Messing about on a jet ski looks like the most fun anyone can do on water. But when it comes to racing it is one of the most arduous races anyone can pursue here.
That’s why the annual Jet Around Cayman race is not for the faint hearted. Racing around Grand Cayman on choppy waters at up to 70mph needs a multitude of skills, including supreme fitness, balance and strength.
Jordan McLean showed he had that in abundance at the recent Jet Around Cayman race. It took the 19-year-old student five attempts to do it so he showed that perseverance can pay off in the end.
‘I felt really good and relieved after what happened last year when I broke down when I was in first place at Northside,’ he said. ‘My jet ski broke down on me.’
His generous parents Mack and Elaine, fund his sporting machine. This year McLean rode a brand new Kawasaki Ultra 250.
Not cheap, these machines new are the price of a small car. It’s not modified because McLean wanted it to be reliable throughout the race and ensure it would finish. Last year he took a chance and modified it.
McLean attends the University of South Florida in St Petersburg, about 20 minutes away from Tampa where he studying for a degree in accounting.
Jet skiing is his No.1 sport and just a hobby for now. ‘I might pursue it further after I finish my education.’
He enjoys fishing too so obviously has an affinity with the water. ‘I picked up water sports from my dad. He is quite versatile on the water; sailing, fishing, diving, boating, jet skiing.’
McLean said he won Jet Around Cayman in 1 hour 14 minutes and 22 seconds. His friend Corey Miller, 18, was a minute behind in second place. ‘I was always ahead of Corey, set the pace and relaxed when I got ahead.
‘Next year I want to defend my title and come out with more power. Now that I’ve won the race I want to win it again with all the speed I can.’
He trained solidly for five months to achieve maximum fitness for the gruelling event and knows that that level of fitness has to be maintained. ‘I’ll just continue to excel in the fitness arena.’
McLean successfully defending his title is not a foregone conclusion because Miller, 18, is just as accomplished. Miller won several categories in this year’s East End Surf Challenge and with a slightly speedier bike will be a serious threat next year.
This could be a challenge closer to home too. McLean actually won on younger brother Nathan’s machine. Nathan, 17, kindly sat it out and cheered Jordan on. ‘Nathan’s already on the road to being a better rider than me now.’ So by next year the tussle for first and second could be an all McLean affair.