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Open Water Calling


As an offshore powerboat-racing fan and reporter, I believe in today’s near-shore approach to the sport. We live in a visual world that demands instant gratification, and you can’t expect people— beyond a few diehards—to follow and support a sport they cannot see. I don’t make the rules. I’m just aware of them.

And yet I like the idea of true offshore racing far beyond what can be spotted from the shoreline. Maybe that’s because as a kid growing up in a Southern California beach town, I would wake once each summer to the sound of powerboats racing across the horizon. With the exception of the occasional white blip of a roostertail on the horizon, I couldn’t see them. But thanks to the way sound carries across water, I could hear them. And given that our hillside home was 300 feet above and maybe an eighth of mile inland from the beach, that was something.

So I became a fan of true offshore racing at least 20 years before I began covering today’s version of it. I looked forward to—once a summer—hearing distant thunder created by powerboats I couldn’t see.

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