By Rich Figel
PROGRAMMING ALERT: Our new Career Changers TV episode will start running Thurs., March 1 at 8:30 PM on OC16. This month we have an interesting mix of fun and serious stories. The fun part was filming the above segment about the new JetLev activity at SeaBreeze Watersports in Hawaii Kai. They offered me a chance to try it myself... and I chickened out. Actually, I was very tempted to put on the water-propelled jet pack, but since I had to conduct interviews with the SeaBreeze owners about their business and an invention they are involved with, I figured it would be best if I stayed dry and did the JetLev another time.
My videographer, Stanford Chang, also declined the opportunity. His assistant, Lisa Miyamoto, was the only one of us brave enough to try it. It's not as easy as it looks. According to the head instructor at SeaBreeze, about 9 in 10 achieve lift-off during their half hour session. Some get it right away, while others require more time. For beginners, there is always a trained SeaBreeze instructor controlling the apparatus so there's no danger of really losing control. However, you can get a mouthful of water if you dip too far to either side -- which is what happened to Lisa. Although she wasn't able to fly above the water, Lisa said she'd like to try it again. If you're interested, SeaBreeze has special kamaaina rates for that and other activities.
The husband and wife team who own SeaBreeze have a great working relationship. Courtney Krantz handles most of the day-to-day operations. Jeff Krantz is the "outside" guy who designs and builds things like the custom platforms for launching their ocean activities such as parasailing, jet skis, banana boat roads and the JetLev. In fact, he built the special parasailing boats they use, which allow people to take off and land right inside the boat itself. When we were out filming customers, two young ladies from Canada spotted a whale and spinner dolphins while parasailing.
Jeff is also an inventor, who has created an inexpensive filter that goes inside car wheel wells to remove pollutants from the road before those particles get into the air and ocean through rain run-off. He says it's his way of giving back because Hawaii and the ocean activities business has been so good to him and Courtney. Yet his offer to install these filters on State vehicles as part of a proposed pilot project -- at no expense to taxpayers -- was rejected by the State Dept. of Transportation.
As you can imagine, Jeff was upset that the State DOT did not see the value of removing dangerous chemicals and metals from our roads, which is the result of tire and brake degradation (plus other fluids that leak and drip from car engines). Putting filters on just a couple of cars won't make much difference. But put them on a few hundred or thousands of vehicles, and there could be a significant reduction in particles that otherwise will be breathed in by you or your kids. We did a separate segment on Jeff's StreetVac filters, which is also posted on the CCTV YouTube Channel.
Here's the kicker though: as you'll see in the piece we did, OTHER countries are moving ahead with StreetVac and want to use them! Yet here in his home state of Hawaii, Jeff feels like he was given the brush-off. And we wonder why people become cynical or apathetic about State government?