Ella real life This Girl Can…Learn to Wakeboard story
I enter the Lagoon on a warm summer’s evening, taking in the energetic nature in the water as beginners and professionals alike share an adrenaline rush on the wakeboarding cable. For a brief moment my teenager alarm rings as I question whether the joggers and dog walkers circling the lagoon will be counting the amount of times I expertly fall face first into the water. Of course they are only looking on in amazement.
After a brief explanation of wakeboarding on land, and a slow motion re-enactment of the position I would need to take to get onto my feet, Harriet must have read my mind: “Don’t worry the water is only waist deep, so if you fall in, there’s nothing to worry about.” Well, considering I’m a 5”3, 15 year old girl, stood next to a 6ft instructor, “Your waist, or mine?” seemed an appropriate question. We laughed but the time for stalling was over. It was time to take the plunge and test my skills in the water.
I strapped my feet into the board and slid apprehensively into the water. Taking all the time I needed, Harriet asked me if I was ready for her to start moving the cable…”as ready as I’ll ever be” I thought. With everyday thoughts wiped from my mind, all my energy and concentration was focused on the seemingly easy task of standing up.
As the cable slowly pulled me to my feet, I swivelled as instructed and incredibly began to glide across the waves. The feeling was euphoric- I had managed to balance on the board on my first attempt.
As I rode back towards the dock, Harriet greeted me with praises of “well done!” “awesome!” and “nice one!” As my confidence increased, it was time to work on turning. After being reminded to cut out early (put the weight onto your heels) and not to try and turn the board myself, I attempted my first turn at the other end. I think its fair to say the not-too-awful-looking boys on the other dock would not have been too impressed by my faceplant. However, at least I could now tick off gracefully plummeting into the water with a pathetic ‘eep’ from my list.
Harriet then suggested something which would improve my balance: ‘a little jump’. My heart began to beat even faster and my brain began to whir…”could she mean the dreaded 20ft ramp that I’d seen the professionals on earlier!?”
In actual fact I was attempting a tiny one-handed jump called an ‘Ollie’ which ended up being far from terrifying. But after zooming along, turning and doing little hops on the water for an hour, I was exhausted. I dragged myself back onto the floating dock in a way which can only be compared to a beached whale. I began heading for the changing rooms. As the hot water showered over me I felt ecstatic: I had a new hobby.
Upon leaving the lagoon I caught a glimpse of my clown-like face with mascara streaming down my cheeks (probably not an essential when wakeboarding) and thought that despite my face of makeup being wiped off, nothing could wipe the adrenaline-filled smile off my face. I left walking along the promenade feeling elated. Instead of spending my evening stuffing my face with Mr Kipling cakes, I’d worked every muscle in my body and had a real laugh. In short, I had become a watersports girl.
It turns out, this girl can wear a full face of make-up, acrylic nails and still stand upright on a wakeboard.