the prime locations to jump a jet ski will make things much easier. Find out the best section of your local river or beach to get a good wave. Think about local waterways that have a lot of traffic such as barges or other similar vessels. Be mindful of other watercraft and never jump too close to them.
It’s best to only jump the wakes of boats that gave you permission, otherwise, it can be seen as rude and dangerous. If you have a friend with a boat, have them take it out and make one big lake day. If you’re lucky enough to have two friends with boats, you can have them ride parallel to one another to make a “V” wake. This is one of the most fun wakes to jump and your friends on the boats can film you.
4. Be safe
Always have a PFD (personal floatation device) on and take the time to judge waves. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure your landing area is clear. Don’t try beating someone else to a wave. One wave isn’t worth crashing into someone else and damaging yourself or your jet ski.
The best helmet for jumping a jet ski along with other safety equipment is mentioned in this post on essential jet ski accessories.
5. Jumping alone
It is very ill-advised to jump with a passenger. Even riders with experience jumping a jet ski bailout from time to time. Riding over small wakes occasionally is okay but if you’re getting significant air time you might want to go solo. Jumping by yourself makes the jet ski more maneuverable, and lighter.
6. Choose the right jet ski
Some jet skis are going to be better for jumping than others. Jumping a jet ski that is designed for recreation is going to work much better than a luxury jet ski. Recreation jet skis are lighter, more agile, and have better hull designs for jumping. Also, try sticking to jumping 2 seater jet ski’s rather than 3 seaters. Any jet ski can jump waves, but the difference is definitely noticeable.
7. Have good form
Before you go barreling towards the nearest body of water, know how to jump a jet ski. When jumping a jet ski, try to land vertically. Landing with the tail end first breaks the surface tension of the water and greatly reduces impact when landing. Your landing should be one fluid motion and there should be very little impact regardless of the size of the waves. Many people are used to trying to land flat because on land vehicles have suspensions to absorb the shock. Landing flat on the water can damage your jet ski’s hull.
Sometimes beginners go too fast towards waves and end up blowing through them rather than jumping them. They key is in your timing. Blowing through waves like you’re riding through choppy water will result in smaller jumps as well as more bumps and bruises.
When waves are one after another, ride slowly over the crest of the wave directly in front of the one you want to hit. As you get over the top of the first wave, accelerate down the back of it and jump the second one. It may take some practice before you build your own technique.
8. Have fun!
Learning how to jump a jet ski properly is going to take some time. It’s okay if you mess up, just try to have fun while you’re learning. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Spend a little while watching videos or other people jumping their jet ski and learn from them. In the end, it’s all about having a good time!