Daily, IJSBA checks the news feeds for anything relevant about personal watercraft. Today, while searching topics, we came across several announcements that August 26 is Women’s Equality Day. This isn’t some crazy greeting card company created day, the article reminded us that is a day of reflection on the anniversary of the right of women to vote in the United States. IJSBA celebrates with all of you by reflecting on the women’s competition classes at the 2014 Jettribe World Finals.
There are three competition classes, at World Finals, that are exclusive to ladies: Novice Women’s Ski Limited, ProAm Women’s Ski Limited, and Women’s Runabout. Novice Women’s Ski Limited has always been one of the most watched classes at the start of World Finals as the future stars of Pro Am Women’s Ski are identified when there are stand out performances in the Novice class. ProAm Women’s Ski has been fiercely contested over the years with speeds and performances that rival most classes where men predominately participate. Likewise, we have seen a few athletes that dominate the Women’s Runabout Class dominate classes which are traditionally men’s runabout classes.
In the times that many consider the golden era of Personal Watercraft Racing, two names dominated the women’s classes: Tera Laho and Karine Pautrel. Tera Laho became the undisputed top female ski competitor (a crown she took from Christy Carlson- which Christy was able to wrangle back one year) while Karine Pautrel was an unstoppable force in Women’s Runabout. Both of these female competitors similarly participated in men’s classes (classes outside of women’s named classes are gender neutral but are frequently participated in by men). Tera Laho spent complete seasons running Pro Ski devoting equal time between that class and Pro Am Women’s Ski. Those lucky enough to be in Valleyfield, Canada, when Tera nearly won the Pro Ski main event (Jeff Jacobs overtook her at the final moments) witnessed a spectacle that is still heavily discussed to this day. Kaurine Pautrel was dominant in many men’s classes especially 800 Runabout categories. She was a competitive Pro Runabout contender all the way until her retirement.
Contemporary competitors like Amy Green, Emi Kanamori, Kylie Elmers, Anya Colley, and Rachel MacClugage have set numerous standards in women’s classes while capturing victories in men dominated categories.
So, we thank you, Congresswoman Bella Abzug, for creating this day of acknowledgment in 1971, so that we can reflect upon it and become inspired to give extra recognition to our female athletes.