Cayman’s jet ski racing scene not only has world class men competitors, there is a woman barely out of her teens who is vying with the best on the planet too.
At the IJSBA Quakysense World Jet Ski Finals in Lake Havasu, Arizona, Erika Olde became the first Caymanian woman and one of the first riders ever to make it to the podium after only three years of racing. Olde took home the bronze trophy behind veteran racers Amy Green of the US (champion) and second placed Paloma Noceda of Peru. in the Pro Women’s Runabout Limited class three weeks ago.
Olde, who recently turned 20, blasted into the local jet skiing race circuit in 2008 when she was the first woman to successfully compete in Jet Around Cayman without a secondary rider. Competing in Jet Around Cayman takes incredible strength and stamina and for Olde to do that at 16 was incredible. She has since fine tuned her racing skills by competing in races in Cayman, Canada, the USA and United Kingdom.
Appropriately competing under the number 007, she could certainly give Mr Bond a good race. She has quickly moved up the ranks in that time and taken home several national second place standings on both the APBA and IJSBA USA National Tours. Her steady rise to the top has attracted the attention of sponsors and this year, she landed her first factory sponsorship with Yamaha.
A marketing major at Regent’s College in London, Erika mixes her racing and training schedule with her academic schedule. If that were not enough to keep her busy, Erika is also the owner of Naut Wukin Racing. She sponsors and trains five racers in both Cayman and Canada. “This is a team sport,” Olde says. “You need your team. All I want is for them to do the best they can and for me to do the best that I can so I can be a good leader.”
Olde also highlights fellow Caymanian Jordan ‘JJ’ McLean as a motivating force. “I would like to congratulate JJ on his amazing first place finish in the world finals. It’s incredibly difficult to make it to the podium at the world finals because you not only have to do well in the IJSBA tour throughout the year but you also have to do well in qualifiers to get to the main event.
“The best racers from all over the world are there. Most people just dream of coming first and it takes years to get there. For JJ to finish first in his first five years of racing at the international level is an incredible accomplishment.”
The strong finish at the recent world championships is just the beginning for Olde. She has big plans for herself and her team after she graduates from university next year. In addition, she has a hand in behind-the-scenes racing. Naut Wukin Racing sponsors the Eastern Canadian Nationals each year in Belle River, Ontario. Olde finished second in this race in the Pro Women’s class and second in the novice class after Nathan McLean of Bodden Town. Other Cayman racers who have done well in Canada include Corey Miller and Taylor Foster who finished third and fourth respectively in this class.
Olde still has many racing ambitions. “I am a supporter of racing all over the world. I plan on racing everywhere I can. I support the Canadian, American and Cayman Islands watercross associations. When I finish school next year and return home to Cayman, I plan to increase my support of the water associations here.
“Thanks to my family and friends who support me, I can be anything I want to be. My team members are there for me whenever I need them and especially Ray Proulx who has been my devoted manager and mechanic since 2008.” She is particularly thankful to her sponsors: R&D Powersports, YAMAHA, Jet Pilot and Spy.