Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Off to a Flying Start Pittsburgher's Stunt with Jet Ski Fires Up First-Day Regatta Crowd

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Off to a Flying Start Pittsburgher's Stunt with Jet Ski Fires Up First-Day Regatta Crowd

Article excerpt

The following CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION appeared on August 7, 2016.Darcy Kucenic is senior events coordinator for Peony Entertainment, the company that manages the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta. She works under Derek Weber, Peony director of events. Her title and role were incorrect in a story Saturday about the regatta.

Typhoon Tommy was looking for a way to get the crowd going. His overheated audience had been sitting on the banks of the Allegheny River for 30 minutes Friday afternoon, but no amount of extreme Jet Ski flips or death-defying dives seemed to get them excited for the Three Rivers Regatta's opening event.

"C'mon, guys! Give it up!" he encouraged.

The heat-fatigued crowd responded with some scattered, half-hearted applause.

His team of Jet Ski-riding "Fly Guys" consisted of extreme sports athletes who came from around the country, but lucky for him, the group's lone Pittsburgh member knew how to make a splash.

Gabe Nowak rocketed from the river on a water-powered Jetboard, wearing not a life jacket or helmet but a Steelers jersey. He started to climb, five then 10 then nearly 15 feet in the air. Using a hand-held remote, he maneuvered the driverless Jet Ski beneath him from one direction to another. The crowd perked up and began to applaud for their hovering hometown hero.

Mr. Nowak, 33, estimates he has attended the Three Rivers Regatta more than a dozen times, but this year is his first as one of the attractions.

The 2016 regatta boasts the return of many classic events, but if Mr. Nowak's hydro-powered Jetboard and driverless Jet Ski are any indication, the event has come a long way in its 39 years.

On the opposite side of the Allegheny, the festival portion of the regatta was entering full swing. Despite the influx of families lining up in front of the towering Wheel of Lights stand she was working, event coordinator Darcy Kucenic remained cool and upbeat about the start of the event she helped plan. …

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