After trying stand up paddle boarding last year, I was eager to have a go at another landlocked water activity. So when Kelly spotted a Groupon voucher code for wakeboarding, it was the perfect opportunity to get something booked.
I didn’t know much about wakeboarding before our session and didn’t really know what to expect, other than the fact that it maybe involved a boat, was probably a bit like water skiing, and that my cousin (also a surfer) had a go and absolutely loved it.
I now know that wakeboarding developed from a combination of surfing, snowboarding and water skiing and although riders are usually towed behind a boat or personal watercraft, a cable system is another way of wakeboarding over the surface of the water. This is the set-up that Wakelake use – the first cable tow centre in the West Midlands which is handily located about 15 miles from where I live.
I was a bit nervous to start with, especially when it came to having my feet strapped into the boots that were attached to the board. I’m used to having the freedom to move my feet around on a surfboard so this felt very alien and a bit scary at the thought of being in a fixed position with no means of pressing the eject button!
It’s a very fine line to get the right balance so that you don’t either faceplant or sink backwards into the water and it took a few attempts to find a happy medium. To start with, I found myself going straight into surfer mode – I was supposed to ride along for a few seconds in a squat position with both feet facing the way I was travelling but I kept straight away pointing my ‘regular’ foot forward like in surf stance which resulted in a fair few bum plants!
But when I did find my groove and I started zipping along the surface at what felt like 50 miles an hour (but was probably more like 15), I felt such a rush. It was absolutely exhilarating and I was whooping like I do when I catch a really good wave and just having an absolute blast! For a moment I thought about tow surfing and although there were no waves on the lake, it made me wonder what it must be like to speed along on a 20ft wave hitting every lump and bump on the face and maintain such control with your legs in that fixed position. It’s a question I should have asked Andrew Cotton last week!
My confidence grew to the point where I had a go at doing some turns and when I finished my ride, I found myself almost doing a little tail drift / carve. Accidental as it was, I almost felt like Lakey Peterson for a moment doing a maasive hack on a 5ft wave. I can but dream…!
In contrast I also had some lovely zen moments whilst I waited for the instructor to position the cable ready for the next ride. There I was, lying on my back in a freshwater lake strapped to a board and being at total peace. The sun was shining, it was a fairly warm day and the water felt almost tropical compared to what I was expecting. It just felt so good to be back in a wetsuit in the water and I couldn’t wait for the next opportunity!
Fortunately, it wouldn’t be very long at all because 4 days later, Kelly and I headed to Cornwall for another water based activity that although involved us wearing wetsuits, didn’t include seawater or freshwater……