SPORT: PWC Racing
AGE: 31 years old
PORT: Naples, Florida
Erminio Iantosca is only in the dawn of his 30s but he is a long time veteran of the sport of personal watercraft and chases his passion with the full support of his family. Iantosca has been racing watercraft for over half of his life and has ridden nearly every style and brand of watercraft before making the switch to Sea-Doo last year. Erminio is well know for running one of the most professional teams among all North American efforts and now flies the Sea-Doo X-TEAM flag proudly.
Honing his riding skills on the gulf waters of South-West Florida, Iantosca is a perennial front runner in the PRO STOCK and PRO OPEN classes in a variety of bodies of water but the surf conditions are still his favorite. OnBoard caught up with Erminio after the first two rounds of the 2012 IJSBA National Tour to share what makes him tick and how he lives the Sea-Doo Life.
ONBOARD —Where did you grow up and how was your competitive spirit developed?
I grew up in Naples, Florida just north of the ten thousand island area, so there is a lot of water here. Growing up, my dad always told me “If I was going to do anything, I better do it right,” and that gave me the drive and work ethic to pursue professional racing.
ONBOARD — What do you do away from the water to stay on the water? What’s your profession?
I try to mix up my athletic training by participating in everything from typical gym workouts to tennis. My family owns Mama Mia’s Pizzeria and my entire family grew up helping with the family business.
ONBOARD — How were you introduced to watersports?
When I was growing up my Dad got a stand- up (jet-ski) from one of his friends. I was too young to ride it, so he sold it to fellow Sea-Doo X-team racer Chris MacClugage’s dad, for Chris to ride. We knew Chris because my parents started Mama Mia’s Pizza next to a gas station that Chris’s dad owned. Our parents became and still are close friends. As a little kid I would always go to the races with Chris and that’s how I was initially introduced to Watercraft Racing.
Two time Busch World Cup Champion, five time National Champion and one time World Champion.
ONBOARD — You have a family engrained in this sport, what are some of your family connections to the sport beyond yourself?
Well, besides me as the rider, I am blessed to have an enthusiastic family support system. First, my Dad, who is not only my mechanic, but the hardest working person I know. He is happy to put in endless hours working on my skis to make sure they perform at the highest level. Then there is my brother, Joseph Iantosca, who is my “go-to” guy. He helps with everything from driving and traveling to races, getting the ski to the water, to holding my ski at the start. He also is responsible for filming all of my Go-Pro footage. Last but not least, my Mom and sister are always there for support and to cheer me on at all of the races. I couldn’t have done it all of these years without my mom who has been there through all of the highs and lows of racing. She also keeps us on time and well fed. My sister, Kristina Iantosca-Hodges, my family’s social butterfly, goes tent to tent keeping us updated on the lives of our tight-knit racing community. She is always there at the races to make sure we have everything that we need. Then there is my brother-in-law, Mike Hodges, with Riva Racing who helps me with any parts I need, any questions I may have, and even by being my second mechanic. He is always available to give me positive feedback and keep me focused on the end result.
ONBOARD — Your accomplishments riding watercraft have opened the doors for other action opportunities. What “extra” perks have you enjoyed from being a pro racer?
Because of the similarities between action sports I’ve been able to travel to amazing locations and meet other extraordinary athletes along the way. Thanks to Sea-Doo, I had the opportunity to teach NFL players how to ride watercraft in the Battle of the Gridiron competition. I had a minor part in a movie titled “Making Waves.” For the past few years, I have been invited to participate in a charity golf tournament benefitting Florida Gulf Coast University’s athletics with a variety of other athletes from various professional sports.
ONBOARD — Where is your favorite PWC race site?
Oceanside, California has the biggest surf conditions. I prefer to race in big surf conditions because it pushes all of the racers to compete at a higher level.
ONBOARD — What is it about PWC racing that keeps you coming back?
I enjoy the thrill of going fast on the water, pushing my body to its limits. I also appreciate the camaraderie that we all experience as the PWC racing family.
ONBOARD — What is or has been YOUR favorite part of being part of the Sea-Doo X-TEAM?
My favorite part of being a Sea-Doo X-team rider is racing for a company as friendly, helpful and intelligent as BRP.
ONBOARD — What are you racing right now and what are looking forward to and who is supporting your 2012 efforts?
I am currently racing the new Sea-Doo RXP-X, and looking forward to racing to the best of my ability and representing Sea-Doo and BRP to the fullest. This couldn’t be achieved without Riva Racing, WRT, Hydro-turf, Jet Pilot, Craig Construction, Skat-Trak, Spy, DC Shoes, and Redbull.
BRP thanks Erminio for his time and passion for the sport.