From the time he was born in 1955, Tim Arfons was exposed to a work ethic that combined speed, excitement, showmanship and "thinking outside of the box." Growing up under the watchful eye of his father, the legendary three-time outright land speed record holder, Art Arfons, it was probably only natural Tim would follow his father's path. As he grew to adulthood, Tim watched and later began to participate in his Dad's quests in the famed "Green Monster" to be the "Fastest Man on Earth" on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah.
Tim has always enjoyed boating and jet skis, so it became somewhat a natural extension that he'd try to expand his horizons to the water.
Using some of the experience he acquired building the jet quad runners, he built a jet-powered jet ski when the jet skis became popular. "I thought I'd try it, and see what would happen," he recalls.
It was powered by a surplus Teledyne J-402 engine used in a Cruise missile. The engine developed 700 lbs. of thrust.
He says, "I was trying to expand into watersports and even went to Sea World of Ohio to talk with them about the possibility of doing shows during their water ski events. However, the thought of doing 2 shows a day didn't really appeal to me, and I was the only person that could operate it.
"We built it, then tested it at the Portage Lakes near his home south of Akron (where my dad had a tried a jet boat many years earlier). However, on its first paid show at a lake in northeast Ohio, it slowly sank going around a turn. It just didn't do what I thought it was going to do.
"In hindsight, it was a mistake to build it. It certainly was a learning experience."