MotoSurf competition powers into Keystone Heights
A motorized surfboard competition is roaring onto the waters of Lake Geneva in Keystone Heights from Thursday through Sunday.
If getting wet and wild isn't in the game plan, the MotoSurf Games 2023 will feature competitions for motorized skateboards along with the feature powered surfboard competition, with racers from all over the world coming to this south Clay County town.
This is the second annual visit for the MotoSurf World Championship racing series after CBS Sports covered it a year ago. Competitors loved the venue last year, said Alan Verlander, head of Airstream Ventures, which is putting on the event.
This weekend's competition, at Keystone Beach/Geneva Jungle at 565 S. Lawrence Blvd., just south of City Hal,l is the first stop on the championship's 2023 season. Admission is free for spectators and $250 for competitors, with free parking.
Competitors have "really mastered" these high-powered surfboards, Verlander said.
"It's almost like a Jet Ski propulsion on the back of a smaller hydroslide surfboard," Verlander said. "These things go up to 40 mph, and these guys and girls are cutting very fast, and the passing happens all the time. There are injuries because of these things going so fast. And last year, there were so many races that came down to the bitter end."
The MotoSurf racing series was established in 2012, using motorized 6-foot-long surfboards that weigh 40 to 60 pounds, powered by a compact 2-stroke gas engine with jet pump drive. The series is officially recognized by the American Power Boating Association. Competition is open to all motorized surfboard manufacturers, with racing venues in 15 countries worldwide.
Last year's event in Keystone Heights saw 40 motorized surfboard racers, with Clay County, the city of Keystone Heights and Airstream Ventures as main partners of the event. Along with junior. men, women and hobby competition categories, there is even one for electric-powered boards. JETSURF USA racer Antony Squire won the men's class.
"MotoSurf is a sport that has grown internationally, and we were one of the first events nationally," Verlander said. "They needed a facility with a lake that has a beach area and indoor facility, and has decking because it's on TV. ... With all of the upgrades they had done at Lake Geneva, it worked very well."
Visitors coming for the racing can also go to Keystone Heights Spring Fling, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on Lawrence Boulevard with a vendor and craft show and food trucks, Verlander said. That means crowds of up to 1,000 people at the beachfront racing venue for Saturday's competitions.
"You have a fun opportunity to get some rays, have some good food and beverages," he said. "These folks have really mastered it."
This year's event starts with Friday qualification on Friday and practices at 4:30 p.m., with Saturday offering heat races, an electric surfboard challenge and other events from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. Then from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, competitors tackle the finals, with a skateboard race as well.
The event also offers a JETSURF Academy from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Thursday for city officials and Keystone Heights residents.