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Watercraft drag racers feel the need for speed, captivate audiences at event held near Boca Raton

'The adrenaline is crazy,' racer Harold Ramos says
Posted at 9:40 AM, May 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-12 15:39:51-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The thrilling sport of watercraft drag racing is captivating spectators at a park in southern Palm Beach County this weekend.

The champion will not only earn a prestigious title but also hundreds of dollars.

Known as hydrodrag racing, competitors pushed their limits and reached top speeds of more than 100 mph during competitions held on Saturday.

"Just like in the car scene, we have the drag strip car on the left and car on the right," Hydrodrags promoter and director Billy Tew said. "We have the tree in the middle. We got lasers that know the reaction time. They just take off."

The competitors race from a loading dock to the finish line, about 660 feet from start to finish, hoping to complete the course in the world's fastest time.

Harold Ramos was among the youngest competitors at the watercraft drag racing event held May 11, 2024, at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park.
Harold Ramos was among the youngest competitors at the watercraft drag racing event held May 11, 2024, at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park.

"The adrenaline is crazy," racer Harold Ramos, 18, said. "You can hear the sounds, the engines, the motors of the skis."

Among the 16 racers who signed up for Saturday's competition, Ramos stood out as one of the youngest in the field. He sees competitions like this weekend's event in Boca Raton as a valuable learning experience.

He's coached by his father and longtime mentors, whom he credits with molding him into the tough-minded racer he is today.

"My dad, he started when he was young," Ramos said. "I started doing recreational riding, driving around at 8 years old, and having fun, then slowly doing performance stuff and improving."

Jereiel Hernandez won the top prize at a watercraft racing event held on May 11, 2024, at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park.
Jereiel Hernandez won the top prize at a watercraft racing event held on May 11, 2024, at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park.

Despite not achieving the desired results, Ramos, one of the youngest racers, demonstrates a resilient spirit, using this experience as a stepping stone for future success.

Bringing home the top prize of $500 at Saturday's event was Jereiel Hernandez from Puerto Rico, who hit speeds of 130 mph to take the checkered flag.

"It's exciting because you know you need to do the best," Hernandez said.

Hernandez credited his father for introducing him to the sport of watercraft drag racing as he celebrates his second championship win.

"My dad, he's the trainer, the brain behind the Jet Ski," Hernandez said. "We worked so hard for this, and this is the result of working hard."

More watercraft racing competitions are scheduled for Sunday at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park near Boca Raton.