Tucked away in New Zealand’s most private beaches and estuaries lie the country’s most incredible spots for fishing and water sports. To celebrate the launch of the new 2017 Yamaha WaveRunners, we caught up with extreme water sportsman Jesse James to pick his brain on how to find these hidden gems, and on how he’ll be making the most of getting out on the water this summer.
1. You work closely with Yamaha and are often out on the water on WaveRunner’s, but how did you first get into water sports/wakeboarding and jet skiing?
I first got into water sports when I was about 4 years old. I still remember my Dad teaching me how to surf and water-skiing followed a couple of years later. A family friend lent us his wakeboard to try and from then on I was hooked. I bought my first WaveRunner when I was 17, and took that thing everywhere I went!
2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done on a WaveRunner?
Tow surfing! When the waves get to big to paddle or you just want a session of surfing without the hassle of paddling out, the WaveRunner becomes gold. The west coast is perfect for this.
On big surf days we will launch the ski at Muriwai and head up the beach. Stepping off is the most fun you can have while out surfing! You need to sit sideways on the ski with your surfboard under one arm while the driver puts you in the perfect position on the wave before it breaks. Dive off the side and get straight to your feet.
Because of the momentum, you can be up surfing long before the wave jacks up, the ski carries on down the wave and follows you. As the wave gets faster and steeper you are in the best position to get the perfect barrel. No paddling required!
3. Where’s your favourite place to take it for a spin?
There’s a secret spot on a lake near Taupo where you can ride right up the creek. It is too small for a boat but perfect for a ski. At night, all the sides of the creek are lit up with glow worms. It’s incredible, you can't tell where the walls end and the stars start. That's New Zealand for you. Full of hidden gems waiting to be explored.
4. Where do you plan on taking the WaveRunner’s on your next adventure?
My next adventure will be taking the WaveRunner up to the Bay of Islands to go spear fishing. We’ll launch near Russell and head out to the hole in the rock. It's so wild out there and the king fish get really big. With nothing but by mask, flippers and spear gun, I'm hoping to shoot one of these giant fish!