IN THEIR WORDS: MARATHON’S JACK MARCHANT’S JOURNEY TO THE KEYS
Jack Marchant is no stranger to change — from moving around the east coast to changing college majors — Jack has let the waves of life guide him; and it seems like they’ve been kind. Currently running a Jetsurf rental business headquartered in Marathon, his entrepreneurial spirit is on full display, evenly matched with what his clients have said is an endlessly kind and encouraging attitude.
Marchant’s company provides top-of-the-line 2021 Jetsurf powered surfboards and all the necessary safety equipment with every rental. While he and the team offer instruction and assistance for groups and individuals, repeat customers and those already skilled on the boards can pretty much just rent and go.
The Keys Weekly had the chance to talk with Marchant about his life before the Keys, how its changed here and his hopes for the future.
Here’s Marchant, in his own words.
I’m a Keys transplant, I only just moved here in May. I’m originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then I lived and went to school in South Carolina the last few years at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach; my parents moved down there as well. I’m actually still a senior, I’m just finishing my degree online right now. During the pandemic, I had a whole year to basically just sit and think. So I was like, I want to start a business. I still have to finish with the last bit of school but I’m ahead on credits so I decided to try it out.
Living and working here in the Keys has been absolutely amazing. Ever since I was 13 and stayed here at Hawks Cay with my family I’ve been trying to find out how to get back down here. I picked Marathon because we used to stay here and I’ve just loved it; the locals have been awesome and everyone’s just been really welcoming. Plus I love the hot weather, the incredible water … it’s just been the best. You’ll never hear me complaining about anything down here; it’s perfect for me.
Basically, we rent out motorized surfboards called Jetsurfs. They’ve got hearty 100cc motors in ’m and they can go up to 35 miles an hour. We’ve got governors (speed limiters) we can put on them for newbies to help them go slower but you can really go as fast as you want; it just usually takes some time to get used to the board.
It’s about a 10- to 15-minute learning curve for most. I mean, if people have prior board experience like snowboarding or wakeboarding, I’ve had them get up on the first few tries. It’s really easy after a while, I even got my 50-year-old parents both up and I got a 65-year-old lady riding, which was pretty cool. If you’re determined and you want to get up, you’ll get up.
My favorite thing about my job at the end of the day has to be that I’m not stressed out, that I get to work outside. I think that’s the greatest blessing. I was going to school to be an accountant but I ended up switching to entrepreneurial management to get a sense of things and I honestly realized I didn’t want to work in an office all day. I just love getting out and meeting new people; I mean I’ve had people who’ve told me this is the coolest thing they’ve ever done and that means a lot to me. I remember as a kid going on vacations and doing cool things and I remember all the tour guides’ names and I hope families and kids are having that same experience with us.
The dream, and this might be a little ways out for now, but my goal is to make the Keys THE jet surfing location. We want to try to expand to different resorts and hotels and get this normalized down here. We want it to be that when you think jet surfing, you think Florida Keys. Right now we’ve got our main location but we want to establish a bunch of other set locations throughout the Keys.
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