If you look at the relatively short history of waterskiing, we find that that watersports in general have made some major evolutions. When Ralph Samuelson invented waterskiing in 1922, I doubt he ever could have imagined that some 20 years later people would be barefoot waterskiing and performing tricks, or jumping over 100 feet on waterskis. And what's more, I don't think he ever really imagined the die hard culture that would come with it. And yet, here we are.
So in reflecting on the history of this sport, we have to ask -- where is this sport headed? In the past ten years we have seen major strides in the industry. Boat companies like Mastercraft continue to push the bar higher and higher and create better boats with easier riding wakes. Riders like Freddy Kreuger continue to set and break world records. And you and I will continue to try and improve our riding style and tricks the best way we possibly can. So does it ever really end? Will watersports ever reach a plateau where everything has already been done? I for one don't think we ever will.
With every passing year we get to witness the evolution of watersports. And there's nothing like watching the progression of riding equipment to benchmark where we've been and where we are going. Manufacturers are consistently stepping up their game to create wakeskates that spin and flip easier, or make wakesurfers that are easier to ride backside. I mean, who would have thought that we would have boats that could transfer a wave with the flick of a switch.
It already makes me wonder what we are going to be riding in 2015. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself, I haven't even had a chance to demo half of the stuff on my list right now. But so far the latest wakeboard boot offerings have been particularly interesting, especially the Ronix Code 55. So if you've been looking to upgrade your boots then this is definitely the time to do it.
And speaking of upgrades, I've noticed a lot of folks on my river are spending a little time adding some upgrades to their docks, renewing the padding for their new boats. So if things are looking a little splintery on your own dock, then there's no time like the present to do a little dock spruce up.
In any case, let us know what you're most looking forward to in 2014. New equipment? New Boats? Shout it out in the comments below.
I know that a lot of you out there are attached like glue to your boats and the idea of riding behind a jetski is enough to make you cringe. However, there are a handful of reasons why you might consider owning a PWC, especially if you are a wakeboarder or wakeskater.
For me, the biggest advantage a PWC can lend is simply accessibility. The most pristine waters are often not easily accessed by a giant inboard boat, but you can usually launch a jetski and nimbly explore restricted waterways. You simply just don't get that experience on a boat. So if you have been on the fence about riding getting a jetski, I think you owe it to yourself to at least try riding behind one to see how you like it. What do you have to lose? And if you've already resolved to buy one but don't know where to start - I would highly reccomend checking out the SeaDoo Wake Pro 215, it's one of the only ski's designed specifically for wake based sports.
And as for the rest of you, who out there is already regularly riding behind a jetski? What made you choose a PWC and how do you think it compares to standard boat riding? Let us know in the comments below.
Sometimes we take for granted all of the science and engineering that goes into the watersports we love. Whether it's the way our skis or wakeboards are shaped, the variables that affect our boat waves, or even how our boat hull, engine, and instruments come together -- we are riding on the backs of years upon years of research and development all dedicated to giving us the best riding experience.
As much as I dislike science classes, there is no doubt in my mind that taking the time to understand the various anatomic makeup of our watersports tools can help us become better riders. So next time you are riding in the water, look down at what's under your feet and think about the shape and the contours and all of the variables that came together to put you in your riding position. It's a sobering thought, but the illumination it can provide to your riding skills is limitless.
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!