By CURTIS J. PHILLIPS, Connect Weekly
The working hours of a realtor are not your typical 9-to-5. So, when free time comes along for local REATLORS® of Royal LePage True North Realty, brother and sister duo Luke and Lana Bibeau, you may find them on a different type of real estate. That of the murky waters of the Snye River and other waterways across North America.
Competing in the Western Canada Watercross Association (WCWA), they are ascending stars in the sport of jet ski watercraft.
Luke, now 25, was introduced to the sport as an 18 year old, when Mike Klippenstein saw him racing motocross at Valiant Memorial Park.
Klippenstein had also raced at the local track as a youth, transitioning over to the sport of jet ski watercross as an adult, reaching superstar status. Klippenstein, inducted into the Class of 2008 Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, is now a 20-time World Champion.
“He (Klippenstein) is the reason I got into it (jet ski),” said Luke, who like his sister Lana, is a graduate of Father Patrick Merced Community High School. “He kept telling me to come down to the Snye and try it out. Finally, I went down.”
Of the transition, Luke said: “It is completely a different sport from motocross, but kind of the same aspect. You have to get used to the stability and balance. It is also a clean sport compared to motocross. When you make a mistake here and fall, you get wet and usually no major injuries. In motocross when you make a mistake, you can get road rash and possibly break some bones.”
Aside from skill and training, the machine, be it a motocross or dirt bike or jet ski, is still important to becoming a champion.
“To compete with a lot of the guys you have to have $20,000 or more to compete at the level. It requires a lot of time and energy,” said Luke Bibeau. “The maintenance parts and improvements you want to do are tough to keep up with.”
“A lot of it has to do with the jet ski and the power it outputs,” said Luke, who has won several regional races, including the expert class recently at the WCWA Taste of Saskatchewan. “To compete with a lot of the guys you have to have $20,000 or more to compete at the level. It requires a lot of time and energy.
“The maintenance parts and improvements you want to do are tough to keep up with.”
Luke and Lana have six jet ski boats for competition and their parents have been major benefactors behind their racing careers.
Luke, having moved up to the expert and pro divisions, also competes on the world stage in the International Jet Sports Boating Association (IJSBA), where he has traveled the last five years to the world championships at Lake Havasu, Arizona; his highest placement is a third in novice class ski stock.
Of the local jet ski scene, Luke said, “It is a close knit group that helps each other. Ever since I started our group has been down at the Snye and Mike and everyone else will push us to get better… with tricks and such along with mechanical ideas. We take care of each other but are still competitive.”
Lana, 23, followed in her brother’s footsteps, or should we say waves, when she was 18 years-old.
“When my brother started (jet ski) I decided to try it out and loved it right away,” said Lana, who played basketball and volleyball for the Trappers in high school. “At first it was a little bit scary. It was a little bit tippy the first time but I did manage to stand up. After that it was getting used to the speed.”
Like her brother, Lana competes across Western Canada and also at the IJSBA in Arizona where her highest placement was a sixth in novice.
Such is her dedication to the sport, Lana also works out daily at the gym and follows a strict diet to be in top form and “to gain some muscle mass.”
She also correlates her career in real estate to that on the aquatic race course.
“In real estate I am a go-getter and on the course the same thing. You have to have confidence in both.”
As part of the 2015 Fisher Powerline Construction Ltd Western Canadian Waterctoss Association Tour, competitions will be held out at Willow Lake (Gregoire Lake) Camp Yogi August 8-9 and August 15-16, 2015.
Catch you on the rebound.