A WORLD champion jet skier who perfected his skills in the sea off North Wales will attempt to break the world record for most back flips in a row on his machine at the All Wales Boat Show 2015.
Freestyler Ant Burgess is among the experts who will show off their skills at this year’s event, one of the first to be held at Plas Heli, Pwllheli’s new £8.3m Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre.
The 26-year-old won the World Pro Freestyle jet-ski championships in 2013, and now after a year off he is determined to scoop the prize again in America later this summer.
But before that, one of the highlights of his year will be an attempt to break the world record for doing the most back flips more in a row, at the three-day All Wales Boat Show which starts on Friday May 8.
The current record is for 36 back flips, and is held by Lee Stone who smashed the previous record of 19 back flips on a jet ski, in November 2014.
Ant’s attempt will require massive upper body strength but he says he’s looking forward to the challenge on the final day of the boat show, Sunday May 10.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to it, it’s the first major event of the season and it’s in a really great location, so it’s definitely going to be one of the highlights of my year.
“I’ve done 25 back flips in a row before, so I’ll be aiming for around 40 this time to make sure. It will make me really dizzy but I’m always up for a challenge.”
Weighing 13.5 stone, Ant keeps fit by training at the gym four times a week, working to build his chest and arm muscles and keep up the massive core strength to lift his 150 kilo DVX 12,000 jet ski out of the water.
His repertoire of tricks includes back flips and barrel rolls, as well as other freestyle moves on the £30,000 machine, which he will also demonstrate at the Pwllheli show.
Ant, who also tutors in jet ski around the UK said: “You need a lot of core strength, because you’re basically lifting twice your weight out of the water and up and over your head.
“People often ask me what I think about when I’m upside down, but you can’t think of anything you have to be 100% focused, if you make one false move you’ll hurt yourself.
“I train hard in the gym, and also going out on the jet ski to practise is really important because you don’t use those muscles in that way in any other movement. You need to develop muscle memory so your body behaves how you want it to.”
Ant, a plumber from Nantwich in Cheshire, perfected his impressive tricks practising as a child off the coast of Rhosneigr and Colwyn Bay in North Wales, as well as at Southport’s leisure lakes in Lancashire.
He says he’s looking forward to returning to the region, where he spent many a happy weekend catching waves as a child.
“It’s great because there’s always a wave in North Wales, always something to keep challenging you.”
On winning the world championship title in 2013, Ant admits: “To finally win was unbelievable, you can’t really describe it, I burst into tears to be honest, because it’s something I’ve been training to do for all my life.
“I’d previously entered in 2011 but I dislocated my shoulder and had to drop out and have surgery, then I tried again in 2012 and came fourth.
“So it was very emotional to come home with the prize. I’ve kind of had a year off, but I’m determined to go back this year and win again.”
The rush of winning the championship in Arizona is a far cry from Ant’s day job as a plumber at Young Gas and Oil in Cheshire.
“Jet ski is a small sport, so there’s never going to be any money in it, but I enjoy my day job and luckily my boss lets me take time out to compete.
“Being in America in 30 degree heat, wearing nothing but shorts and going out on the water every day, it’s very different to everyday life.
“It’s definitely a bump back to earth to come home.”
The All Wales Boat Show 2015 will take place at Plas Heli, the new Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre from Friday, May 8, Sunday, May 10, after moving from Conwy where it’s been held for the past two years.
It’s being organised by Davina Carey-Evans, Managing Director of Wales Watersports International.
Davina said: ““We believe the show can be a big success, and put down a real marker for the huge potential of the marine sector in Wales and the positive impact it can have on our economy as a whole.
“We will have an even bigger range of boats on show this year with everything from high end luxury craft like Fairline and Chaparral to Sealeg which is a rib that can literally drive onto a beach.
“We’ll also have hand built boats, boats that you can fold up and put in the back of your car and paddle boards.
“In addition, there’ll be plenty of entertainment with a jet ski world champion and wakeboarding displays.
“What’s really exciting this year is that actually that balance is changing and it’s more of the Welsh companies getting behind the event which is making it a more established and exciting event.”
In addition to the All Wales Boat Show website at www.allwalesboatshow.co.uk a new site, www.waleswatersports.com has been launched by the show organisers to act as a major portal for the marine and watersports sector in Wales.