Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Divers on underwater scooters duke it out this weekend in Weeki Wachee

WEEKI WACHEE — As a sport, underwater scooter racing could hardly be compared to NASCAR. In fact, competitors only reach top speeds of about 5 mph.

But if you love scuba diving as much as Joe Weatherby does, it's the ultimate thrill.

Two years ago, Weatherby formed the Wreck Racing League, the first sanctioning body devoted to organized competition for diver propulsion vehicles, also known as DPVs. This weekend, the league will play host to the Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

About 50 divers are expected to compete in the three-day event, which begins today. According to Weatherby, the races will be run on an oval course in the spring and will include four different classes of DPVs.

"We're very excited because this is our first-ever freshwater event," Weatherby said. "And it's such a great venue for this kind of sport because people can watch it live from the mermaid theater."

For the uninitiated, DPVs are motorized devices that pull divers through the water by way of a propeller. Powered by batteries, the machines are rated by the amount of thrust they create in the water.

Weatherby, who helped spearhead the 2009 sinking of the Vandenberg as an artificial reef off Key West, organized the first DPV race around the sunken wreck in June of last year to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the event. About 10 competitors showed up.

Afterward, Weatherby and his partner, Dave Sirak, organized the Wreck Racing League and Formula H20, established safety rules and set regulations for DPVs.

In a little more than a year, the league has held 10 races, most of which are in Florida.

This weekend's event in Weeki Wachee has the distinction of being associated with several wounded warrior groups, including Divers 9Line, Divers4Heroes, Freedom Divers, Hope for the Warriors, and Special Operations Forces Wounded Warriors, as well as the International Association of Handicapped Divers. Proceeds from the event will benefit those groups.

In addition to the DPV races, the event will feature underwater product demonstrations, dive demonstrations and lectures. The races will be run between the park's regular mermaid performances.

All events are open to public with regular park admission prices: Adults: $13 Child Age 6-12: $8 Children Five and under are free. For information, call (352) 592-5656.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@sptimes.com.

.If you go

Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge

The Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge takes place today, Saturday and Sunday at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, at U.S. 19 and State Road 50 in Weeki Wachee. All events are open to the public, with regular park admission prices: adults, $13; children ages 6-12, $8; children 5 and under, free. Additional information about the event, including schedules, can be found online at wreckracingleague.com. For Weeki Wachee Springs information, call (352) 592-5656.

Divers on underwater scooters duke it out this weekend in Weeki Wachee 10/06/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 6, 2011 6:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NATO rolls out the red carpet, buffs its image for Trump

    World

    BRUSSELS — NATO is not only rolling out the red carpet for U.S. President Donald Trump in Brussels Thursday, the military alliance — which Trump once declared obsolete — has been busy repackaging its image and is ready to unveil a new headquarters worth more than 1 billion euros.

  2. Taiwan becomes first in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage

    World

    TAIPEI, Taiwan — In a first for Asia, Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Wednesday, punctuating a yearslong campaign by advocates for gay rights in one of the continent's most liberal democracies.

    Same-sex marriage supporters wave rainbow Taiwan flags after the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Taiwan's Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Wednesday, making the island the first place in Asia to recognize gay unions. [Associated Press]
  3. 'Top Gun' sequel? Tom Cruise says it starts filming soon

    Blogs

    Tom Cruise is once again feeling the need for speed.

    Tom Cruise starred in "Top Gun" in 1986, and said he'll begin work on a sequel within the next year.
  4. Trump presents Pope Francis with sculpture made by Florida artist

    Blogs

    An artist from Stuart, Florida, made a bronze sculpture that President Trump presented today to Pope Francis.

  5. What could have been the game-winning blast turned into a long single for Colby Rasmus.