Lake Havasu is synonymous with Jet Ski.
At least that’s what one economic development official thinks backed by the thousands who come here to race.
By CHRISTINA CALLOWAY
On Thursday night, about 60 people, including residents and nonresidents of Havasu, attended a meeting at Shugrue’s Bridgeview Room with the intention of organizing a group to be the voice of the watercraft community in Havasu.
The Havasu Personal Watercraft Association wants to bring the importance of the personal watercraft community to the forefront by highlighting the positive economic impact the sport has on Lake Havasu City.
The groups is also eyeing Body Beach as a historical landmark for the sport and wants to preserve local riding areas to be used by local and international personal watercraft owners and racers.
Jason Schriner traveled to Havasu from southern California for Thursday’s meeting.
“Jet Ski is more than a passion, I’m willing to drive any length of distance for it,” Schriner said.
But thankfully for him, Havasu is only a few hours away. The way Schriner sees it, Havasu’s home to the best beaches for watercraft sports.
“There’s no other place like this on the West Coast,” Schriner said.
He’s done testing here for his products, and as a business owner, this place is invaluable. He wants to see those who love the sport take ownership of the beaches they spend the most time at.
James Gray with the Partnership for Economic Development listed some ideas as to how to build the association’s brand.
“You represent a large fabric of our culture,” Gray told the audience.
Gray said possible opportunities that can come about include permanent track location for racers and testers, working out access to Body Beach or other alternatives, and creating education and safety programs.
Gray said Havasu is also ideal for creating non-moveable history associated with the sport such as a hall of fame or museum.
Gray said the PED is willing to pay a certified public accountant to form the nonprofit for the association, assist with mentorship in the first couple of years and provide financial support.
Organizer Chris “Fish” Fischetti said the association’s 2015 goals include having a designated area for personal watercraft riding and access to Lake Havasu, as well as increasing safety and awareness for riders.
In the meantime, Fischetti wants to build membership and establish a board of six to 10 members.
“We can build for what we all have a passion for,” Fischetti said.
Chris MacCluggage is one of many athletes who relocated to Havasu after racing here in competitions.
The world champion said he’s been racing 30-plus years and will do what he can to preserve the waters here.
“If it went away, our freedom to ride would be difficult,” MacCluggage said. “So many businesses do testing here. I’ve trained so many kids down here.”
MacCluggage said the power of the association is about the strength in numbers.
“You can achieve a lot more with more people,” MacCluggage said.