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STAND UPS AT SUNSET BEACH

It's been too damn hot for dirt bikes, so we caught up with our buds at Sunset Beach for an afternoon of stand up jet skis and high fives.

Photos by Rob Anzit
"Ever been on a stand up?" Marc asks me as lake water runs in streams from his hair and over his face as we stand on shore. He's outta breath. I'm not surprised. I just watched him do eight consecutive backflips on his 1015cc X Scream Helium stand up jet ski. Eight.

It's quite a thing to watch. It's also quite a thing to listen to. When Marc is about to go into a backflip you hear him crack the throttle open to get enough power to literally fly out of the water and begin rotating backwards from the curl of his own immediate wake. The engine roars and echoes over the water. People turn their heads. They stare.

It's so fucking cool.

We came to beat the heatwave. For more days than I can remember, it's felt like we've been living inside someone's hot mouth. It's a heat so overwhelming, so merciless that getting on a dirt bike covered in gear seems like a bad idea. And it rarely seems like a bad idea.

But just an hour outside the city is Sunset Beach. A stretch of pebbles, rocks, algae and underage drinkers at the foot of Port Weller, where the mighty Welland Canal begins. It's not exactly the Galapagos. But the water is fresh(ish), the beer is cold(ish) and learning to ride a stand up jet ski is easy(ish).
Turns out there's very few differences between vintage dirt bikes and stand up jet skis. And even fewer differences between those who ride them. Birds of a feather, we are. Gangs of misfits who get jollies playing on the crazy toys that we dreamed of when we were kids. We've grown up (sorta) and now we spend whatever cash we can muster (after groceries) on cool shit that goes fast.

When we tell someone what we do for fun they react with genuine fear for our safety and their face turns into the yikes emoji.

😬
But to say the common thread is 'power sports' is untrue. An insult even. The word cheapens the vibe. It conjures to the mind that soulless dealership up the road from you. You know the one. It's got a big silly logo on the building, a greedily large parking lot and a bunch of glass walls so you can see all the fancy new dirt bikes or jet skis or ATVs or side-by-sides or snowmobiles or whatever. It's all the dryness and boringness that its products are supposed to remedy.

No, the connection is something deeper. To try and explain it will inevitably end in cliché. But it has something to do with the spirit of escape, the great outdoors, the thrill of the beast.

The shared stoke.
Of course, we brought along some of our new Steeltown stuff. Not so much for the 'content'. But because this is where our stuff yearns to be. Out in the wild.

Take our new roll top 10L Waterproof Field Pack for example. It's the bag you stuff with what valuables you actually brought with you before you throw caution to the wind. You roll the top down three times and you clip it.

Then you may abuse your body in whatever way you choose but at least you'll know that your iPhone and joint are safe and sound in the field pack, that they will be forever dry.


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All photographs by Rob Anzit / @RobAnzit
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