By Nicole Matheson
Lake Havasu has become a haven for water enthusiasts and professional racers as they find the climate perfect for practice and life.
Tera Laho, a locally raised resident of Havasu, is making waves at home and abroad as she travels with her team to Pattaya, Thailand, for the Thailand Airways Jet Ski World Cup taking place Dec. 3-8. Laho, 45, is the only female representing the USA this year in the World Cup and RiverScene had a chance to meet her at her office – the lake.
Racing Is In Her Blood
Laho, who grew up on the lake, started racing at 17, moving through the ranks quickly as her natural talent and skills developed, capturing eight world titles in her younger years. A brief period found her stepping aside from racing to pursue other ventures, but now she has found her way back in to racing again. “I have a lot of history with racing jet skis in the past, and it’s still in my blood and I’m still pretty good, so here we are,” Laho said.
Laho’s endeavors are many and she has had to work hard to get there. She shares that one of her greatest accomplishments has been racing in the men’s division where she pulled off a stunning finish as fifth in the nation over the course of a 10-race series.
Grit and determination are pillars to her success. “If you want to make the commitment, absolutely do it. Go for it. Life is short, do what you love. You gotta do things while you can.”
A Worldwide Sport
It’s a sport that is still fairly young, where kids can start as early as age 10 on jet skis. Even today, the sport is only starting to see its third generation of future racers. With that said, there isn’t a glass ceiling determined by age as in many professional sports. Some racers continue to be competitive into their early 50s.
Laho said she looks forward to coaching a new generation of young female racers who are showing a great deal of talent and promise. While racing has recently tapered down in the USA, it is picking up pace worldwide. Thailand itself, boasts a great deal of talent that rivals the U.S. While there are 15 women competing in the world in her class, she is the only female representing the United States.
Local resident Mark Gomez, who Laho considers a world-class athlete, will also be competing in the World Cup in the freestyle class.
From Our Lake To The Big Screen
Laho continues to work outside of racing while still utilizing her skills. She spent time recently as a stunt double for actress Nikki Leigh on the film “Hot Water,” which will be released in the summer of 2020 and is directed by Larry Rippenkroeger. The movie is based on the on world of PWC racing.
Laho hasn’t traveled the arduous road to the World Cup without a great deal of help from local sponsors. She is quick to thank Nicolas Rius, “Thanks for having faith in me,” as well as thanking her supportive boyfriend, Laurent Boucher.
Laho’s sponsors include CRC Chaiya Recycle, Drop Zone France, Bud Light, Havasu Fitness, Orthopedics of North Scottsdale, Keystone Groundworks, Can Am Watercross, Works H2O Designs, Jettrim, Jet Pilot and Riznwild.
Check her out on Instagram: instagram.com/teralaho
To learn more about the movie “Hot Water” click here.
Good luck, Tera and Mark!