Although many tourists flock to the bay for their waverunner fix, few venture out onto the vast ocean for a more open water experience. I myself had never ridden a waverunner in the great Atlantic before, but when I did, cruising in the bay felt both limiting and bland in comparison.
Deciding I would take up my friend’s recommendation, I decided to try ocean waverunning for myself, as he hailed it as one of the best things one can do on the shore. After purchasing a waverunner from Pier 47 Marina, there was little stopping me from challenging his statement. After the hassle of lugging it out past the sand to shoreline, the large waves on an especially windy day made me second-guess the endeavor. Capsizing was part of the ocean waverunning experience that I did not wish to encounter. Not one to succumb to fear, I hauled the waverunner out onto the water, threw myself onto the (surprisingly comfortable) seat, clutched the throttle and started off into the water. What were the waves to stop me?
The waves were almost unnoticeable at first, with the waverunner absorbing the force of each one as they rolled underneath the powerful machine. As I gained speed, the waves slowly transformed from irrelevant bumps to mighty ramps that sent my machine and I catapulting many feet into the air. Faster and faster I went, wind in my face complemented by cool splashes of salty ocean water, until I came crashing down one final time to find myself in silky smooth water, a rather sudden and surprising change of pace. Stopping the waverunner, I took a refreshing breath of fresh air and examined my surroundings. Everything around me was quiet, peaceful. Squinting, I could make out the shoreline, free of umbrellas and tourists, as it so often was at sunset. The sunset reflecting on the glassy ocean water, a boat cruising in the distance, the very atmosphere that made Wildwood such an attractive area in the first place! It was as if the entire world had frozen around me, as if nothing but good was happening for miles around, and I felt as if I could devote the rest of my life to just gazing at this magnificent view, but one can only dream.
Looking down by my feet, I spotted three small dolphins mere feet from my waverunner, looking up at me with the same fascination I had looking at them. The dolphins were unlike any I had seen in the past. Instead of a cream color exclusive to their lower jaw, the pearly hue extended onto their entire mouth, making them all the more fascinating. These cream-mouthed dolphins cocked their heads in what I could only assume was curiosity. Fascinated with the creatures, I extended my arm out to the closest of the three. To my disappointment, they scurried off almost as quickly as they had appeared. They are considered illusive creatures by many for a reason!
My moment of zen ruined, and darkness slowly overtaking the skies, I thought it best to make my way back to shore. Examining the waterline for the final time, hoping for another glimpse of the illusive dolphins, I once again placed my hand on the throttle and roared back toward the shore.
Entering the realm of the waves once more, riding with them proved a much more difficult task than riding against them had been. As I launched off of each wave, it became increasingly difficult to maintain a speed faster than the waves while also maintaining balance on the uneven water. I managed to keep aloft for almost the entirety of the stretch to the shore until the very end, when I slowed more than I should have and… A wave took me from behind, knocked me off of the waverunner, and pushed me below the water! I was able to get back on easily and make it to shore, but I assume no waverunning experience is complete without a wreck or two! (Or three, or four…)
By Collin Hall