Benjamin Cupid is a footballer looking to start a legacy with jet ski racing.
With numerous trophies at Elite Sports Club and national team experience, Cupid has followed the road to glory on the pitch. Thanks to a class title at Jet Around Cayman 2012, the born-and-bred West Bayer is imitating those feats on the water.
Cupid, 24, states both disciplines require similar attitudes for success.
“The difference between jet skis and football is jet skis need more upper body work,” Cupid said. “Football is mostly with the legs and your lower body. I had to ride a lot of bicycles for this event. Like football, it takes a good mental attitude.
“This is my first Jet Around ever and I used a Kawasaki Ultra 260 making 260 horsepower. I had raced the Cayman Islands Watercraft Association circuit last year. My team offered me a craft and a chance this year and I took it.”
Cupid, competing for the Nuttin 2 Lose team, won the rookie class at this month’s Jet Around and took home US$500. His time of one hour, 43 minutes and 13 seconds around Grand Cayman was good enough for fifth overall.
The overall winner would be Cupid’s team-mate Gary ‘GJ’ Whittaker, 21, who had a time of 1.31.32. The Newlands resident, who grew up in East End, used a heavily modified Kawasaki Ultra 300, making 350-375hp, to earn US$5,000 by winning the Pro Open and Expert Open categories.
Kaleb Ebanks of team Wes-Tec was second in 1.35.15, using a lightly modified Yamaha FX SHO that reportedly makes 260hp. Ebanks claimed the Amateur class title and US$1,500. Javier Medina, on a Ultra 300 with a fully-built motor making 300hp, was third for Nuttin 2 Lose in 1.38.11. He competed in the Amateur and Expert Open segments, earning US$1,500.
The other notable winner was Scott Hydes, who was fourth overall for Wes-Tec. His time of 1.40.53 was good enough to place third in the Expert Open segment and earn US$500.
Jet Around organiser Kenny Rankin, who had help putting on the 16th edition of the race from Vincent Ramgeet and Don Patrick, states those performances are encouraging.
“Jet Around Cayman 2012 was a tremendous success,” Rankin said. “We had a record number of new riders enter this year in the rookie class with some as young as 17-years-old. After 16 years, I am pleased to see that the sport of jet ski racing continues to grow in the Cayman Islands.”
For the record, race prizes included a cash pool exceeding US$10,000, iPhone 4S phones from LIME, airline tickets from Cayman Airways, gift certificates and Go Pro cameras.
Of the 13 competing racers, Cupid started near the back of the pack, placing 11th at the first checkpoint. He would be eighth at the second checkpoint and sixth at the third marker. It should be noted only eight riders finished the race as many crafts broke down. Cupid states it was not an easy competition.
“It was actually my first time around Cayman in a jet ski. The weather was hell, East End was crazy. My eyes were burning from the water in my face.
“It was a good experience and I’m hungry for more in the sport. I want to get a faster craft as the top guys are ahead of me with horsepower.”