It’s fair to say I like the more extreme outdoor pursuits with my crashing of cross country mountain bikes, face-planting power kites, falling off mountain boards… I’m going to pretend I’m any good, but I like them and therefore I thought I’d give wakeboarding a go. Suffice to say it was “plain sailing”.
Back in San Juan Del Sur I tried surfing for the first time and I couldn’t get the technique for paddling out right – in the end I wiped out a young boy and had to call it a day. It was therefore with a little trepidation I tried wakeboarding, but with no children to hit and the technique more akin to mountain boarding I thought I might be ok.
I was wrong. It’s much harder.
I paid my monies, got changed, put on a life vest, found a helmet that nearly fit and walked confidently over to the launch area with a beginner board. I stood in the short queue watching the others fall in and then with no idea of what I needed to do, put my feet into the straps, sat on the little seat, gripped the handle, readied myself and then GO.
Splash, face-plant straight off the seat. Still, it was close to the ladders to climb back out.
The routine hadn’t changed much. I’d sit down on the step, tense my stomach, hold the handle near my chest, lean back, tense my legs and launch. I was getting better and wouldn’t face-plant until I’d been dragged five or ten metres. Then the big crash happened. I fell backwards and it hurt. It hurt a lot.
I had it. I was standing up, I’d left the start point and was making the first curve onto the main course and got it hideously wrong. The board went to the right and left me facing backwards. The board shot up into the air and I fell backwards striking the water hard. My head slapped the water and my neck instantly hurt.
It hurt a lot and I could tell I was already a little stiff, but it was manageable and I wasn’t about to give up. Back to the ladders and re-join the queue.
Given that I have flown power kites and have had my fair share of tumbles, I know how to let go of the handles. I’ve experienced and have seen the outcome of not letting go when my dad had a go, fell and lay in a crumpled mess on the floor terrifying me. I’m therefore usually quite good at letting go. This time I didn’t.
This time, my feet left the board and I did a superman impression soaring high into the air before executing a nigh on perfect dive into the water. I felt graceful and elegant even if I wasn’t meant to be flying but standing on a wakeboard. Turns out, it didn’t quite the look the same from the shore, but everyone was impressed with the height I’d achieved.
It was a little further to swim back this time.
I got it. I was up and standing properly. I made it to the main course and almost to the first jump (I wasn’t about to hit the hump, but it was a handy distance marker). I was elated. I was grinning. I whooped. I fell.
It was even further to swim back this time – I almost made the ramps.
My last run. I had this. An hours practice. My previous runs had gone well and I’d nearly stood up and made my target of the first jump. Splash. I face planted straight off the start seat.
Still, it was close to the ladders to climb back out.
A slight tangent
For your amusment purposes, this is my attempts at flying my powerkite…
More pictures of the wakeboarding available at Ski 180 in Singapore are available in the Digitallery album Wakeboarding
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