"If the rope goes slack, let go. If you do fall keep your mouth shut."
I've been wakeboarding several times, once in the sea off a Sardinian beach and a couple of times in a lake near Drayton Manor, just outside Birmingham. Slightly different locations, yes, but one thing was constant, I was being towed by a motor boat.
On Saturday, as a joint birthday celebration with Luke, a group of us ventured to the John Battle Water Ski centre, which, in keeping with the theme (no pun intended) set by the brummie ventures, is next to Thorpe Park. The problem with the lake at JBSki is that, instead of a boat, the boarders are towed by a cable. Being pulled by a cable, travelling at a constant speed, is tricky to say the least, and that's where the instructions quoted at the beginning of this post came in.
Essentially, the wakeboarding trip turned into being repeatedly pulled face-first, mouth open (obvs), into a ridiculously cold, murky lake at high speed by a cable I'm pretty sure was designed and built by Skynet.
To make it worse, when I thought I might have mastered the kneeboard that cable beginners have to complete two laps on before graduating to the proper, upright board, I'd come rocketing off in the furthest point of the lake from the start. This meant I would then have to swim to the nearest jetty. You'd have thought that having a board that is essentially buoyant would aid in this matter, but no, of course not. And then, once I'd got to the jetty, I'd had to haul myself onto a thick layer of goose shit of varying freshness. Considering that I only spotted two geese, and I spent a lot of time walking round that sodding lake, that was actually quite impressive.
Another problem was the temperature. Despite the fact that it had supposedly risen in the past week, it was very much still within the period known as 'the coldest time of year for open water'. I'd have loved to carry on, and make it past the first corner on a wakeboard, having so expertly got onto my feet at first attempt, but it was too cold. Really, it was ridiculously cold. Not-fun cold.
Next time, and there probably will be a next time, I think I'll wait for it to warm up, a lot. And for there to be a boat towing me, rather than an unorganic metal wire that corners at extremely wakeboard-unfriendly right angles.
I've been able to look back and laugh though. It was definitely worth going. Save for Luke, who pretty much a pro when it comes to being dragged over water on a board, we were all similarly rubbish. And today, having used muscles that I didn't know I had, or, actually, used areas of my body where having muscles really would have come in handy, I feel like I've been hit by a truck.
But so what, it's my birthday tomorrow!