Is coming back to wakeboarding, like riding a bike?
LIKE RIDING A BIKE?
For this summer The Board Basement has ventured into Wakeboarding. There are many crossovers between snowboarding and wakeboarding, so it was only a matter of time before we would make the move. After speaking to a lot of our customers, we decided to go for it. And we are glad we did. Selling wakeboards requires that we need to know what we are taking about. The techincal side of things are fairly similar, with the difference of the fins and channels underneath the base, that you won't find on a normal Snowboard. But in order to truly understand the feeling of riding a wakeboard and give advice to customers, staff at The Board Basement needs to ride them. Which is not a bad thing when you live in the South West of England. We are not just stocking wakeboarding products, we are also actively promoting two local Wakeboarding companies, that we have teamed up with. So as part of this, Spencer and Rich travelled up to North Devon wake park which is one of the local wakeboarding companies. This is what went through Spencers head before, during and after the mini wakeboard trip to North Devon.
Having worked in snowboarding since I was 19 (I’m currently the wrong side of 35) I’ve heard all the excuses people throw out:
“I’m a bit old.”
“I’ve had kids.”
“Not with these knees mate!”
For years I couldn’t get my head around the excuses. If you want to do something, do it!
But as I’ve grown older, I too have found myself becoming guilty of making these excuses. I can admit this without too much shame because (let’s be honest) most of us do it. And this is where I have to confess that I have not wake-boarded for 9 years...
While we all have day-to-day responsibilities, it’s important to feed the soul every so often. And so it was time to see if I could get back on the saddle, or in this case, back on the cable. My colleague Rich and I jumped in the car for the 90-minute cruise up to North Devon Wake Park, located 9 miles west of Bideford. That was plenty of time to build up some anxiety around my lack of physical fitness, back problems and poor eyesight.
Upon arriving we were greeted by Joe, the father of this family-run business, and you couldn’t help but like him straight away. You could tell immediately that this guy had nothing but passion and love for the sport, and the community that we had just walked into.
After signing in and getting changed into a wetsuit, helmet and buoyancy aid (impact vest), Joe had given us some pointers on how to ride the 2-point cable. We had about 15 mins of spectating time before our session started, which was well-appreciated as it gave us time to watch others and learn where to initiate turns at either end of the cable to prevent slack (which is a bad thing on corners).
Approaching the jetty, we met Alfie, son of Joe. He was controlling the cable and gave us a few pointers. He knew we were snowboarders so he assured us that we’d be fine. The moment was upon me. I went first (having wakeboarded before).Turns out that old adage is equally applicable to wakeboarding. It really is just like riding a bike. Straight up, I had no issues; riding up to the end and turning with ease. Now I feel like quite the chump, having overthought and over-analysed it previously.
Before long, I was carving around like I was 9 years younger and 3 stone lighter. I even took on some of the mean obstacles on offer. Now this blog may take a U-turn like Lance Armstrong’s career, from being nervous to “hey everyone come see how good I look”, but I can’t take all the credit for my new-found confidence; I had Alfie and Rich egging me on and throwing out tips to inspire me to hit the kickers and sliders.
After my 15-minute slot was up, my body was swearing at me. I had time to digest the whole experience and do some more of that over analysing that I’m oh-so-very good at. At face value,wakeboarding looks like a very solo sport: you, a board and a cable. And I guess some places it might feel like that. But at the North Devon Wakeboard Park, the set-up allows you to feel like you’re riding with friends for your whole session.
When you look around you can see that it’s not full of uber cool wakeboarders who are judging you. It’s full of everyone: men, women, kids, families, mates, everyone. What Joe and his family have managed to do at the North Devon Wake Park is to create an area that’s welcoming and much more than a cable system.It’s an experience. Today I feel rather stupid. All those excuses for 9 years, I now feel pretty foolish.
So, ask yourself what’s your excuse?