I’m glad there’s a day set out each year to remind us to reflect on that for which we are thankful. Hopefully, it’s not the only time you grab the opportunity to appreciate what you have because it’s easy to take things for granted no matter what your circumstances.
I’ve got so much to be thankful for that it would take a book to cover it all. Since Thanksgiving comes in a little less than 12 hours and I really need to get this article done, I’m going to bypass the book thing and just focus on the top wake-related things for which I’m thankful. I’m just three days out from one of the best wakeboarding weekends I’ve had in a long time and it went a long way towards highlighting everything listed below.
This one is glaringly (pun intended) obvious, so it has to lead the list. Not only does the sun sustain all life as we know it (which is nice), but it keeps us warm when we’re wearing hardly anything out on the boat all day. It’s also responsible for those golden tans that make those scantily clad bodies look so good.
Most importantly, the sun shines down on the water which is the basis of our very sport and it beats back the sting of the cold. We’re thankful that we have wetsuits and drysuits to deal with cold water when we have to, but how much better is wakeboarding when you can rock it with just your boardshorts or bikini?
Let’s face, it’s not required for a fun day on the water? That’s the beauty of our sport; even if the wakeboarding conditions suck, it’s still possible to have a great day out on the water. That being said, when you add a glassy water surface to the formula, it’s almost like magic. If you haven’t experienced a Zen moment staring at the reflection of the landscape in your favorite watering hole, then you must be new to the sport (i.e. you’ll have your moment soon) or you’re just not paying attention.
Sometimes I look at the boats that are coming out these days and wonder how things got so crazy…then I go out on the lake and take advantage of all the creature comforts in my boat and wonder how I could ever survive without them. Speed control, automatic ballast, ridiculous stereos, plenty of luxurious seating, trash cans (yes, I’m throwing the awesomeness of a trash can into this list), touch screen controls and so much more. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has spent hours just sitting in one place floating with friends on their boat.
This one might belong under the Boats category above, but it’s a topic of its own for a couple of reasons. First, it’s not actually in the boat…it’s about 75 feet behind it (or directly behind it for you wakesurfers). Second, it’s certainly the most important feature of the boat if you’re looking to include some wakesports in your day.
The Who once released an album called Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy and that, in my humble opinion, is the bestdescription I’ve ever heard for the perfect wake. Most of you can picture your wake approach in your head right now…the curve, the lip (be it peaked or rounded), the size. When it’s just right, you hardly have to do anything beyond pointing your board at it.
I’m from California, so I don’t get the opportunity to hit rails that much. Outside of my occasional visits to cable parks in Florida, I can count on my hands how many rails I’ve hit. However, the little taste I’ve gotten has convinced me that I want a whole mouthful. In fact, I vow that 2013 will be the year that I build and hit a rail of my own making!
I have a great admiration for those that build rails and continue to do so in innovative and creative ways. I’m especially fond of rails formed at little or no cost utilizing parts pulled from or “borrowed” from the local environment. Nothing is better than watching somebody slay a contraption that they threw together with chewing gum, duct tape and whatever else they could get their hands on. And while I’m getting misty about it, I’d also like to express how thankful I am for the word “janky!”
Whether they belong to you or they are someone else’s responsibility, watching kids grow up within the wakeboarding lifestyle is not only amazing, but it is the best reminder of why we got into the sport in the first place and why we should be thankful. Kids don’t care about the wake being unbalanced, they won’t notice if the speed control isn’t working, they don’t ask if we can top off the gas tanks in order to get maximum ballast and they don’t punch the water and scream if they can’t land a trick. If it’s windy, they’re just as happy getting on a tube and taking advantage of the chop while the adults all grumble about a little breeze.
If you ever find yourself frustrated, angry or down while you’re out for a day on the water, find a kid and ask yourself why they’re having so much fun. That should slap you out of your funk and get you back into thankful mode.
Our sport is unique in that it’s not something you do for 60 or 90 minutes and then head home. Unless you drove to the cable park alone, it’s not something you can do by yourself either. It’s truly a lifestyle and is as much about the stuff you do in between sets as it is about the actual time you spend with a handle in your hand. For you to enjoy the sport over a long period of time, you almost have to have a crew of friends with whom you can enjoy it.
Think about all the stuff you do with friends on wake trips when you’re not hitting a wake. BBQ, campfires, music, horseshoes, swimming, potato guns, fireworks, floating, napping, rope swings, slip n’ slides, building rails, tweaking your gear or jumping a tiny boat across someone else’s wake! The entire sport is built around hanging out with your friends. Like I always say, even if you take the wakeboarding out of wakeboarding, you’re still left with a pretty decent day hanging with friends.
There you go. Now just prior to shoveling ridiculous amounts of turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie down your gullet on this day, you can bow your head and be thankful for everything I’ve listed above. You’re welcome!