Yes, it's a sickness that afflicts us every year. The symptoms include: zombie-like boat dealership drive-bys, stacks of boat catalogues strewn about your home, and an inability to talk about anything besides boats. If you or someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms, then they may have boat fever.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the aforementioned fictitious disease. However, if you fancy yourself a marine hypochondriac of sorts, then take heart, I have a prescription that will work for you. In all seriousness, after looking at the previews for the 2014 Boat Season we are in store for some major innovations on the boating front.
First things first, Mastercraft is turning heads twice this year. First with their long awaited budget friendly NXT series of boats which will be available in Summer of 14, and second, the release of their GEN 2 Surf System. Both of these developments are nothing short of brilliant, but that's just status quo for Mastercraft.
After perusing all of the major boating events, I noticed that every company is amping up their game to make you a better, safer boat driver. I'm thoroughly impressed at how serious these companies are taking safety, and reminds me to brush up on water emergency procedures.
At any rate, it looks like 2014 is going to be yet another great year for the inboard boating industry.
Image © Mastercraft Boats
As I type this blog post I am simultaneously packing my bags for a long overdue vacation. And it reminds me that traveling is one of the most underutilized functions of the watersports world. You can look in just about every country and find a competition ski lake or a cable park not far away.
The change of scenery may give you exactly the kick you need to have your next riding breakthrough. In fact, I can remember that it wasn't until I made a trip away from my home lake that I figured out the mechanics of raleys.
So if you're feeling restless on your home waters, then go out and grab a slalom ski bag or wakeboard bag, pack up your gear, and feed your inner wanderlust. Just make sure you come back and share your travels with the rest of us.
With the Winter Olympics less than a week away, it calls to mind an old debate that goes back nearly 40 years, and it all has to do with why boat towed watersports aren't in the Olympics. In fact, it baffles me as to why wakeboarding isn't even in the X-Games anymore. Some people actually think that we, as a community of watersports enthusiasts, are better off without the X-Games or Olympics. And maybe it's true. Maybe it's better to let watersports remain the close knit grassroots community that it is and let it grow organically. And if the Olympic committee doesn't want to see watersports, we can just create our own watersports events. What do you think? Do you think Wakeboarding and Waterskiing should be features of the Olympics? Let us know in the poll below.
Boat towed watersports are relatively young, we've only been doing this for less than 80 years. And in that span of time we've gone from riding rough wooden planks behind an outboard boat to creating one of the most sophisticated progressive industries in the world. Whether it's something as big and important as the cable park or as small as a drain plug that makes changing your boat oil easier, watersports innovations come in all shapes and sizes.
And as riders, we look back at the inventors of our most basic tricks like tantrums and backrolls and now we push them to the highest possible level we can. Then, future generations of riders will take those building blocks and push it even further. It's truly thrilling to be part of a sport that advances so quickly and as 2014 takes off, I look forward to seeing even more innovations this year. So what's your favorite innovation in the world of watersports? Is there one thing that you couldn't live without on the water? Let us know in the comments section.
It seems like 2 weeks ago that I was making predictions about how 2013 would shape up. Some things came true, while others... well, let's just say we might have to wait for some new innovations in 2014. As I start the new Year in a new place I am determined more than ever to increase my skills on the water. One thing I plan to do over winter 2014 is repair some of my delaminated wakeboards and fix some cosmetic dings in my boat hull. Our loaner wakeboard has seen a few too many crashes and is in bad need of repair. Last but not least I plan to run down my ten point checklist on the boat trailer and keep it rolling smooth. But enough about my plans, I want to know what all of you have in store for 2014. Let us all know in the comments.
It's official, my wife and I have finally moved to Charleston. We have talked about it for years and we have finally done it. From a watersports standpoint I couldn't be happier as I now have an extra 2 months each year that I can stay in the water without freezing my koutoukis off. I am especially excited to be around Trophy Lakes where dozens of world records have been set in the waterskiing world. This allows me more chances to be around waterski competitions and even chat with some more pro wakeboarders and skaters. One thing I will admit though, is how happy I am to get to ride around the city on my bike. Biking, in my opinion, is one of the best things you can do to cross train for watersports. So for any of you other local Charlestonians out there, keep a look out for me on the water and feel free to say hey!
Every once in a while something comes across my desk that is truly amazing. This morning I received a photo of sixty people skiing together in a waterski pyramid. This is, in fact, the current world record for largest human pyramid being pulled behind one boat. The record was set this year in Wisconsin, and it's currently in the running for feat of the year on the Guinness website. However, right now it's behind in the votes coming in second place to, get this, "world's largest mobile gaming party." Certainly something that actually requires skill deserves the title of Greatest Feat of 2013. If you have a few moments, take some time to head over to the Guinness website and vote.
You can also check out the video of the whole process in action right here.
Photo © Showstopping Photography
I just wanted to take a quick moment to post up some of the truly amazing cyber Monday deals that are going on for watersports equipment. Considering the change of season right now is the perfect time to do some buying for next year.
- The House - Up to 70% off Wakeboards
- Performance Ski and Surf - Steep discounts on Skis, Wakeboards, and Wakesurfers
- BuyWake - Extended Black Friday sales end today!
- Overtons - 20% off of almost everything and FREE shipping.
- EVO - Various discounts all day long!
So there you have it. Hopefully you can find something for a steal!
I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I use the word "rider" a lot on this site. The reason for this is because no matter what activity we engage in behind the boat we are all considered "riders." So it goes without saying that rider is an interchangeable term for wakeboarders, waterskiers, barefooters, kneeboarders, and anyone else who is holding a rope behind the boat.
I for one think it's very important to try all watersport disciplines. Knowing how to perform well at any watersport will only contribute to your overall skill set behind the boat, and isn't that the goal anyway. At the end of the day, as long as you can head out on the boat and enjoy the company of your friends and listen to your favorite tunes, it doesn't really matter what you choose to do with your tow rope.
There's no reason why we have to confine ourselves to one category or the other, we're all just riders. Just make sure you boat responsibly, wear your life vest, and always have as much fun as possible.
So I've been in denial now for a few weeks, but as the frostbite starts setting in I have to come to terms with the fact that it will soon be winter time. I don't know how all of you will be passing the time until spring, but I for one plan to do a lot of snowboarding this year. It is the one thing I can do that takes my mind off of how cold I am.
Aside from snowboarding, I will be building my new home in Charleston, SC -- of which I'm very excited for. Charleston has a much better climate for watersports and is home to the Trophy Lakes, so hopefully I won't have to store my equipment for the winter any longer. Trophy Lakes just so happens to have one of the coolest, most private cable parks I've ever seen and I can't wait to hit their become a regular fixture on their ramps and sliders.
Also, my new home will sit about a hundred yards from the Wando River, so with all my scrap lumber I may just have to build a new floating kicker ramp and a winch to keep myself occupied in the water during downtime. I'm extremely excited for what lays ahead, and I look forward to getting to know the Charleston watersports community.
If there are any other Charlestonians make sure to drop a shout out in the comments. Also, feel free to let us know how you will be passing the time this winter.