By Douglas Scott
On August 8 through 10, just seven short miles from the City of Westport, the waves off of Grayland Beach will have more action than normal. The Grayland Open will take place along this popular section of coast in Washington State. Above the crashing breakers and foamy surf, the best amateur Jet Ski free riders will be competing in round one of the US Nationals. The event isn’t just limited to US riders, as six of the top riders in the world will be competing right here in Grays Harbor.
The Grayland Open was nothing more than a thought in the head of organizer Dan Lindgren ten years ago. A decade ago, Dan would invite people to experience Westport and enjoy the surf of the Washington Coast. As his personal event got increasingly popular, he talked to people at other events and decided to make an event happen locally. What started as a local contest, has grown every year since with the possibility of having 50 to 60 of the world’s best riders participating in this year’s event.
On the waves near Grayland State Park, the region is now home to one of the premiere Jet Ski competitions in the US, with daring riders performing aerial tricks on the turbulent waves of the Pacific Ocean. The Grayland Open is one of four competitions at this level and one of the top surf and air competitions in the US. The other major events happen around in the United States in places like Daytona, Florida, Virginia Beach, Virginia and the Oregon Coast.
Attracting America’s best amateur Jet Ski riders for a free ride competition, the Grayland Open is sure to leave you mesmerized by the abilities of these riders. What originally started as a way to expand the exciting sport to his local community, the Grayland Open has evolved into watching the world’s best perform backflips, barrel rolls and numerous other great-named tricks before the judges and fans on the coast.
When asked why people should attend this year’s Grayland Open, organizer and participant Dan Lindgren stressed, “The goal is to open people’s eyes to the sport. Most people around the world would pay a lot to watch the best riders in the world compete, but the people of Grays Harbor have a chance to view world class competition for free.”
With free admission to the 6th Annual Grayland Open, events like this are a treasure for Grays Harbor and should be seen by all. This year’s event has the highest level of talent in the country and will be well worth taking the time to witness it in person. All you have to do is get to the beach, pull up a chair, and break out the binoculars and camera to witness the very best of this fast-growing extreme sport unfold before your eyes.
He went on to explain that extreme sport lovers will thoroughly enjoy and be motivated to get involved in the sport after watching the event. The Grayland Open is a great opportunity for both new riders or anyone curious, as every class of rider is welcome to participate, take classes and learn from the world’s best Jet ski riders.
The event lasts the entire weekend, but the best time to attend will be Sunday morning, starting at 10:00 a.m., when the final heats for the best riders will occur. The top four riders from Saturday’s heats will be participating in the semi-final and final heats, battling it out for a place on the podium. Once the finals are announced, riders invited by the judges are encouraged to participate in the ProJam, where the top five to eight riders perform for 15 minutes to show off their best tricks and wow the crowd. A winner is crowned king of the ProJam to end the event and an exciting weekend along the Washington Coast.
The event is family friendly, as the riders typically bring their extended family along to turn the whole event into a Jet Ski community reunion. The Jet Ski community welcomes the public. Between races and during the event, access to all the riders is granted, with riders more than happy to answer questions about their sport, let you check out their skis (as they refer to the Jet Ski Machines) and explain how they perform such incredible tricks.
With plenty to do in neighboring Westport, taking a weekend trip out to the Grayland Open is something every Grays Harbor resident should take the time to do. Have a day at the beach and watch incredible extreme athletes perform the Jet Ski skills right from our own coast. Rally around the Grayland Open as a boost to the community and economy of the region.
All photos courtesy Grayland Open.