He may have entered this year’s East End Surf Challenge just for the fun of it and to see how he would fare, but in 2006 Jordan McLean will be in everyone’s sights, for it’s clear that this slender built 2005 John Gray High School graduate would like to take all his opponents to school.
‘Definitely I’m a wanted man now,’ he starts off. ‘Everyone will be after me and I look on all riders as a challenge, but my goal is to defend my title as the top gun in the Modified Class,’ says McLean.
He adheres to the theory that you don’t mess with success, so his training regimen remains the same. A month prior to the Challenge he’ll take to the gym for five hours a week, working on strengthening those leg, arms and back muscles in anticipation for the pounding ahead.
Tactically, Jordan is very specific about where he’s going.
‘My mindset will be the same, that is to sit back and let things unfold before me, but I will be working to improve my buoy course skills. The aim will be to perfect tighter cornering, which of course means saving time and distance. Obviously there is an element of risk here and it takes some skill because one slip and what looked could be a feast might turn out to be a famine. However, I’ve learned more patience and working with a specific craft in 2006 is going to be a plus for me.’
This is coming from a young man whose record in pluses is very impressive. He’s enrolled at the University College of the Cayman Islands studying for his Associates Degree in accounts, after achieving nine external passes in high school. Those achievements haven’t passed by the eyes of Challenge organizer Shane Edwards, who calls McLean a ‘fine example of what a jet-ski racer should be. Somebody who puts himself into the sport, but not to the neglect of his academic achievements; in fact the two should be complementary.’
Jordan, who says he surprised himself in 2005 when he came out on top in the Modified Class, won’t have that luxury now, but he’s clearly got great expectations for his team this year and talks about at least closing the gap on last year’s overall winner Vance Ramgeet.
‘I definitely believe that adaptability is one of my strengths, so I’m going out there with a positive frame of mind and I’ll react to what I see. I’m looking forward to 23 January, and this time I have the experience of last year to lean back on.’
Jordan sees the Challenge to be evolving into a major event that will challenge other fixtures on Cayman’s sporting calendar.
‘I believe that there has been steady improvement both in terms of organization, riders and skills as well as fitness.Riders are getting better at their game, with more capable craft under them. And it appears as though while the element of fun is there, guys are taking matters a whole lot more seriously and rivalries are there. From the standpoint of the spectators there is no question that they have grown both in numbers and interest.
‘One area where I feel that more could be done by the organizers is to clarify the differences in classes. It’s possible that people see everything in terms of the overall standings, while there could be a real dogfight among those who are not up at the top with the overall leader.’
However it turns out, all things being equal, Jordan McLean’s face and name should be in the top bracket come race day.
He’s aware of it and what it requires.