Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Xtreme Wakeboarding

Introduction by William L. Gills aka Bos'n Bill

A water sport briskly gaining in popularity among boating enthusiasts is wakeboarding (see video in this post).  It's been around since the mid 1980's and has really caught on lately, providing new challenges on the water; thrills and spills to the boarder and an amazing spectacle to the viewer if done with knack and flair. 

To the uninitiated, wakeboarding is really a melding of snow boarding, water skiing and surfing. The board looks like a broad water ski with boot bindings affixed fore and aft according to the rider's preference. 

Boarders are pulled behind a "wakeboard boat" which is different from a "ski boat" in that it is more often stern driven with more weight in the rear to create a larger wake for jumping and other fancy maneuvers like, "bigwings", "whirlybirds", "dum dums" and "fruitloops" (the sport, sports its own language...).  

The Boats
Wakeboard boats have a tower attached to a towrope, typically 7 feet (2 meters) off the water's surface, to make jumping easier. The boat is often an open bow with radial seating up front and in the cockpit. It operates at slower speeds than most ski boats, usually in the range of 20 to 25 mph (32 to 40 kph) to facilitate the timing of maneuvers and provide a larger wake. Another characteristic of most official wakeboard boats is that they have a variable ballast system where water can be pumped into and out of a ballast tank to effect weight distribution and wake size, helping to facilitate "tricks". 

The Video 
The video in this post is of the Xtreme variety featuring some of the best wakeboarders in the world. Produced by Network_A, this video is a teaser for the movie, DEFY featuring extraordinary wakeboarders, Danny Harf, Parks Bonifay and Dean Smith. Their stunts are  amazing and artfully done using floating rails, drain pipes and helicopters. Hang on to your towrope, this video will capture the imaginations of the amateur and the respect of the proficient.

This is a Hi Resolution video.  Double click on it for a full screen production.

William L. Gills aka Bos'n Bill, webmaster of this site, is the author of the book Lubber's log, published by Llumina Press; a boating journal and adventure story of the author's first time experiences in the preparation, maintenance and piloting of a new, unfamiliar boat. You can visit his website here.