The Secret To Sea Legs

Once on a warm lake in South Carolina, we were prompted by Harold’s brother and his friend to try out wakeboarding. Presuming it’d be like snowboarding (same stance, same dance) without the ice and trees, I jumped in and stuck my feet in the bindings. Two seconds of towing and you know it –> one splashtastic face plant.

“Again,” they insisted, “but pretend like you’re getting out of a chair.” Crouch, tow, pull, crash…same thing. After trying the sit-down, the squat, and various other leg perching methods, both Harold and I failed miserably with our attempts and resorted instead to watching the cool kids cruise around.

This time, when our friend Sarah invited us to Lake Aviemore for some waterskiing and wakeboarding, I actually thought “here is our chance for redemption!” I really wanted to get it this time *fingers crossed* and hoped for a sweet airborne victory. 🙂

With new skis and her partner Chris handling their blue motorboat, Sarah kicked things off on an awesome note. She made it look super easy, comfortably gliding around while talking, smiling, and waving all at the same time. It was like watching Poseidon’s Princess On Ice – you can just tell some people are born to be in the water.

Next up was Harold. He felt a bit apprehensive at first, so Chris had him practice sitting and pulling on shore. When he got in the water, Sarah prepped his hands, feet, and knees and steadied the board. I’m not sure what they said to him, but it worked like a charm! He was up and out of the water by the third turn and looked completely at ease doing loop after loop around the lake. When it came to waterskiing, it took a bit more effort (six or seven gos) trying to straighten out the legs, but again, he was up and killing it on the water.

Zac, on the other hand, had decided that those kind of sea legs were not for him, so he opted out of everything except for…..the sea biscuit! The damn thing looked like it barely held his limbs together, but indeedy he came back soaked and giddy.

When it came time to pop me on the board, I was willing though not very confident. “What’s the secret to getting up?” I desperately wondered. I knew it had to do with proper body position and good placement, but my torso kept twisting with the pull of the boat. Sarah came in and gave lots of help; in fact, she stayed with me the whole time swimming after the rope, getting me back in the bindings, and was overall the epitome of a natural coach: calm, positive, and impossibly patient. “Keep your position and let the boat do all the work” she told me, by having both arms straight with elbows around the knees. Well, I must’ve tucked harder than a turtle but the result was always the same: belly flops that were clumsy at best.

After a while, I needed to see if my luck would change so we switched to waterskiing. This, my sea legs decided, was a mistake since each and every turn yanked both feet right outta the skis. Despite having buoyancy issues like forcing things to stay semi underwater, I finally got to taste the brief joy of being aerial if only for two seconds.

Coming back to land, Teddy and I stayed put to watch Chris show us how it’s ultimately done. Not only can the guy ski well with two sticks, he effortlessly dropped one and slalom-styled it in! Harold and I gave him major props; there’s no doubt that it takes a lot of skill to be in control while maneuvering at high speed.

I didn’t get my sea legs that day, but I made sure that there wouldn’t be any disappointment from not trying. Sometimes you walk away from something knowing that it’s just not one of your fortes. For me, this invariably means water sports. Swimming, wakeboarding, waterskiing – they’re challenging because I’m really not at all aquatically synced. I will, however, do it anyway with about as much grace as a blindfolded raccoon and hope for better wipeouts. Until next time!

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