From the tallest peak to the bottomless pit, humans have learned to wield technology, used a few to misuse but a great deal to amuse.
Someone wise once said that with great technology, comes a great water sport. If you think the son of God was the only one who could walk on water, think again. Wakeboarding now lets you too.
What is Wakeboarding or Skurfing?
Picture a person tied to a motorboat, skiing behind it..... with only a board to keep them company. No fancy protection, just bare naked feet on a board, cruising waters at alarming speeds with nature's adrenaline coursing through.
The birth of this swashbuckling water sport dates back to 1985 in the American city of San Diego, California when a young Tony Finn wakeboarded for the first time by fashioning a Skurfer - cross between a water ski and a surfboard.
Ever since that fortuitous day, wakeboarding that started out as a stunt has evolved into a sport and spread to every nook and cranny on this planet. It has witnessed some remarkable people accomplishing some remarkable feats. If you wish to pump up your adrenaline or live on the edge, here's how to get started on the sport.
If you want your experience to be fruitful, pay very close attention to these guidelines.
1. Boat: Essentially one that can travel at a speed of 25 mph/ 40 kmh. While there are boats tailored for wakeboarding, with smaller wakes that can travel at faster speeds, I suggest you get in touch with the Wakeboard and the Water Ski Federation of India to know more.
2. Wakeboards: Buoyancy devices that are crafted using fiberglass built around a wood core or a foam core.
3. Wakeboard bindings: These are boots that attach to your wakeboards. Be sure to pick a pair that is a comfortable fit for your feet & wakeboards.
4. Handles & harnesses: A skier holds onto a handle at the end of a rope that is tethered to the boat. These ropes measure anywhere between 55ft and 70ft and have a safety release to disconnect the rope and the handle from the boat. Ropes are made of poly E or spectra or nylon while the handles are coated with plastic.
5. Barefoot wetsuit: A neoprene rubber suit that doubles as a floatation device is handy in maintaining buoyancy, stability and flexibility in different temperatures.
6. Fins: Different kinds of fins are worn to serve different purposes. Shallow fins are worn to perform surface level tricks on the water while moulded fins are worn for lesser drag and greater control. Some wakeboarders also prefer riding finless although I firmly advise against it.
7. Helmet: Though optional, it is key to sport a helmet before diving in unless you're a pro. Helmets that are lined with Neoprene are preferred over other types. Pick helmets that prevent water-logging within.
Now that you've been walked through the basics of wakeboarding, it's time to know where you can finally spring into action in India.