Water Sports

Cheer Leader: Travis Pastrana Goes All In With Class 1

What is Travis Pastrana doing here? The action sports God landed the first double backflip in a motorsports competition, has broken several of Evel Knievel’s records and is a world freestyle champion, yet here he is at, of all things, a cheerleading competition watching two young girls tumble and flip through air.

For Huski Chocolate Team driver Travis Pastrana, Class 1 offshore racing is the aquatic extension of a high-flying career, which now includes the job of “cheer dad.” Photo by David Lando copyright P1 Offshore. Below photo courtesy/copyright Travis Pastrana.

“I love being a cheer dad,” he says as he watches Addy, 9, and Murphy, 7, perform their stunts. “When I’m at the events I feel like I’m the least overly enthusiastic dad. I’m dressed head-to-toe cheering them on, but I’m just proud of them. I never thought I’d be a cheer dad.”

In cheer, the girls are high flyers, so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when considering their father has made a living being airborne, albeit most often on two-wheeled or four-wheeled vehicles.

As a 39-year-old, though, Pastrana is a little more grounded, but he hasn’t lost the itch for speed. Not only does he actively participate in rally car races, he’s become fully entrenched as a driver in Class 1 offshore boat racing. In other words, he’s now living on earth, not above it—and he’s loving it.

And how could he not be? In late September, he and his Huski Chocolate teammate Steve Curtis earned the 2022 Union Internationale Motonautique World Championship.

“I feel like I am a boat driver,” he explains. “I feel like I have a lot to learn still, but I feel right at home in Class 1. It’s something that I would like to do more of, especially as more and more competitors get involved. The more boats that come into this, the more likely that I’m going to be here for the long haul.”

While obviously well versed on road and dirt tracks, the GOAT of action sports is still finding his sea legs. Despite the fact that Pastrana grew up around water in Annapolis, Md., he’d only really dabbled in water sports recreationally—not exactly the same thing as driving faster than 160 mph in the Huski Chocolate and Miss GEICO catamarans and teaming with Curtis, arguably the most iconic and influential throttleman in the business.

Pastrana has had no trouble adjusting to the demands of piloting a Class 1 raceboat. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Still, what Pastrana lacks in offshore experience, he makes up for in the ground game, as his resume includes supercross, motocross, rally racing, NASCAR and his traveling Nitro Circus show. In his newest endeavor, he plans to continue to make waves in Class 1.

“The only thing I have more commitment to than Class 1 is my family,” Pastrana says matter-of-factly.

In just a few short years behind the wheel of the catamaran, Pastrana has come a long way and believes he’s getting better at reading water conditions. (He’s really one of those guys who’s good at everything he does—an annoyance for the rest of us simpletons.)

Throttleman Steve Curtis has mentored Pastrana since he entered the Class 1 ranks. Photo by Cole McGowan copyright P1 Offshore

Recalling his first time racing in 2019 at Cocoa Beach, Fla., Pastrana said, “I sat with a throttleman that I’d never sat with and driving a boat I’d never driven. I remember going on the first turn and just launching that thing. I was instantly hooked. It was the craziest, most insane, chaotic, fun thing I’ve ever done.”

Craziest thing? Need we remind you that Pastrana once jumped out an airplane without a parachute; this is a man who jumped 52 cars, 16 buses and the fountain at Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace all in one day on his motorcycle; hell, he was injured in January 2022 in a parachuting accident after leaping off a Florida high-rise; there was the time he jumped a $50 plastic tricycle off a 63-story building, which he calls his “sketchiest” stunt.

Pastrana earned his first checkered flag in the 2022 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix. Photo by James Gilbert copyright P1 Offshore

Although the 17-time X Games medalist constantly defies death and seems to have little regard for his own body, Pastrana comes alive when speaking about his wife, Lyn-Z Pastrana, and their two daughters. And, Class 1 actually brings the family together, as its schedule doesn’t typically interfere with cheer competitions.

“My family is a huge priority,” he said. “When they saw the boat races are always on a beach, they’re like, ‘Yeah, we can get a hotel on the beach and then we’ll just stay on the beach and watch you race by. Let us know which the best events are, and then we’re gonna go and we’ll hang out.’ It’s really a family sport. Considering the amazing locations of these races, it’s not hard to get them to come.”

Pastrana and Curtis have played key roles in re-igniting Class 1. Photo by David Lando copyright P1 Offshore

Pastrana isn’t blind to the fact that, at least from a mainstream media standpoint, he’s the biggest name in Class 1, but he doesn’t view himself the savior of a sport that cratered last decade. He hopes the publicity that comes with his involvement is a byproduct of his winning.

“I feel like I’m one of the best drivers out there just because of my wheel time from NASCAR to rally car to monster trucks to off-road,” he said. “I’m in a car or a vehicle or have a wheel in front of me almost every day of every week of the year, and that helps me to where I feel like I can be a competitive advantage for the team.”

With the resurgence of offshore power boating, Pastrana might not be the only notable name dipping his toe into the Class 1 water, hinting that several action sports names are interested in joining.

In a way, Pastrana can be considered offshore racing’s unofficial maitre d.

“We’re kind of introducing a lot of guys back into this sport, and everyone that sits in a boat goes, ‘Wow, this is awesome,’” he said. “I don’t know that this will get to the NASCAR level, but I think it’ll always be around. They have a really good platform to bring in more and more boats. At that point, this becomes one of the most exciting forms of racing. The more boats, the more crowd, the more crowd, the more boats. It’s just a spiraling cycle that I think is gonna be awesome for the future.”

Though Pastrana does not view himself as offshore powerboat racing’s savior, he is the highest-profile—and often most joyful—competitor in the sport. Photo by David Lando copyright P1 Offshore

“It needs to be cost effective enough that more and more people can get involved, and then you’ll have some great drivers come in from different disciplines and some celebrities,” Pastrana said. “That’s the great part about having a throttleman and a driver. If you have an amazing throttleman you can put in a pretty good wheelman and you can still be fairly competitive.”

The way Pastrana sees it, the only thing standing in the way of Class 1 is money. The only thing potentially standing in Pastrana’s way: cheer competitions.

Mark Gray is a Las Vegas-based writer, editor and host. Gray was a longtime staff writer for People Magazine, and his work has also been published in Rolling Stone, MSN.com and Caesars Player. In addition, he previously hosted an entertainment radio show called Flip The Strip.

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