VJS Throwback Thursday: The Jammer and Haulin’ Harry

If you’re like me, you have lived, eaten and breathed jet skiing since the 1980’s. And like me, the 800-plus pictures on the fantastic Vintage Jet Ski Facebook page quickly takes you back and immerses you into an incredible time when jet ski racing emerged as the hottest new sport in the country. A time when you saw skis in the back of pickup trucks everywhere, and access to riding spots was virtually unlimited.

As the sport grew from it’s early days in the late 70s to the early 80’s, interest in International Jet Ski Boating Association (IJSBA) racing quickly grew, and by the mid-80′s there were a number of riders in their early teens who emerged on the scene and quickly made their mark. Jeff Jacobs and Haulin’ Harry Goatcher began lining up against each other as teens around that time, waging epic battles as they moved quickly through the novice and expert ranks wasting little time establishing themselves at the top of the pro ski pecking order.

Jeff, the shy SoCal kid racing for the established, powerful Performance Jet Ski (PJS) team which was the equivalent to a factory ride before they existed in the sport, and the effervescent, sometimes wild and flamboyant Haulin’ Harry, riding for R&R Jet Tech, who at times, did his best to live up to his Las Vegas heritage.

At the same time a new wetsuit/clothing company, Jet Pilot, made it debut in the sport, masterfully marketing these two young lions, among others, ultimately creating stars admired worldwide. But at the core, these two could flat out ride and had style for days as clearly shown in this simply awesome picture taken during one of their many pro battles, that, incredibly captures so much of that very colorful era in a single shot.

The intensity of laying over the challenging-to-ride 550 mods at full throttle, both riders focused on the track ahead with 100% conviction of arriving at the next turn in front of the other. Racing that brought thousands a week to rivers, lakes and the ocean to take in the speed, color and excitement of jet ski racing.


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