Archived Story

Summer is for wakeboarding

Published 1:25pm Friday, June 7, 2013

It’s miserably hot outside – a mere minute or two outside is all it takes to soak my shirt through.

My car, with its all black interior, is now a rolling 4-cylinder oven.

And despite my best efforts to keep my hair in check, there is no amount of mousse, gel or wax that can stop the sweat and humidity from turning my head into an espresso-colored Koosh ball.

But I couldn’t be any happier.

Summer is by far my favorite season.

I can already taste the fresh blackberries and feel the grass underneath my feet.

It’s time for flip-flops, poolside barbecues and Lake Martin Lemonade.

Yet for me, summer hasn’t quite started. Summer won’t begin until the first time I give that thumbs up and hear my friend Joseph’s old ski boat growl as it picks up speed. It won’t begin until I plane off for the first time, adjust my boardshorts and cut outside the wake for my first approach.

Until I ratchet down my bindings and catch my first set on my old Hyperlite Vero 143, it might as well still be spring.

If none of this sounds familiar, you are missing out on one of the best recreational opportunities summer has to offer – wakeboarding.

My high school years, my meager wages I earned working for my parents restaurant went straight into the 6-gallon can. Every morning we would wake up and load up the car with as many cans as we could find, and buy all the gas we could afford (my home river has little to no boat accessed fueling stations). We would haul it down to the dock and get out the siphon hose, trying our best not to waste a drop.

Then the fun would begin.

Sometimes we would be out on the water before the sun even came out. The water is pure glass at that time of day – not a ripple nor roller in sight. There is always a sense of satisfaction knowing that on that morning, your boat and your board are making the first waves of the day.

I am an adrenaline junky for sure, and I will admit that the fast-pace high-flying action of wakeboarding is what hooked me for life.

But it is about so much more than that. It isn’t about who the best boarder is, or who can throw the biggest tricks – it’s about hanging out with your friends, laughing and cutting up. It’s about being on the bow of the ship and feeling the sun on your face and wind in your hair.

I could fill this page with stories and reasons why I love it, but that is not the point of this column.

We live next to one of the most beautiful lakes in Alabama, and my advice for you is this – give it a try.

Of all the people I have taken out and coaxed out of the water and onto the surface for their first time, only a handful haven’t gone on to continue boarding.

You don’t have a boat or board to try it, either. Check out the calendar in our Lake Magazine. Marinas all over Lake Martin offer demo days and clinics to give first-timers some quality water time.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get up the first time. Stay the course. Because when you finally get the feeling of skimming along the water at 24 miles an hour, it will all be worth it.

Nelson is news editor for The Outlook.