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Ryan Conner: Adventurist

Ryan completed a bachelor’s degree in marketing in the height of COVID in 2020, and no one was hiring. Always the opportunist, he went on to get his MBA online while the world was shut down.

He brings this same opportunistic approach to watersports and adventure activities. If offered a chance to try something new, he’ll jump at it. Often literally, since he’s jumped from several large rock formations along the New River Gorge while whitewater rafting, from a few famous rock points at Summerville Lake, WV and from top of 76 Falls in Lake Cumberland when the lake was lowered for repairs. Keep in mind a lowered lake meant a higher jump.

Ryan’s flyboard photos and videos are scattered around the site, as are his SCUBA photos and videos. He’s dived cenotes in Mexico and had his mask and regulator knocked off by Mantas in Kona, Hawaii while lying flat on the bottom. We have a strict “no-touch” approach to SCUBA, but you can’t dodge every Manta when you’re as low as you can go!

Ryan Conner learning flyboard tricks at Lake Cumberland, KY

Ryan assists in jet ski maintenance and transport around here. There’s no one better at loading a boat or jet ski trailer. Strangers have even asked him to load their toys. We set our own record once when heavy storms cropped up suddenly and headed our way one year.

He grabbed boat keys and drove to marina while I headed to storage garage for the trailer. He got the 27’ boat from the lift at marina to ramp in 10 mins (5 miles) and I arrived simultaneously with the trailer. I had it backed in, boat loaded, and safety tie-downs in place in 5 minutes. Safely in storage 10 mins later before flash floods and prolonged high water hit soon after.

It’s that type of approach that we hope our readers are able to learn. It’s easy to jump on a jet ski and go. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Just look at all the “jet ski fails” videos online. Did you know you can’t steer a jet ski unless you give it some throttle? A lot of new riders don’t, and they make for some funny videos.

But that can lead to injuries or worse. Ryan started riding at 12 yrs old on a 130 hp Sea Doo. We now have lightly-modded 300 hp skis that will top out at 77 mph. And his RXPX will turn on a dime. Which he reminds me of constantly as my GTX lumbers along or my knees give out trying to keep up.