Over the weekend I went with my Dad up to Loughborough to visit Lewis.
Standard dingy student accommodation
Father in town
After a good breakfast, we headed off to the National Watersports Centre, just outside Nottingham, where Lewis and I had a go at wake-boarding.
I prostate myself and worship the instructor
Rather than the conventional way of being pulled by a boat, they have a cable-way, which is something like a ski-lift, going round at almost 30km/hr, pulling the ropes round with more competent people behind, or in my case, wobbling for a few seconds then plunging in ("stacking it" is the accepted lingo), followed by the inevitable swim back to shore.
We try knee boards. Lewis goes in first:
Followed by yours truly:
After a couple of goes on the knee board, it was time for a proper board. I was given the dodgy one with flip-floppy straps. Lewis encouragingly tells me that he spent most of his first session falling straight in the water on launching off.
And indeed, so it happens. Though my issue is not so much launching off, when you suddenly get your arms ripped out of your sockets my the rope, but staying on a couple of seconds later when you turn on to the course.
That's not going to last
And sure enough..
But soon.. getting a bit more confident:
Unfortunately, the first couple of runs I managed where I was going somewhere, I promptly came across someone in front who had fallen off, and after unsuccessfully trying to turn out of their way, I had to "stack it" to avoid serious injuries. The first chap who I nearly collided with did think he was in trouble watching me wobble towards him!
The final challenge, and the one Lewis spent the entire session battling, was the first corner. You see, as you turn the corner, unless you get the line of approach perfect, the line goes slack on you, then a couple of seconds later yanks with enormous force, so if the slack doesn't get you, the force will. I listened to Lewis complain about it with scepticism until I reached it and was promptly slapped down head-first on the water, which I can confirm hurt. Lots. Somehow those who knew what they were doing just took the corner effortlessly - I suppose it comes with practice.
All seems to be going well..
..until the corner!
Anyway, good fun, but my upper torso was in serious pain for several days afterwards. Perhaps boat wakeboarding is the answer, for as Lewis says, "the corner problem goes away"!