ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A new kind of surfing has made its way to the Bay Area.
It’s called Jet Surfing and uses a motor to push boards and riders to new heights. Since the Gulf isn’t really known for huge waves, this new water sport gives surfers some extra horse power to make up the difference.
Jet surfing started in Europe. Now that it’s making waves in the U.S., enthusiasts in the Bay Area turned this fun hobby into a full time job. In St. Petersburg, Shawn Luttrell said it was his obsession, so it only made sense to start his own jet surfing business.
"I saw one of these fly by me. I didn't know what it was, and I had an instant passion for it,” Luttrell said. "It's very new to the country and I'm one of the first to do it."
He's an instructor and rents out the boards through his business, Jet Surfing Tampa Bay, and it's really picking up speed.
"It’s one of the funnest [sic] things I’ve ever done. I mean, you’re going over water at 25 miles-per-hour standing up, with a motor between your feet. It's like something you've never experienced," he described.
It works like a surf board and a jet ski combined. You hold a throttle in your hand, and if you get thrown off or lose control, it automatically shuts off.
"They were designed by the Formula 1 team, surfing 30 to 40 foot waves," Luttrell said.
Jet Surf Tampa Bay operates off North Shore Park and throughout different beaches in the Bay Area. Luttrell says he always takes beginners out in the calmest waters.