A remarkable final race
Del Rosario’s recent and final race was held at Lake Havasu City in Arizona, USA, in early October, entering his last World championships a, the 2023 SBT (Short Block Technologies) IJSBA Jetski World Finals.
Paul del Rosario was able to secure one first place finish for the Philippines, under the amateur ski modlites class, and a runner up finish in another category the, veterans (ages 35-45yrs) ski gp class. Both categories are from the ski class/stand up category, a jetski type with no built in seats, requiring the rider to stand up, which is the most difficult form of jetski racing to date.
Del Rosario came close to winning two world titles. Unfortunately, with stiff competition, and exhaustion from being made to do a total of 6 races in one day instead of dividing the two categories in separate days, ended up finished a little short in the Vet Ski GP category, with a tie breaker rule involved (the vet class is for racers in the 35 to 45 years old bracket), where he took home a silver medal. This was still a big improvement from the fifth place finish he had the previous year.
Del Rosario fresh from ending his last 2023 JSAP Philippine national race season held last September also won two Philippine titles—the Open Ski class (Open, which means almost no limits to modifications to the hull and motor; and Ski, meaning stand-up type Jet Ski, which is the hardest form of jet skiing); and the expert Stock Ski Class (Stock, which means leaving the motor and hull untampered and leaving them in their original form). Del Rosario was also the first hall of famer recipient from JSAP this 2023, for his notable international achievements as his contributions to the organization and to our country.
“[Being recognized as a Hall of Famer] is truly an honor,” he said. And while every win is important. His dedication and passion for the sport led him to numerous victories and prestigious titles, cementing his status as one of the most prominent Filipino athletes in competitive Jet Ski racing.
“It’s a fitting ending for a long jetski racing career. I can now retire in peace and focus on work, family, and assisting JSAP to develop more talent to represent the Philippines internationally,” Del Rosario said.
A colorful, storied career
Del Rosario’s remarkable achievements include clinching the Philippine Rider of the Year award from the Jetski Association of the Philippines (JSAP) an impressive nine times.
His crowning glory came in 2010 when he finally won his first World title in the expert runabout World Finals after years of trying. For years, he came close to bringing home the gold but never entirely, with mechanical issues always plaguing his final races.
In 2022, Del Rosario at 43 years old remarkably secured his second gold medal, for himself and for our country, this time on a stand up class jetski, a class difficult for his age, at the International Jet Sports Boating Association (IJSBA) World Finals in the Ski Modlites category, held in Arizona, USA. IJSBA is the governing body of the sport, similar to how the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) oversees soccer in the world.
Bagging the top prize in the World Finals is a big deal. In the world of Jet Ski racing, this league is like its Olympics, with respective national champions from other countries sent to compete.
This victory not only brought pride to the Philippines but also elevated him to the coveted rank of #1 in the world rankings for his category.
Among the many accolades he has won over the years are being three times World Champion (2010 Expert Open Runabout/sit down type), 2022 Am Ski Modlites Champion, 2023 Vet Ski GP; 2007 Thailand Pro Am Runabout Super Stock; and 2011 Thai World Cup champion (Pro-Am Runabout Open).
Del Rosario is also the only Filipino rider to win internationally on all three major types of Jet skiing—sport, ski, and runabout.
Reflecting on his illustrious career, Del Rosario said, “Jet Ski racing makes me feel much more alive. When I’m riding one, it feels like I’m in a different world.”
However, every athlete knows that retirement is inevitable. In 2023, Del Rosario made the difficult decision to retire from competitive sports, acknowledging that his fruitful career had prepared him for this moment.
“I can now retire in peace and focus on work, family, and assisting JSAP to develop more talent to represent the Philippines internationally,” he said.
Del Rosario’s achievements are not just personal victories; they are proof of the resilience and dedication of Filipino athletes.
Jet Ski racing presents its challenges, including the high cost of entry and the physical risks involved, Del Rosario’s story showcases the unwavering spirit of athletes who overcome these obstacles for the love of their sport.
His seven-year hiatus—partly due to injuries such as herniated lumbar discs, advanced tendinitis of both kneecaps, and an impinged shoulder—and subsequent comeback highlight the mental and physical fortitude required to compete at the highest level.
As he bids farewell to competitive racing, Del Rosario is full of gratitude. “My gratitude goes out to all the brands and people that have supported me over the years, the likes of Davies paints, Lordfel marketing, Mesco inc, Motul, BG products, Ryusei Int'l, Manila Cordage, Dynamic castings, k2 top engineering, Jetpilot Philippines, Networx jetsports and fast powersports.
Moving forward, Del Rosario remains optimistic about the future of Jet Ski racing in the Philippines.
With his retirement, Del Rosario plans to continue riding recreationally and focus on his personal life, work, and family. Del Rosario notes as well, that he’ll do his best to cultivate the next generation of racers through JSAP.
Del Rosario leaves behind a meaningful message for the aspiring talents of the future: “The future is bright for Jet Ski racing. We have come a long way—from being laughed at before to being respected in the game. And I know we can go much further and achieve more.”
Indeed, Paul del Rosario’s amazing career serves as an inspiration to the next generation of Filipino Jet Ski racers, reminding them that with determination, dedication, and the right support, they too can ride the waves of success.