James v Surfers Jet [2015] QDC 233

The Paradise Point outing in April 2010 was intended to give all staff who rolled up the thrill of an authentic jet boat ride on the Southport Broadwater, 14 passengers at a time.

Walter James and his wife boarded first and sat at the starboard end of the rear row.

Although the seats had “not much padding”, there was a bar in front of each seat for each riders to hold on to.

Powerful water rockets allows the New Zealand built vessel – which had been operated on the famous Shotover River – to perform aerobatic-like stunts beyond the capacity of propeller driven watercraft.

One such feat is a 360 degree spin conducted once the vessel is configured “on the plane” at about 30 kts that ends with the boat’s nose “buried” under water as its rear becomes airborne before it splashes back down.

The boat came in for the first spin “pretty fast” and as the stern reared up, so did Walter. When it crashed down, he did too. The result, a compression fracture to his thoracic spine with a debilitating whole person impairment diagnosed by Neurosurgeon Scott Campbell, of 28%.

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Reproduced with the permission of Carter Capner Law

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