Jet Ski News
Panama City Florida: St. Andrews Pass (Panama City Florida where the St. Andrews Bay lets out into the Gulf) to the Shell Island side has an extremely good break but be ready for some rocks in close so riders must have complete control... Sebastain Inlet of course the inlet at Sebastain State Park is totally wilder either the north or south sides. (I would recommend the south for more big breaks but sharks are a problem) but just a few miles up the coast is a really good reef break (Spanish house) there will be a few cars parked of the side of a1a and a lot of surfers in the water,,, Don't get to high since this awesome break is from a very shallow reef which will catch the ass end of your ski and leave you stranded in a rough wall of water.
Tims favorite is Ponce de Leon Inlet on the east coast of central Florida. It sits just below Daytona Beach and north of New Smyrna. Although he lives in Orlando and has a choice of over 100 lakes within a 50 mile radius of his house, he prefers to drive the hour and a half to Ponce. It's always worth it! he'll take a lousy 3' wave over a flat lake any day!
The great thing about it is that it costs nothing to park or launch. FREE, baabeee! You can't beat that. There's a concrete ramp and a paved parking lot. However, the lot only has about 40 slots so get here early on a warm day. Another great thing is that if you want to get your extra gear (or even that third, fourth or fifth passenger) to the beach, you can drive into the County's Lighthouse Park ($2.00 per per person in vehicle) and be able to park within 50 yards of the beach, provided it's not a busy day.
However, no trailers are allowed in the park on weekends or holidays because of the crowds and limited space. Most people just carry their stuff to the beach via their PWC and leave their vehicles in the public lot near the ramp. On a good day, when there's an east or southeast wind and the tide is rolling out, you'll have 6-8' waves along the south jetty. In the center of the channel, I've seen rolling swells reach 10'. If the winds are not in your favor, you'll still get 3-5' waves which are nothing to be ashamed of. If a hurricane just happens to run up the coast as Floyd did a while back, you can count on huge swells in the deeper water and rocking action along the south jetty! Just be careful of floating debris at those times.
There are restrictions on where you can ride. If caught in the "no-no" zones, be prepared for a fine. New Smyrna mandates that all PWC stay 1500' from shore to protect the swimmers and surfers. So, it's not worth traveling south of the south jetty. Going north of the north jetty, you need to stay 300' from shore. No beaching until you reach Ormond Beach. As long as you stay in the Inlet, you can beach anywhere you like on the north or south sides. But (and that's a BIG BUT), there are pending ordinances to restrict these areas even further (like every other place in the country). Be sure to check with Volusia County Sheriff's Department for current details.
Report: Sarasota County, Venice, FL. Take I-75 to exit 35, not 35A, just exit 35, which is Jacaranda road. Turn right off the exit, go down 2 traffic lights to Venice Ave., and turn right. Take that all the way down onto the island to the end of Venice ave. turn right at the stop sign. Turn left on the next stop sign. You will come up to Higel park boat launch on the right. From there you can go out to the gulf of Mexico by goin left on your pwc, or go straight into Roberts bay (sports rec area). When you go to the gulf..... you'll go through the jetti. You can beach off South Jetti, but not North Jetti. Waves are big, I 've seen them about 8' rollers. Roberts Bay is an "excellent" place to freestyle jetski, but no big waves in there. Everything is free, launching and parking. Camping is on U.S 41 about 5-6 miles north of Venice ave. It's called Oscar Shears state park. It costs about $15 per night.
Places to launch:
Desoto County Sunny Breeze Golf Course (AKA: Liverpool) Just South of Fort Ogden, turn at the entrance to Sunny Breeze Golf Course and follow road all the way to the end. (There are some curves and turns, just stay on the "main" road). You will see the boat ramp and picnic pavilion at the end.
Charlotte County Harbor Heights Park. From I-75 get off at exit 30 and head towards Harbor Heights. Watch for "park and boat ramp sign". Nice picnic area with tables and pavilions. There are other places to launch but these two seem to be the best and easiest to find. Your best bet is to stock up on gas and also pack a lunch. There is a restaurant with gas north of the boat ramp at Sunny Breeze Golf Course called "Nav-a-Gators". Click here for map of Charlotte County.
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