Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wakeboarding? Surfing? Wakesurfing?

Mark is a snowboard instructor this season, and as part of their job, they are encouraged to attend a number of different clinics that will help them improve on their riding skills. The clinics include things like riding switch (the opposite foot forward than you normally ride), waxing and fixing your board, jumps, and helps for your teaching certification, etc. It just so happens that the most recent clinic was more of a fun one, but still applicable to your riding skills because it worked on balance and coordination. There is a place in Sunriver, which is a resort community about 20 minutes away, called Mavericks. It's a health club, but one thing it features is a wave machine that you can sort of surf on. The board is much smaller...more like a longboard skateboard than anything else. The water shoots out of the bottom over a structure reminiscent of a wrestling-mat, and creates a wave-like formation that you can glide over on a board. If you fall, you are inevitably swept up and over the top and onto a platform. I went to watch and take pictures.
The falls were fun, but sometimes scary to watch. Mostly the reaction from the crowd was something like "Ohhhhh! Ouch! Did you see that??" People were doing summersaults off the board (not on purpose) and belly flops, and anything else you could imagine. Most people we saw the following day had a sore neck. But all agreed it was totally worth it.
The progression for most people went something like this:
Slide into water, fall immediately.
Slide into water, wobble for a few seconds, fall.
Slide into water, and wobble for longer, fall.
Slide into water, and finally glide up and down the "wave."
Eventually, most who stuck with it were able to stay up for a bit longer by the end. Mark did an awesome job! By the end, he was staying up for quite awhile, but his comment was, "as soon as I tried to do any sort of turns, I fell!" It's a progression, folks.

Our friend, Cameron, "dismounting."

Our friend, and neighbor, Charlie, on his way down.

Mark...lookin good :).
I tried to post some videos, but they weren't loading. I will try again another day. One of the snowboard instructors is also a professional wakeboarder, so he was pretty good. Then, the guys that worked there got into show off. They made it look so easy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Probably about a year ago, when Mark and I were planning our hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, I suggested an article on our trek to the editor at the Rock Island Argus/Moline Dispach that I periodically wrote for (also over Radish Magazine). He told me to get back to him once we hiked the trail; I did, and just last Sunday (the 25th), it was published in the travel section. If you are interested in checking it out, click here.