New Videos Of Restored Miss Burien Hydroplane In Action

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Hard to believe, but at one time the city of Burien had its very own mascot hydroplane, the aptly-named Miss Burien.

She never won a race, but for a scrappy boat on a relatively low budget, she was pretty competitive (kinda like Burien, no?), and certainly helped increase the profile of this here ‘burb.

Here are two recent videos of our namesake boat in action on Lake Washington:



The story of this much-loved and historic machine goes back to the late 1950s, and involves an organization called “Greater Burien, Inc.”, a precursor to the current-day Discover Burien (hey, how about a “Miss Discover Burien” hydro? Or “Misunderstood Burien“?), which funded its own hydroplane.

According to the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum:

The original Miss Burien became kindling on Lake Coeur d’Alene during the running of the Diamond Cup in 1959. Like all unlimited hydroplane aficionados, owner Peter Woeck wanted to see the legacy of his boat continue. Woeck and his supporting cast of Greater Burien Inc. commissioned Ted Jones to build a larger, more competitive Miss Burien.

The Burien remained the flagship of every person who dreamed of running with the big boys. While she never had the depth of financial or equipment resources that the well-heeled teams possessed, she still put on a good show. In her first race, the 1960 Apple cup, she took third behind Miss Thriftway and Nitrogen Too, but out pointed Miss Bardahl. Chuck Hickling, a steady pilot, drove her in the Apple Cup and in a number of other races. Hickling later guided her to a second place finish at the Diamond Cup, winning the final heat but losing on total points. In 1961 Hickling and the Burien took second in the Seafair Trophy Race.

The Miss Burien never raced east of the Rockies, but she always put up a fight on the Western circuit. She campaigned as the Tempest in 1962 and ’63. She continued to be competitive, but never sustained the pressure to earn the winner’s circle. In 1964 she raced under three different names with results similar to her past. In 1965 her registered number was changed to U-50 and she competed as Savair’s Probe and was finally known simply as Probe. The boat was retired in 1980 and later donated to the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum.

She was restored by the Museum in 1996 as the Miss South Park and finally completed her return to her roots by representing the ageless dream of every racing fan under her given name: Miss Burien, U-4.

Last we heard, the Miss Burien was still doing “vintage hydro” exhibition heats during races. We’re not sure where she’s stored these days, but we bet the good folks at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum know.

They’re located at 5917 South 196th Street in Kent; phone: 206.764.9453

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