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Old     (bandit628)      Join Date: Feb 2016       05-17-2019, 8:43 AM Reply   
I love wakeboarding.
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This is the start of my 5th*full season wakeboarding. Last year I finally landed my first inverts. I donít know why I fell in love with wakeboarding so much. I learned to snowboard 5 years ago and loved the feeling of being on a board. I moved back home and the closest thing to it was wakeboardingÖ.so I bought a boat. Also, at the time I would have been 24, I realized wakeboarding is a young manís game, so I might as well do it now while I can.
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At first, I thought all my friends would want to go all the time on the weekends, get to the lake in the afternoon, wakeboard, hang out, swim, and just have a good time. Boy was I wrong. As young adults everyoneís schedule is busy. To get to the lake it takes a lot of time and you have to make it a priority. So, I quickly found out which friends of mine loved boating (or rather wakeboarding and watersports) as much as I did and because of that have become a lot closer. I donít hold it against my non-boating friends at all, itís just not what theyíre into or donít have time, I get it.
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Another thing I quickly learned, was that prime-time boating time is not the same as prime-time wakeboarding time. If itís a nice weather day on the, weekend in the summer before 10AM everyone and their brother is on the lake. This makes for some very rough water and about impossible to wakeboard. So early mornings on the weekends and late nights through the week after work have become the norm. I wish I had easy access to a lake like Cumberland or Norris where you can find glassy water anytime of the day because of the sheer size and geographical features of the region, but alas I do not. The closest lake is a roughly a 1000-acre city owned lake that gets busy in the summer, but overall, Iím blessed with this lake because it has about a 2-mile run and doesnít catch an exuberant amount of wind.
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Wakeboarding is hard. Let me reiterate:* wakeboarding is so hard. But damn it is so much fun, when everything (your brain and body) is working right itís amazing. I have tried countless times to try and land a new trick, and when you finally do it is so rewarding. To quote Jimmy Dugan, ďItís supposed to be hard. If it wasnít hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.Ē He was talking about baseball and not wakeboarding, but this can be applied to a lot of sports and different ambitions in life.
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Besides the adrenaline rush of flying through the air 70 feet behind the boat I think the reason I like wakeboarding so much is all the physics and factors involved. When I first got into it, I had no clue. Speed of the boat, model of boat, how much ballast is in the boat, how many people are in the boat, ballast distribution throughout the boat, rope length, boat prop, body weight, board size, board curvature, line tension, handle control, and water conditions are all part of the equation. Iím sure most guys just fill the ballast tanks up, grip it and rip it. But my over analytical mind takes over along with my OCD, so I want to be able to repeat things every time and know why I canít land a trick on a certain day. That being said, I think one of the reasons wakeboarding is so hard is because all of the factors involved. On any given day one or more of the factors have changed, thus changing the equation.
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Another aspect of wakeboarding and watersports I enjoy is the family and social aspect of it. The whole family can be involved. Everyone is in the boat and can witness and congratulate each other on their successes behind the boat. And unlike snow-sports, everyone can hang out together no matter their skill level. Also, through wakeboarding I have met some awesome people, made some great friends, and have met some outstanding wakeboarders that I have had to privilege to watch ride. Everyone has their own riding style and bag of tricks they can land. Itís surprising how much you can learn by just watching another skilled wakeboarder ride. The team aspect of the sport is wonderful because everyone wants you to progress and vice versa.
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Sounds like all unicorns and rainbows, right? Well remember that I said wakeboarding is a young manís game. The bad part about wakeboarding is that it involves some inherent risk, stamped on every wakeboard is a warning ďuse of this product could cause injury and possibly death.Ē While I havenít heard of very many wakeboarding deaths (they do occur rarely, mainly due to drowning and not wearing a proper CGA lifejacket), injuries are fairly common. Half or more of the pro-wakeboarders wear knee braces which is indicative of an ACL tear. In my crew, we have yet to have an ACL tear (knock on wood), but we have had our share of injuries including: concussions, perforated ear drums, torn meniscus, chipped teeth, and the common pulled muscles. It might sound like a daunting list of injuries but for almost 5 years of riding it is pretty small. When you think about any sports, injuries occur, itís just part of life. For myself and my crew the risk is worth the reward. The key, like with anything, is to use common sense and ride within your ability level. For me the benefits of exercise and staying in shape far out weight the negatives. Iím positive that wakeboarding has kept me in shape better than it has injured me, because now I go to the gym to stay in shape so that Iím able to wakeboard better.
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Another factor that goes into wakeboarding is the boat itself. I know cable parks are becoming more common throughout the country that make wakeboarding accessible without a boat, but I do not live close to one, so a boat is a necessity. While I overall enjoy owning my boat and using it, it is a financial burden. The upfront cost, fuel costs, and maintenance costs all add up. My friends regularly help with fuel cost which helps, but it still costs to own and maintain a boat. Not only monetary cost, but a boat requires a lot of time to keep it in good condition. My wife jokes with me that I am boat crazy, I always retort that no Iím wakeboarding crazy and the boat is just the necessary evil. Donít get me wrong I like my boat but if I were given the option of to just wakeboard without the hassle of owning a boat it would be hard to pass up.
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In closing, I donít really know what compelled me to write this essay, I guess my love for the sport of wakeboarding. It is by far the hardest but most rewarding sport I have done. I hope you enjoyed the read and can relate to some of topics I mentioned.
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