SEA-DOO X-TEAM TUESDAY – August 23, 2011
NAME: Kevin Wassum
SPORT: PWC Adventurer – Ultimate Sea-Doo fan
HOME PORT: Tampa, FL
FAMILY: Corrie Wassum (Wife)
Kevin Wassum was recently crowned the Ultimate Sea-Doo Fan. kevin was one of over 850 enthusiasts that shared their passion for Sea-Doo in the contest launched in the Spring and concluding at CLUB BRP in Montreal in July. Kevin proved his passion and ability to share his experiences and is now continuing his Sea-Doo riding adventures with his friends and wife Corrie and will be sharing those experiences with the Sea-Doo World. Lets get to know him a little better.
Kevin, where did you grow up and where does your passion for watersports come from?
I grew up in Sylvania Ohio, just below the Michigan border. Despite our close proximity to Lake Erie I never really had any exposure to water sports in Ohio. My love for the water comes from the family trips that I went on as a kid to my grandparents’ house in Connecticut. They lived on Quiambog Cove off Fishers Island Sound so I was able to go boating on the ocean at a very young age.
What do you do away from the water to stay on the water? What’s your profession?
I work in downtown Tampa as a software engineer for a company specializing in healthcare software products. Basically, I write computer code to facilitate the storage and transmission of healthcare data on various touch-screen medical devices and servers. The devices and software that I work on are implemented by hospitals and medical centers all over the world. Computer programming probably isn’t what most would consider an “exciting” profession, but it definitely helps provide a bit of balance in my life between intellectual and adventurous activities.
How were you introduced to Sea-Doo?
In August of 2006 my best friend moved to Florida to accept a teaching position in St. Petersburg. My wife, Corrie, and I flew down from Ohio to visit him that same month. I had always wanted to ride a Sea-Doo but never had an opportunity before that trip. So, one of the first things we did when we arrived for vacation was to rent a couple of Sea-Doo GTIs. That ride on the GTIs was my first experience with personal watercraft and I was instantly hooked. From that day forward all I ever talked about was moving down to Florida and buying a Sea-Doo to ride year-round. It took a year and a half of hard work to make that dream come true, but it was absolutely worth it!
Kevin, since then what are some of the adventurous rides you have done?
I’ve been lucky enough to ride all over the state of Florida, from alligator patrolled rivers and lakes to the state’s beautiful surrounding ocean waters. But my most adventurous rides, and what most of the local riders know me for, are the rides I’ve done to the Bahamas. After doing a practice ride from Miami to Bimini in 2010, we set our sights on the dream of making it all the way to the Exuma Islands. It took us six months of constant planning and gathering of supplies, but we did it. This past June I left Miami riding on a 2008 RXT 215 along with a Sea-Doo 180 Challenger SE carrying my wife and two close friends, Jeff Lackey and Ashley Sponaugle. We rode from Miami to Bimini and then to Chub Cay on day one. The following day we rode through Nassau and then down to Norman’s Cay in the Exumas. In all, we were in Bahamian waters for nine consecutive days and made it as far as Staniel Cay before turning back. The trip was not without some tense moments and we definitely had to earn every mile we traveled, but it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life; both very exciting and humbling at the same time.
Where is your favorite boating related event you have been a part of
Up until this past July my favorite boating event was probably the 2010 WaterTop/Barney’s Poker Run in St Petersburg, Florida. That was really the first group ride that my wife and I were able to do. The ride itself was a lot of fun and it had stops at several scenic areas around Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. We also ended up meeting a lot of great friends there and have continued riding with them ever since.
More recently, I’d have to say my favorite “boating” related event was the CLUB BRP convention in Montreal. Having never been to an event like that before, I really didn’t know what to expect but I was really blown away by the whole experience. It was definitely “VIP” from start to finish. To be able to see the BRP Design & Innovation Center was incredible. It was also very cool to be able to walk through the manufacturing plant and see the same assembly line that my RXT was born on just a few years earlier. But the best part was being one of the first to see the unveiling of the new RXP-X 260 and then having access to try all of the different models Sea-Doo makes. It’s basically the equivalent of a kid being given access to everything in a toy store.
What is it about PWC riding that keeps you coming back?
I’ve been riding almost every weekend in Florida for three years now and I still get an adrenaline rush just from driving to the water with my RXT on the trailer. For me, riding a PWC is the only time when I can completely clear my head of all the stress and complications that exist in day-to-day life. As soon as I squeeze that throttle lever, it’s all about the moment and enjoying the ride; everything else drifts out of mind.
One of the greatest aspects about PWC riding is that it’s always different. The water itself and everything in it are always in motion and changing. You’ll never have an identical formation of waves or currents from one ride to the next. Aside from that, there are just so many different ways to ride. The Sea-Doo models available today are really very versatile. Sometimes we go out and ride WOT until our tanks are empty. Other days we take family members out sightseeing on slow, casual rides. Some rides are short range and others last for several hundred miles. With so many different ways to ride, it’s impossible to ever get tired of going out on a PWC.
Kevin, where is your favorite riding location and what is your dream ride?
My favorite local riding location will always be Egmont Key. It’s a small island that sits at the mouth of Tampa Bay and has a lot of great scenery and history. The route we take when riding to the island has a little bit of everything, flat water for speed runs, ocean chop for wave jumping, tons of wildlife, and water depths ranging from four to eighty feet. In the early spring each year the water clarity is at its best and it’s easy to feel like you’re riding in the Caribbean.
Right now my dream ride would be a fourteen day adventure from Miami through the Exumas and then all the way down to Turks & Caicos. Long distance adventures across the ocean on Sea-Doos are pretty addictive. Once you experience the excitement of riding in foreign waters, it’s difficult not to want to keep pushing the limit and go further each year. There’s definitely nothing quite like racing a Sea-Doo around foreign islands in turquoise blue water. To be able to travel that far and be so close to the water the entire way is just an incredible feeling. I think you lose that connection with the water when you travel in a large boat. Besides, I see the passengers on the large boats when we pass, and there’s no way they’re having as much fun as I am.
What are you riding right now and what are looking forward to?
My current watercraft is a 2008 RXT 215 nicknamed “The Red Dragon.” Typically I ride it whenever I go out locally, and I use my wife’s black RXT 215 for long distance rides. We’ve got a combined 381 hours between the two of them. I’m pretty obsessive compulsive about cleaning and maintaining them so I have no doubt they’ll see another 381 hours of operation.
Obviously right now I’m really looking forward to getting the new 2012 RPX-X 260. I was extremely impressed by it in Montreal and I can’t wait to race it around the Gulf down here in Florida. The fact that the engineers were able to increase the RXP-X’s hull length, cornering capability, and playfulness all at the same time is just amazing. It feels like you’ve got the maneuverability of a smaller watercraft and yet it also seems much more capable in rough water conditions. I like the approach Sea-Doo took this year when they focused on building the total package; it has great power and they really put an emphasis on handling and the ergonomics of the craft itself.
BRP thanks Kevin Wassum for his time and passion for the sport and Sea-Doo. You can follow Kevin’s adventures on the OnBoard blog and on his Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/tampaseadoocrew