My second stint in Luxembourg was spent coaching at Youth Wake, which is another club that rides on the Moselle. They have a killer setup, which includes a large houseboat that is attached to the docks, a trampoline on the roof and an X-Star. When I first showed up at the club there were a few guys there eating croissants and playing Shaun Murray’s Pro Wakeboarder and I could tell that they were excited about riding.
Before going out on the water, I wanted to talk to the guys and see where they were at with their riding and what they were hoping to accomplish over the next few days. Like usual, everybody said that they wanted to learn a flip, but several of them told me that their wake to wake jumps weren’t too consistent. So after going over how to do good jumps, we got ready to ride and piled into the boat.
Before hopping off the dock, my first rider of the day told me that he understood what I was talking about, but he wanted to show me exactly what he normally does and he wanted me to correct it from there. I told him that was ok as long as he didn’t charge the wake as hard as possible. So what does he do? He got up and cut out wide (and I mean wide), so I tried to yell at him and get him to stop. It was too late. He hammers in on his edge, backs off about 15 feet from the wake, absorbs the wake with his knees, gets about six inches of air, clips his tail on the second wake causing him to dip his nose into the trough and got wrecked. At that point he was done for the day and all I could do was tell everyone to never jump like that.
As it turns out, most of the riders at the club learned to jump exactly the same way, so instead of having the next rider go out and crash hard, I decided to do a demo ride and show them how easy and relaxed a wake jump can be. This, along with reassuring them that it was ok to learn how to float one wake jumps before attempting wake to wake proved to be the most beneficial thing for their riding.
From that point on, most of the riders were willing to take that step back in order to move forward with their riding. After the four days of clinics, they were comfortably jumping wake to wake, doing grabs, hitting 180s and one of the guys even landed a toeside backroll. Everybody improved and I was no longer scared of anybody’s riding.
Actually, the only other thing that scared me that week was a crash that I took. I was feeling a little tired on one of the days and my plan was to take the day off from riding. Of course, plans changed when I showed up to Youth Wake and there was an American there who had driven over from Holland to ride with us for the day. So I start out taking it easy and as I warm up I start pushing myself more and more. At one point I land a massive indy backside 180 out into the flats and thought, "Wow that felt good. Maybe I should do an indy roll to blind just as big."
I hadn’t done one in a few sets, but they typically work out pretty well. As I’m edging into the wake, I realize that I’m cutting into a bunch of rollers. Since I’m already committed and I’ve never really crashed hard on this trick, I decide to just go with it. Bad move. I lost my edge at the wake, which caused me to stall out halfway through the trick. My back edge hit first and my body was at a 45º angle to the water. I hit hard and luckily remained fully aware of what was going on, but couldn’t feel my body from the neck down. As I climbed onto the platform, I became extremely relieved as I started to regain sensation throughout my body. That was definitely up there with one of the most intense crashes that I have ever had.
Since my neck had locked up a bit, I did take the next day off of riding to allow my broken body to heal, which was a good call on my part. Of course, the day after that was gorgeous and I wasn’t going to hold back. I knew that no matter how bad that crash was, I had to throw that big indy roll to blind again or it was going to start messing with my head. Luckily it worked out that time and I had a great ride.
Since this week wasn’t as busy as my first week in Luxembourg, Andy, Gulp (one of the guys from the club) and I ventured into Luxembourg City to wander around, grab some dinner and maybe have a beverage or two. The city was awesome. It was very clean and well lit up. Andy pointed out all of the locations where suicidal individuals jump off of and plummet to earth below. He also told me about the layout of the city and how there were secret tunnels throughout the area to help protect the Luxembourgers from any invasions.
When I first arrived in Luxembourg, Andy asked me what I would like to do while I was in town. I had no idea what my options were, so he sarcastically told me about the famous Schmetterlingsgarten (butterfly garden), which he had never been to. I decided that we had to go check it out. So on my last day in Luxembourg, we made our way into the Schmetterlingsgarten. This had to be the warmest place in Europe and it felt so nice to be in the heat and humidity again that I didn’t want to leave. It felt like home except for all of the crazy butterflies and funny looking birds all over the place.
After the butterfly garden, we made our way to one of the only wakeboard shops in Luxembourg, Surfin. Andy wanted me to meet the owner and show him the O’Brien Paradigm since at least ten riders in Luxembourg threatened to steal or buy my board off of me. The store was massive and they had a large selection of skateboards, snowboards, surfboards, kiteboards and, of course, some wakeboards. I was not expecting to walk into a shop in Luxembourg and be reminded of a place like Performance Ski and Surf.
From there, we were off to Ski Nautique Grevenmacher for a few more lessons and then a quick video shoot with the national news (below). They wanted to do a piece about my trip to Luxembourg and feature some riding from myself as well as my customers. To top it off, I had to finish up with a nice little interview on the dock which was later translated to the point that I have no idea what was asked as well as what my responses were.
Next stop Sweden!