There is also this...I've had this saved on my computer for a long time. Forget where it's from.
What is wakeboarding? The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines wakeboarding as "a short, very broad water ski ridden in the manner of a surfboard by a person towed by a motorboat." Pretty simple, right? It's just a form of waterskiing. All it is is something to do on a hot day in the middle of the summer to cool off. So why is there such a fuss about it? Why does Google pull up 816,000 websites containing wakeboarding? Why is there wakeboarding in the X-Games? Why does wakeboarding have its own Pro Tour? Why are you reading this?
Why? Because wakeboarding is much more than a sport. Have you ever sat down and thought of what wakeboarding really is? Sure, to a lot of you wakeboarding is just a sport. You participate when you want to and do other things when you are not wakeboarding, without giving it as much as another thought. But, to the others, especially those that are still reading this (and paying attention), wakeboarding is not just a sport.
I have been wakeboarding since August 24, 1994. Anytime before this date is now known as the BW (Before Wakeboarding) era. During my BW era, I waterskied, I kneeboarded, I tubed and, generally, I just screwed around on the water. However, once I got up for the first time on a wakeboard, I never looked back. There was something different about wakeboarding versus the other water sports. Wakeboarding gave me more freedom when I was behind the boat. I had more options when I was riding. It seemed to me that I was being sucked into something that instantly tried to take over my life. Wakeboarding soon turned into a drug that I could not live without
something that I simply couldn't get enough of. And, as I got more involved with wakeboarding, I noticed that the same feeling spread to those that were around me.
Now, odds are if you are still reading this and comprehending what I am saying, then you probably feel the same way about wakeboarding as I do. So what do you say when someone asks you what wakeboarding is? Have you ever really thought about what wakeboarding is to you? Wakeboarding isn't just when you are riding behind the boat. It is much more complex than that. To me, wakeboarding is:
Floating in the lake at 11 pm asking "Who's up next?"
Watching your best friend land a trick for the first time and making him come in the boat so you can go learn it real quick.
Making a pact with your buddies the night before you go ride to all try a Raley, and then having to hold up your end of the bargain.
Having a coffee table in your living room made out of a wakeboard.
The expression on someone's face as they get up for the first time.
The smell of an outboard engine.
Running a victory lap in the boat in perfectly calm water around your buddy that just landed an invert he had been working on forever.
Filling up the fat sacs at my buddy's house with his water hose to save time.
Keeping a calendar on the wall of every time you ride and noticing that you only missed 3 days within 3 months.
Having to cut bindings off of your friends' foot due to a bad fall.
Hopping around the living room in your board and bindings.
Riding almost 12 hours a day, then coming home and watching wakeboarding videos.
The sun stabbing your shoulders cause you have been out every day that week.
Teaching someone from a tube that is tied 10 feet in front of them.
Watching your buddy take crash after crash on Raleys, but still getting back up for more.
Driving the boat all day even though you can't ride.
Someone that you have never seen before in your life recognizing the Hyperlite symbol on your hat and striking up an hour-long conversation.
The rivers, lakes, bayous and ditches we have all ridden in.
Landing an invert on your first attempt.
Having a wakeboard banner on the wall in your house.
Having all 4 board racks full on your boat and still have boards on the floor.
Mosquitoes. ( at the slew)
The latest Wakeboard Magazine.
Wakeboarding one weekend, snowboarding the following and wakeboarding the next.
Blood all over your brand new white handle.
And the list goes on and on. But, there is one simple point that I am trying to express. To some, wakeboarding is a sport, but to others, it is a lifestyle. There are tons of riders that come and go, and then there are riders that are involved no matter what the consequences.
As riders, we are loyal to the wakeboarding. We defend it when it is attacked, we embrace it each time we are out on the boat and we support it by hosting tourneys, clinics and demos. We want to spread the stoke of wakeboarding to all, but, at the same time, we keep some things secret so we can enjoy it in our selfish ways. We support the companies that deliver wakeboarding to our doorstep and we curse those that try to take it away from us. We get upset when we have an off day on the water, yet we continue to come back for more. And, we continue to push ourselves to the mental and physical limits that are involved with wakeboarding each and every day.
So, if you ever get the chance, ask yourself what wakeboarding is to you and really put some thought into it. To me, wakeboarding is not just a sport, but it is a lifestyle. It is my lifestyle.