Lake Stevens man takes jet skiing to the extreme
Curtis Pittman during Novice Ski racing at Lake Chelan in the spring.
Twenty-one-year-old Curtis Pittman has lived in Lake Stevens his entire life but it wasn’t until he turned 15 that he discovered that the lake itself had much more to offer than a nice view and sunny days at the beach with friends.
Pittman is becoming an ‘up and comer’ in the Jet Skiing racing circuit placing in several races around Washington this past year.
After his parents split up a few years ago he made a discovery behind his home, a discovery that would bring him joy and trophies.
“After my parents got a divorce…the ski was parked behind the shed and became totally overgrown with brush. I dug it out and started messing around with it, eventually getting it to fire off for the first time in many years,” Pittman said. “I made one trip to the lake and I was hooked.”
At the time, skiing was more for fun than competitiveness. He would take a run on the lake once in a while but in the last year he has found that competing is actually a lot of fun and that you get to try things at competitions that you can’t always do on Lake Stevens.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t very dedicated to the sport at the time and rode very little on and off from that point until this past summer. I decided I wanted to focus on the sport much more so I just got out and rode more,” he said. “I wish I would’ve been this dedicated to the sport from the start, but hey, life happens and you can’t change it. All I can do now is focus on what I can accomplish in the future.”
He quickly found out that he could accomplish quite a bit. In 2011 Pittman placed in four different categories and qualified to race in the World Finals in Lake Havasu, Ariz.
“I entered my first competition at Lake Samammish about four years ago and I don’t even remember how I did but I know I didn’t win, however it was still very fun,” Pittman explained. “I didn’t enter again until this season and I’ve had varying scores.”
At the first race at Lake Samammish Pittman had a third place overall finish. He went on to take home a second place overall finish at a Motosurf racing (bouy racing in the surf) competition at Grayland, Wash. and at Lake Chelan he placed second overall for the weekend and took a first place finish in a Vintage class race which he did just for fun.
“Next year I will be much more competitive thanks to a much better buoy course ski I recently purchased.”
The most enjoyable part of competing is getting to know his fellow racers, and getting to carve bouys.
“At these events you will see many of the same people who all make the trek to be afforded the opportunity to ride/race with fellow enthusiasts. Everyone always has a blast. I’ve never heard anyone complain after the weekend is over and say they had a bad time at the race. It’s an awesome experience,” he said. “Additionally, carving buoys on a ski is something that not many people ever get the chance to participate in and I absolutely love the feeling of ripping around the first buoy after grabbing the holeshot. Whatever happens after that is part of the sport.”
As Pittman continues to finish up his senior year at University of Washington Bothell he is also making plans for his future on the water and hopes to see a ski racing event started a little closer to home, maybe even in Lake Stevens.
“What can I say, I love the sport and I love competing. Put one and one together and it’s a match made in heaven,” he said.
While he chose not to make the trip to Lake Havasu this year, he is considering it for 2012.
“I’ve been urged by some to make the trip to the IJSBA World Finals next year in Lake Havasu, Ariz. but that is still a full year away,” he said. “Finals are held every year in the first week of October. Long-term outlooks include settling down somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. I love the area and I don’t think I could ever leave the Northwest.”