Happy Fourth Of July 2017. America has few dates that can be considered its birthday. Most commonly, American's reference July 4th, the anniversary of a declaration of independence from a institution that professed sovereignty over the land and persons who inhabited it. Really, though, there are several combined dates that truly forge the creation of the United States of America (Managing Director's graduate studies in American Political Science nerd alert) such as the creation of the first Continental Congress, or the drafting, and then later ratifying the Articles of Confederation. Most people pick the 4th of July and celebrate the day by reflecting on freedom and sacrifice with friends and loved ones and, also, with barbecues, fireworks, and a couple of first and occasional second degree burns to go along with it.
We also ride, and sometimes even race, Personal Watercraft on the Fourth of July. Like America, and America's birthday, PWC are an amalgamation of many things. Watercraft are generally regarded as an American creation, dating back to an improvement on prior art spearheaded by an American born inventor, named Clayton Jacobsen, in the 1960s. Jacobsen's first jet powered device was developed, first, by a Canadian manufacturer and, then, by a Japanese manufacturer. Like America, commercial developed PWC have an earlier origin in the United Kingdom. The UK had an open propeller powered sit down vehicle available in the 1950's. Some United States mechanical renderings of a water vehicle, having a PWC appearance, purport to predate the commercial vehicles available in Europe.
World Finals is based in the United States and, not surprisingly, IJSBA, originally called the USJSA in the late 1970s, is headquartered in the United States as the bulk of the world's PWC are sold in the USA. However, other World Championships are held outside of the USA such as the popular Endurance and Offshore World Championships and occasional Surf and Indoor World Titles. P1 Aqua X is a UK organization (that somehow has hijacked IJSBA's mention on the PWC article on Wikipedia). Our three letter rivals who love to claim to be the "official World Title authority (despite not producing any PWC races until more than a decade after the first World Finals) have a European headquarters (at least we think so, we have never been invited over for tea). Watercraft have been produced in American, Asian, and European continents.
So, whatever the actual birthdate of America and whichever continent can claim to be the parent of Personal Watercraft, we all have reasons to celebrate today- and every day for that matter. We are lucky we get to be on this planet and lucky we have the choice to race watercraft and are also lucky to have many options in our watercraft racing choices- especially lucky when IJSBA is the choice!! IJSBA is celebrating this little enigma of ours by spending July 4th on a plane to the 2017 European Championships in Austria. There, we have meetings with several nations on increasing the global control of how IJSBA is governed and preparing for the 2017 Congress of the Rules. The 2017 European Finals are title sponsored by Jettribe- an American company owned and managed by a Vietnamese PWC enthusiast. The organizer is a Belgian national. This really is a fun and interesting global family we have no matter what our origins.
Have a safe and wonderful Fourth of July. Check IJSBA's website, this week, to see a lot of the things missing from the old website now appearing on the new website. If you are patiently waiting on something from IJSBA, the chance of you getting it by Friday is pretty hi.