Home Peir Point Water Sports Centre, near Nottingham, England.
In September of 2004 I was contacted by Sam Barcroft of Barcroft Media. He had read the website and wanted to do a story about me. His suggestion was for us to go and try some new activities with him and one of his reporters. This sounded like a great idea!
One of the activities offered was wakeboarding. I had tried water skiing before, but felt it was very hard to keep my legs together. (Oo err missus!) I wasn?t much better on snow skis, but give me a snowboard, surfboard or mountainboard, and that was a different matter. So wakeboarding seemed to be another one of those ?board? sports that I may stand a chance at succeeding in!
The venue for this activity was to be Holme Peir Point Water Sports Centre, near Nottingham. This centre is made up of several good size lakes designed to be used for water sports. They had a pulley system set up on one of these lakes, which meant there was no need to use a boat. Just grap the line and off you go.
The area that we used for the wakeboarding was a lake around 200 metres long and 70 metres across. There was a boat in this lake and that was going to be my transport for this session. Here I met Anne and Antony. Anne was to be my driver and Antony was to be my instructor. After getting kitted out in wetsuit, life jacket, etc, it was off to the water to meet the wakeboard!
The session started with a bar attached to the side of the boat. The plan was for me to hold on to this bar, (a lot more stable for a novice than ropes, etc), whilst learning how to stand on the board, twist my body and try to keep upright. As a board rider I didn?t expect this to be too hard. I hadn?t taken the strain on my fore arms into consideration.
With all feeling good, Anne revved the boat and off we went. Getting up into the standing position was a lot harder than I had expected, but once I was up, wow, what a buzz!! After what must only have been around 10 seconds, my forearms were ready to burst! The strain was unbelievable. I soon had to let go of the bar and splash into the water. After a short rest (a minute or so), I was ready to try again. This time I managed to stay up for a lot longer and we almost got all the way around the lake! Great, I was now a wakeboarder!!
Not quite. This was only the basic bit. As I was oozing confidence now, Antony decided it was time to try it with the rope. No problem! That shouldn?t be a problem for this natural born wakeboarder!!
Antony talked me through how to sit in the water, hold the rope, give instructions to the boat, etc. Easy peesy. I was all set. I gave the signal for the boat to take up the slack, bent my knees and shouted ?full power?. Superman!! Instead of gracefully standing up and heading off around the lake, I went head first and took to the air, then splash!! This was not going to be as easy as I had told myself.
After a few more attempts I managed to get to my feet, with Antony holding me up by my life jacket. Once on my feet it was my forearms that gave in first. We had been in the water for around 10-15 minutes and Antony and Anne decided that I probably needed to rest my arms for a few minutes. I wasn?t so sure about this, but took the professionals advice.
Sure enough after a short break of around 5 minutes, we were back in the water and my arms felt brand new. We were ready to go. I assumed the position, and off we went. As usual, Antony helped me up on to my feet and helped me keep my balance whilst upright. After a few seconds of getting my balance, etc, I felt ready to go it alone. I turned to Antony to ask him to let go of me, but he had gone. I had been doing it on my own!! Wow!! For the next 10 minutes or so I was wakeboarding with very little help from Antony.
The adrenaline was pumping so strong that I hardly noticed my straining arms and shoulders. This natural born wakeboarder had finally found his feet.
Wakeboarding is definitely something I will be doing again, and if you ever get a chance to do it ? Go For It!!