'White-trash' waterskiers warmup the wake on Umtamvuna river

2010-12-15 00:00

WAKEBOARDING is often referred to as “white-trash waterskiing”, according to Wikipedia, but Kevin Dry, a contestant in the South Coast FeverX Wakeboarding Session, begs to differ.

“It’s like comparing speedos to boardshorts,” Dry said yesterday.

In this case, the water-skiers are hanging on the back of the rack from last season and wakeboarding is top of the new summer range.

Yesterday saw the splash-off of the FeverX wakeboarding sessions, for which top riders from across the country have been invited to compete in a free ride format.

It takes place at the Umtamvuna River Lodge, and the contestants spent yesterday riding up and down the river warming up for the main sessions that start today.

“It’s going to be very tough, because there are good riders, but I think this contest is ‘sick’ [really good] because of the free ride format,” said contestant Nicholas Bensch.

“Free riding allows riders more time on the water to perform and master their tricks and manoeuvres. The focus is less on the competition and more about coming here to improve skills and provide the public with an experience of the wakeboarding lifestyle,” said Dry.

Dry has been riding for 15 years and describes the wakeboarding lifestyle as a family, or a small community, where “everyone looks after each other”.

Out on the water this has to be true as the ability of the rider can be enhanced or diminished by whoever drives the boat.

“It’s very technical,” said contestant Andrew Bourne. “The boat has to be kept straight to get the perfect wake.”

Without a good wake, the rider has nothing to work with. Similarly, every boat is different and riders need time to practice in order to get a feel of the boat and the wake it creates.

According to Bensch, one of the hardest moves is a “raily” and involves pushing the wakeboard out behind, making a rider look a little like superman flying behind the boat before you pull your legs back down to the water.

Out on the Umtamvuna, seated on the back of the boat watching the riders glide over the water and flip around to land with barely a splash, one can see how the sport has become addictive.

To master a trick takes time and effort, but when you eventually fly, Bourne says, “there’s nothing like it”.

Buses leaving the FeverX headquarters at the Margate Sports School will take spectators to the Umtamvuna River Lodge from 3 pm this afternoon. The show will be lit by sunlight and floodlight.

Besides the daytime events, wakeboarding stunts will be performed during the evening alongside Red Bull DJs and a fully stocked bar on the riverbank.

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