Juan Felix Bravo holds the Guinness World Record for skiing a distance of 1,000 km in 10 hours, making him the fastest man on water. Croatian pilot Davor Hundic, who held the world record before Bravo, achieved the same feat in a little over 23 hours.
A GPS system performs the same function in watercrafts as a speedometer does in cars. In other words, it is indispensable, especially when you are timing your laps. Now imagine having to do away with one GPS system while racing to set the world record for the fastest watercraft skier. This is precisely what happened to Bravo.
He had been given two GPS systems during his race for the Guinness Record. Both of these were taped to his watercraft. On one of Bravo’s crazy swerves during the race, one GPS system snapped loose and he couldn’t determine his speed any longer. But he couldn’t give up.
Although even a two second pause could have jeopardised his claim to fame, Bravo halted for a full two minutes to strap his GPS back and check for other damages. Once he was sure it was fine, he set off again. The lap definitely did take longer to finish, but he made up for it by speeding in the following laps. He’d begun at 6 am on July 3, 2009, and he had finished all the laps by 4 pm on the same day.
Tidal waves are like animals. They don’t retaliate until provoked; they can be harmful if misjudged. Watercraft skiing involves pushing the limits of these waves right until the point when you know they’re going to lash back. That’s when you swerve to give them a miss and head to another fresh, unperturbed wave.
But some waves are like dungeons; they close in on you from all sides. Chances of escaping the wrath of such waves are slim, especially when you’re willingly rushing towards them at super speeds.
During a race in Murcia, Spain, one such mammoth wave did finally get the better of Bravo. He was at a reasonable speed and routinely jumping over waves when a gust of the north wind yanked him off his watercraft and threw him miles away. Due to his high speed, the craft landed so far from him that he had to swim for three hours just to get back on it again. Not a moment he’s happy to relive.