Sunday, March 27, 2011

[PILI] It’s Called Wakeboarding, Not Diving

For the beginner, you sit down on an improvised bench with your feet already strapped to the board. When a member of the staff finally hollers at you, you tilt the board and assume a semi-squatting position with your ass still on the bench. That way when the cable starts to pull, you are already in a good position to maintain your balance. Take off is essential because it determines your destiny. HAHAHA. Everything actually depends on that and it's really the hardest thing to do.

I started on the main lake at around 3 PM. By 5 PM I still haven't reached the first ramp which is situated just around a few meters from the starting point. Yes, it's that close. My first problem was with the cable. It pulls you so hard you'd think your arms would detach itself from you torso. If the pull of the cable on the beginner lake feels like you are being pulled by a bike, then the pull of the cable on the main lake feels like getting dragged by an eighteen wheeler truck. The technique: do not lose your arms to the pull of the cable, both literally and figuratively. There should be enough tension in that you are resisting the pull just forceful enough to not end up diving forward. If your body leans in front of the board you are done for. You'll end up diving forward face first. I should now. I experienced that more than 10 times. This is, at least, way better than the 26 times I fell flat on my ass in a two-hour period at SM Southmall during my first ice skating attempt at the age of 11.

The murky brown waters of the lake are more than willing to accommodate you if and when you dive. You then detach yourself from the board (it happens automatically unless your board has boots) and swim towards the platform to line up again. I repeated this step more than a dozen times but to no avail. Did I not tell you that I was the diving superstar of the day? And so I just tried knee-boarding.

Knee-boarding is easier. I only dove once and everything was smooth sailing after that. However, I didn't complete the course in any of my three attempts. The second attempt got sabotaged halfway because I didn't know how to turn. Yes, that is a precious tip. When you reach a corner of the lake (it is shaped like an ellipse and they do not have corners, but heck, you know what I mean!) the cable gives you another strong pull. You have to prepare for that regardless of the board and style you are using. This happens four times including the one during takeoff. I almost did it the third time but at around ¾ of the track something came up that got me on panic mode: a RAMP. Holy shit. All I could do was brace myself for the impact. As the board collided with the wooden structure I was sent flying a few meters forward and landed on the water with a big slap to my face. Swim to the side. Swim to the side.

If you fall far from the starting point all you have to do is swim to the shore and wait for the tricycle doing the rounds. The tricycle is circling the track for that sole purpose, which is to pick you up and drop you off back at the starting point so you can try again. Or you can torture your feet by walking barefoot on uneven cement or on the grass path filled with tiny pebbles.

At around 6 PM I finally took off successfully using the wake board. TWICE. By that time there were only two of us trying our luck on the lake. The others were already busy packing up and eating dinner. It was also starting to get dark. I still didn't finish the course. It has something to do with good navigation of the track. You have to steer clear of the various ramps and obstacles littered all throughout the course. Since I still lacked that skill I just decided to let go instead of colliding with one of them and again, flying a la Superman before I dive a la Greg Louganis. I was able to reach half of the track on my first victorious takeoff and ¾ the second time around before I called it quits.

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