As a birthday experience, my sister and brother-in-law proposed a day out on jet-skis. They live a five-minute drive from the Solent and are both keen jet-skiers. He works as a service engineer at Watercraft World, where he looks after customers' jet-skis. My sister owns one, a Sea-Doo Spark, made by Bombardier, a Canadian outfit. The plan was that the three of us would go out, me on my sister's ski, my sis on a borrowed used one from Watercraft World (thanks, Nigel), and Julian on his.
I've never been on one before, but they're not hard to get used to. They accelerate like crazy. You hold the handlebars, squeeze the throttle (a trigger-like affair) and it feels like your arms are being yanked on the end of a piece of rope. On the chop, you can be going at a moderate pace, but on the rise of a wave if you squeeze the throttle, you can take off into the air from the lip.
Conditions were perfect; a slight offshore wind meant that the inshore water was dead flat, although there was a bit of chop towards the Isle of Wight. There was a clear blue sky, and is was warmer than we had any right to expect in March. We went over towards Cowes, stopped off to look at Queen Victoria's bathing hut, and then went back over to Portsmouth, and back to Lee along the shoreline. The fastest I could get it was 49 mph. Exhilarating.
Probably not a sport that I'll pursue over the long term, though it was fun for a one-off. The Spark is quite a light craft so it gets chucked about a bit in the chop, and my joints took a hammering. It was a good laugh though and I can see that a day on the water followed by a barbecue is a good way to unwind from a stressful day, or week.