I’ve been a snowboarder for a number of years. Living in Canada it’s a pretty normal sport to pickup and there are some excellent mountains close to me. Everything I had heard about wakeboarding was that it’s very similar to snowboarding once you’re up and on top of the water.
I was beginning to think that it wasn’t going to happen. Sure, I was only turned down once but it was now mid October and right at the end of high season. Maybe all these places closed up. Greece’s economy as it is, they could all close up shop early because the tourist well was now too dry to be profitable. Via beach on the other hand had a wide array of water sports. And the owner was very nice and helpful to boot.
I had already failed in my first attempt to be taken wakeboarding in Crete. I’ll be “damned” (In my head at the time, I used a more prolific… colourful word) if I was going to let this one pass me by. I asked him if I could go wakeboarding and his very reassuring reply: “of course you can” made me interrupt Izzy’s sunbathing to be my official sport photographer. I was given a quick lesson on how to start. Essentially, the wakeboard is toe-side-up in the water. Your grasp is an overhand, knuckles up grip with it centred between your feet.
Getting it up was harder than I thought….(wink) what I was doing wrong was not turning out quick enough. So as the boat slowly moves forward you build a lot of resistance quickly with the board sideways in the water. I was staying too long in this position and just could fight the water enough. But as soon as I realized you’re only in that position for a few seconds. As soon as you turn out, you spring up from the water and start riding!
And man, did I ride. Not too long at first and I was little hunched over. Kinda of like if Quasimodo was a wakeboarder. Eventually though, I figured out the stance. Which from the torso up, is a very upright, straight back, shoulders back but arms fully extended forward type of position. But knees bent the whole time. After I was up, my brain kicked in to troubleshooting mode and I wanted to know what I could do with my new found ability.
Heel & toe edges were the same as snowboarding. And suddenly I could move across the water easily. Using the tension on the rope to gain speed. I even tried one handed for a little bit to test my strength. I didn’t test jumping wake though. It seemed to go by pretty fast and by the time I got a feel for it and wanted to challenge myself more. It was over.
I did take one moment. A small one, just before it was all over. I stopped concentrating on wakeboarding and took in where I was and what I was doing. It lasted maybe a second or two. The huge cliffs surrounding Vai beach and pushing out in to the sea. The palm grove and beach looked like a postcard. I was trying something new. Something I’d wanted to do for many years. And that moment returned back to me a very fulfilling flood of emotions. A feeling that I was really living life. The only reaction of which can be described in the following photos:
The next two days I was pretty sore. Mostly my back and knees but it was TOTALLY worth it. No pain no gain? It’s true. The other truth is, I know I want to fill my life with as many of these moments as I can. Now check out the vid on my home page!