I recently fell in love all over again with the sport of wakeboarding. A family trip to Powell a few weeks ago helped me remember what I love so much about this sport - the smell of the boat, the sound of the engine, the joy on someone's face when they land their first wake jump, the feeling of cutting out hard and doing a powerslide on the morning glass; basically the simple things are what bring me the most joy. It has been almost 11 years since I wakeboarded seriously. When I say seriously I mean a few times per week. My brother, friend and I started on the O'Brien Shredder. When my brother got the Hyperlite BAFF for his birthday, it was almost too good to be true. I couldn't believe how good the cushioned bindings felt compared to straps. Wakeboarding was all I thought about. We would get the magazines taken away from us in school and we would write the names of our favorite wakeboarders in the front of the text books. The ultimate rush came when we got to meet Shaun Murray at a boat show and play crack the egg with him on the trampoline!
Our back rolls came with a lot of trial and error, but the tantrums and raleys followed closely behind. We just knew we were on our way to becoming pros and joining the ranks of other groms recently turned pro - Parks Bonifay and Randy Harris. The only pro at the time living in AZ was Jason Cooley and we were planning on adding some representation to the desert state. We started riding more, training harder, and learning moves on the trampoline and taking them to the water. Some of the initial joy had left when I started focusing on doing "tricks" and not just having fun for myself. It was like I would just take requests and do what people on the boat or passing boats wanted me to do.
The beginning of the end came when I found out that my family was moving to Utah. I was somewhat excited because I was just getting into snowboarding as well, but I would no longer be around my wakeboarding crew. My wakeboarding dreams and aspirations grew more bleak as the years started passing by with college, marriage, children, and a career. Through all of this I almost lost the desire to strap on a board because I knew I would never be able to do it professionally or get the many sponsorships I had once dreamed of. I had forgotten why I had wakeboarded in the first place.
So two weeks ago with my wife and three kids, (my wife had 2 kids when we married and we have a 4 month old son) we met up with my parents and siblings with their families at Lake Powell. My kids seemed intrigued when we first rode on the boat and I showed them what a wakeboard was. They thought I was absolutely amazing when I strapped on, took a run, and landed my back roll and raley after almost a three year hiatus from wakeboarding. Their excitement reminded me of a younger me who was less focused on getting sponsored and more focused on having fun. I talked my kids into wakeboarding with me. They held onto the rope handle between my hands, stood on the board in between my feet, and had the time of their lives.
My brother and I have since become once again obsessed with wakeboarding. Not that we think we will become sponsored or win a pro-tour stop, but because we will be able to ride on water while learning new moves and having fun with friends and family. Please donít forget why you fell in love with wakeboarding like I did. My only problem now is coming up with the cash for a new boat because my parents live out of state!
Rip it up
(here are the videos of me and my kids wakeboarding) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD_rLXBNSL0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwUJGzzI-gs