Sunday, August 10, 2008

Meet Paul...

Just for the record, this post has nothing to do with photography.

Saturday, I went wakeboarding for the first time. It was probably one of the most terrifying experiences of my life so far. It was one of those times when your logical mind is telling you that you are fine, but your body is screaming at you that you are going to die. I've walked three story walls, jumped off of roofs, shingled on steep roofs without ropes or toe boards, worked on all kinds of truss systems way high in the air, hiked backcountry mountains all by myself in the middle of the night, and a myriad of other scary things, but I think this took the cake.

I went up with a few of my friends. I watched Andrew go first and he made it look pretty easy. Then Paul asked if I was ready. I figured what the heck. So I went to the back of the boat and strapped onto the board. "Okay, just jump out as far as you can from the boat, and fall forward, not backward."

I'm standing up, I have both of my feet strapped onto some piece of composite plastic that is four feet long. I looked at the water, and I looked at Paul. Jumping in wasn't quite what I had in mind. I wanted to slip gently into the water and slowly get used to the cold and the wet. "Just jump in?" I ask. "Yeah, just jump in" he replies. I look at the water again and suddenly, this just doesn't seem good. But, I couldn't see any other way, so I jumped out, as far as I could.

Let's just say that my initial reaction to jumping in was not pretty. Firstly, it was the deepest water I have ever been in. And I fell forward alright, with the cold, the wet, my face under the water. It just wasn't good. It was an all-out battle to try and get my mind rational and under control. The water was cold to me, and I had to get used to it for a minute so I could even talk. I was on my stomach, just holding my head above the water. Sure, I had a life jacket on, but my body was still telling me I was going to die.

The first order of business was learning how to flip the board around so that I was on my back. Looking back at it, it was a lot like when I took my sisters skiing and I had them fall over on purpose and then try to stand up. They always really struggle with it. It's the first exercise I do with new people, because they have to learn it before they can move on. Finally, I just had to grit my teeth and I was able to flip the board around. Then came my first tow.

It went okay for maybe a second, I was in no way ready for the massive force of the boat pulling me and I think I went clear over forward. I was determined to hold on and as a result, I got dragged for a second before I let go. I was on my face again. Choking and sputtering, I waited for the boat to come back to me.

I think on the second pull I got up for maybe a second and then lost it. I learned to let go a lot sooner and that helped. As the boat came back to get me, I told them that I wasn't a quitter but I just couldn't do this. They got me to keep trying though, and I went for it a couple more times. At that point, I just couldn't take it any more, I had to get out of the water. I had swallowed what felt like gallons of water, and I was shaking all over.

I sat in the boat while Paul went next and I took the picture above. I was so unnerved that I forget to set my camera right and I shot everything at f2.8, so most of them were blurry, but I had two that weren't.

We had problems with the wakeboard so I didn't go again that day. I want to learn it though. I think that it would be really fun once you got used to it. It reminds me again of when I learned to ski. The first day I only skied a couple of hours, and I was thrashed. The second time, I hurt myself and I almost stopped after the first hour, but I stayed and by the end of the day I had a pretty good time. The third time, I had a blast.

So maybe that is how it is with wakeboarding. Perhaps I just need to get a couple of times under my belt. It's important to me that I learn how, and I feel a bit bad that it didn't go better. I also need to get over my intense fear of water.

On another note, I think that maybe I work to much. By design, I spend most of my time working on one thing or another. If not on my job then I spend it on some project or class or something. It seems like I always have something going and I don't do a lot of recreational things or socializing with other people. It was great to go up there and just hang out with my friends, watch them with their kids, and play games. It really was good, and I had a really great time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wakeboarding is awesome. You should definately plan on doing it at least 3 times or as long as it takes until you have fun. Last weekend I jumped completely over the wake for the first time and I've been wakeboarding for 15 years. It just keeps getting better.