The East End Surf Challenge is a professionally run event and competition this year will see one of its own – Caymanian teenager, Erika Olde – at the start line.
As Erika tells it, initially she was fearful of jet skis and going fast. But her friends’ encouragement and her belief that you should “do something that scares you every day” got the best of her so she literally plunged into it.
No stranger to East End or this annual event, Olde is the owner of Naut Wukin Racing which started in 2007 as a team and was recently turned into a corporation.
“It made sense to turn the team name into a corporation at this point as we are doing more and more with it,” she says. “We are quite well known in the US now; plan on bringing more to Cayman in terms of racing in the future and continue to sponsor riders both here in Cayman, and in Canada.”
Olde, 19, took part in the exhausting Jet Around Cayman in 2008 – and made it around without sharing the race with another rider. In addition to competing she entered a number of the riders she sponsors in that race and has continued to do so in subsequent years.
She has since raced in Canada and the US, and was the title sponsor of an American Power Boating Association race in Canada with Ray Proulx from R&D Powersports in Canada. It was this title sponsorship which Olde credits with her start in international racing.
Her love of the sport was easy to indulge while a student at St. Ignatius here. However, her passion and determination has taken over now that she is at university in England. It is this commitment which is seeing her professionalism and experience in the sport continue to grow.
“Racing is an amazing extreme sport and I think everyone should have the opportunity to be involved in racing safely and within the rules,” she says. “I want to bring the expected, international level of professionalism to Cayman.
“My goal is to ensure that local racers have sufficient experience to feel confident when racing in the US, because I think that every racer that has the drive should be able to go as far as they can with this sport. Not everyone will make a name for themselves in the sport but it is very important that they go as far as they can to gain the experience.”
Olde has been racing, promoting and assisting with marshalling overseas with the American Power Boating Association which is, coincidentally the same racing body that the East End Surf Challenge recently adapted its new rule book from. This experience will be an asset as at this weekend’s event the ‘start’ will be new to the local jet ski racing scene – and Erika will be there to ensure that is all runs smoothly and in accordance with internationally approved standards. She also has experience with the sport’s other governing body in the US, the International Jet Sports Boating Association.
“We are excited to have Erika assist us with the 2011 East End Surf Challenge,” said event organiser Shane Edwards. “She has gained valuable, professional experience with marshalling/starting races overseas and we are delighted to have her bringing that experience back home to Cayman and to the EESC. I am hoping that her involvement at a professional level will continue and that she will assist us in the years to come as a key member of our race committee.
“The EESC would not be possible without our sponsors, The East End Seaport, Flowers Bottled Water, What’s Hot, Vibe FM, Red Bull, Signs of Paradise, Admiral Administration, Digicel, Cayman Screen Print, First Impression, Massive Equipment Rentals, Caybrew, Maedac Supply, Quality Installation, Radio Cayman, Cayman Airways, Department or Tourism, Shoreway Builders, Intec Research and Naya Wear.”