What type of system do you have at home? That would help narrow down your options. If you're still in school, many of the top names like Adobe, Apple, Avid, etc.. offer educational discounts.
Until your budget permits and as John O said, you can easily create some cool home wakeboard videos with something as simple and free as Movie Maker II. The following link is a demo I slapped together using Movie Maker II ( http://www.dpcfilms.com/howto/videos/contest_entry2_0004.wmv
). The goal was the exhibit the features of the product so there are about 7-8 effects that you'll easily notice which I would never use otherwise. Take this time to develop your editing skill which can then be carried over to any system.
If your goal is to eventual work for an establish production company then I would focus on getting familiar with Avid, Final Cut, and After Effects since that's what majority of them use. CAMERA:
I 100% agree with Rich on "Again not waving the cam like a flag and wearing out the zoom control". Focus on keeping your camera steady (which may be difficult because the DCR TRV38 is so light) and framing your shots properly. ACCESSORIES:
If you plan on shooting from land make sure to get a good tripod (not the $40 - 90 models from Circuit City, Best Buy, etc..). Doing a search on eBay for "bogen video tripod"
For lenses I would recommend Century Optics, but that maybe something for down the road since they're expensive.
For water housings check out: http://www.cervenka.net/wake/VideoHousings/index.asp
for a range of choices.
Cool, hope that helps and we look forward to seeing some of your work in the future!
(Message edited by dcervenka on April 14, 2004)