Ryder Wildeboer making a name for himself in competitive jet ski racing

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A premier event for all things personal watercraft wrapped up over the weekend in Arizona, where a former Harrisburg student added to his collection of world championships.

Ryder Wildeboer has been racing jet skis since age 12. The now 15-year-old is already an 11-time world champion and says races are won and lost at the starting line.

“You can win a race just by getting a start and being good at starts and being able to have fast reaction time is a big part of jet ski racing. If you can be the first guy off the band, you’ll be the first one to the finish line,” 11-time world champion Ryder Wildeboer said.

Ryder captured three amateur titles at last week’s IJSBA World Finals in Arizona. Lake Havasu City hosted the event and is considered Arizona’s playground. It’s also Ryder’s new home.

“It for sure helps a lot with jet skiing because a lot of the big guys, the really fast guys are here,” Wildeboer said.

“Ryder goes and races with a van and open trailer. He has a lot of help from other people, but it also is a very low budget team compared to a lot of these other guys and he’s winning, so it’s very impressive to watch him,” Sponsor and family friend Mark Fonder said.

Sioux Falls restaurant owner Mark Fonder is a sponsor and family friend.

Ryder is home schooled, allowing him to log plenty of hours on the water.

“I’m starting to work out a lot now and just riding everyday is like a big thing, practicing and riding as much as you can really improves you,” Wildeboer said.

Training can take its toll.

“A lot more work than it was when I was younger, but I’m still having fun,” Wildeboer said.

And another milestone is within sight.

“Right now I’d pretty much be an amateur moving to pro, but next year will probably be my first pro year,” Wildeboer said.

“I see him racking up a lot more titles. There’s still a lot of guys out there racing that are 40, 50 years old and still having fun at it,” Fonder said.

Wildeboer will race in Florida in November, before competing at the 2022 Jet Ski World Cup in Thailand January 12th through the 16th.

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