Mon, 25 Dec 2000

Why not jetski to the next island?

By Ivy Susanti

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia is known for its beautiful beaches. At the beach you can feel the breeze, watch the beautiful view and hear the roaring waves.

But if you want to enjoy the beach and the sea in a different way, try jetskiing. Jetskiing is like riding a motorcycle. The difference is, you ride it on the sea. To popularize the sport a new program that allows middle and long-distance journeys to be made on jetskis will soon be introduced.

The Indonesian Jet Sports Association (IJSI) executive chairman, Ishak, said the association would launch the program early next year.

"With the program, those who want to travel from one island to another like in the Seribu Islands (Kepulauan Seribu), can do so on a jetski," he told The Jakarta Post in an interview at his office in the Artha Graha building on Jl. Sudirman in the central business district.

The association has already set up the operating schedule and facility, and is now preparing the marketing scheme by cooperating with travel agencies to promote the program among domestic and foreign visitors or anyone who enjoys adventurous sports. Instructors and sea planes will be provided for the more timid.

Separately, organizer of the jetski club at Horizon Jet Sport Club (HJSC) Jennifer Armand Supit, said jetskiers in her club can make the journey to nearby islands by themselves.

A new jetski cost more than Rp 70 million (US$7,400). But you do not have to buy one. HJSC has six jetskis for rent at Rp 300,000 for every 30 minutes. There are more than 100 jetskis belonging to 80 members of this club, which is jointly run with the Navy.

"Some members have two jetskis," said Jennifer, formerly a jetski athlete.

Jetski was first introduced at Horison Hotel as part of a windsurfing program at HJSC.

Since many people fell in love with the sport, some jetskiers decided to set up the jetski club under HJSC in 1995. At first, the sport was only run at resort hotels, including Horison Hotel in Ancol Dreamland complex in North Jakarta.

Now, jetski clubs are mushrooming throughout the country, especially in big cities.

The association has registered up to 500 jetskiers across the nation.

The youngest member of the association is a nine-year-old while the oldest is a 40-year-old.

"Jetskiing is like boxing. It has age limits. The ideal age to jetski is from 14 to 35," Ishak said.

HJSC alone has about ... members.

Jennifer said the club's membership has sharply increased despite the economy crisis since 1997.

"People say Indonesia is experiencing an economic crisis but many people are still visiting shopping malls and buying branded products. Here, we have many new members who bring their own jetskis," she said. However, she added that there were some older members who withdrew their membership and sold their jetskis.

Other jetskiing clubs include Pantai Mutiara Club, Slippery Team and Diablo Marina in Jakarta, and the Bandung Jet Sports Club in Bandung. There are also some in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Benoa cape in Bali and Sukabumi in West Java. Unfortunately the ones in Bali and Sukabumi are not active.

Oosye Djojorahardjo, 24, started jetskiing when she was 17, and cannot give it up.

"My family loves this water sport. I have tried many water sports like windsurfing and diving, but none of them are as thrilling as jetskiing," she said.

The thing that attracts her most is not only the water nature of the sport, but also the opportunity to be able to race on the sea.

"There is a difference between racing on land and on the sea. The land does not move but the surface of the sea is constantly moving according to the waves," she explained.

Oosye joined a club in Anyer, West Java, when she had just graduated from high school in 1994. After practicing for a while, she decided to leave behind the thoughts of furthering her education in order to focus this sport. She is determined to become a jetski athlete and wants to be the best athlete in this field in three years.

Her parents have given her their blessings although they are worried about her safety as she had once met with an accident.

"Jetskiing is a tough and dangerous sport. In 1995, I was hit by a jetski and my hip bone was dislocated. But it did not stop me from riding the machine," she said.

Indeed, jetskiing is only for those who have the guts to face challenges.

Jennifer recalled how some jetskiers roved far from the Ancol coast and landed on a nearby island.

"They were discovered by fishermen after spending a night on the island. Luckily none of our guests have gone missing," she said.

However, the club is prepared for such a scenario.

"We know how long it would take to travel from one island to another around the Jakarta cape. We have done some surveys. If a jetskier fails to arrive within a certain period, we know that he or she is lost," said the mother of two.