On December 18, 2023, IJSBA received the horrific news that our insurance broker, Rick Felsen, passed away.  We have a featured picture of a powerboat instead of Rick because this is what Rick loved- the end of this posting will feature a true to life picture of this amazing man.  While the big boats were in his blood, he found room in those arteries and veins to come to care about Personal Watercraft Racing.  Our sport has been richer for having had Rick be a part of it.

A personal statement about Rick Felsen from the desk of IJSBA's Managing Director:

Rick Felsen ran Hawk Race Associates, a long time provider of insurance to powerboat events.  Rick loved what he did- both in powerboating and insurance brokering.  But, mostly, Rick just loved life.  When it came to his role as the United States best ever insurance broker for boat racing, he saw his skills in securing liability as a way to ensure powerboat racing could continue in restrictive markets.

Many years ago, IJSBA was interested in changing our coverage provider and the association crossed paths with Mr. Felsen.  Rick and myself spent a good two days haggling over the policy.  In the end, we both stood our ground over an amount less than $2000 and decided that since we couldnt come to terms over a small amount then we probably should not do business together.  It was a lose/lose situation; IJSBA would have paid way more for the policy with another broker and Rick would have lost a very good account over a small amount.  Each of us grabbed our marbles and went home.  The very next day, we got each other's voice mail as we, literally, called each other, simultaneously. to concede, having successfully tested the other party's limits.  This started an amazing friendship that was as personal as it was  professional.

Rick was good for an hour long phone conversation several times a month.  Rick lived fast and hard and could have been a great PWC Racer in the 90s with his "go fast and die hard" attitude.  Instead, he and his 32 foot racing catamaran took home a lot of trophies in the APBA circuit.  Challenges to the flesh, from his lifestyle, were mere inconveniences to Rick who often boasted he was part Jew and part Baptist upon receiving a donated organ from an African American woman.  Any of Rick's long phone calls would be a short talk about changes in insurance evolution and long, drawn out tall tales about racing.  Ritually, the conversation would turn into stories regarding nightclub encounters with wild women (one particular young lady had a chicken in her apartment, as a pet, that would cluck and peck when Rick game to visit).  Some too-good-to-be-true stories went from myth to gospel when plenty of photo evidence bombarded my text messages.  Rick Felsen had plenty of reason to smile in the pictures.  Rick loved fast cars, presumably because it got him to his fast women, well, faster!  His rotating collection of sporty vehicles personified a man who loved adventure and the good life.

Rick Felsen was a great friend to Personal Watercraft Racing, always going to bat for us to make sure we got the lowest possible rates.  He genuinely cared about our sport and wanted it to thrive as our tribe shared his passion for motorized speed on the water.  Most of all, Rick was a great personal friend always checking in, being encouraging, skewering me to be in better health, and always asking for pictures to see my son in a C8 Corvette out of pure interest in witnessing another generation coming to appreciate fast cars and good times.  I once shared with him a photo of my 7 year old getting a hot chocolate from a bikini coffee drive through (which he didn't believe existed) and had never heard a grown man laugh so much over the phone- the incident was a tribute to him and is a fun sharing memory I will always cherish.

Condolences go out to his family as well as Janice, his associate at Hawk Race Consultants.  I hope you guys know how much I will miss Rick and that you will forgive me for this raw eulogy celebrating one of the greatest characters I have ever known.  Rick, you were a true friend, tremendous business associate, generous mentor, and just a great and wonderful person.  You will be truly missed.