Beginning of the end of summer on Lake Martin

Well it’s the beginning of the end of summer 🙁 August is the month school starts back and by the end of the month most of all the Lake Martin becomes a weekend only getaway again. Riding every single day, getting up early every morning so you can get the good water before anyone else becomes a Saturday and Sunday endeavor.  So it’s time to take advantage of every opportunity, to work on the tricks you have been trying all summer.  Time to get a few new ones in your pocket and make the rest even more consistent.  It’s a good time to get with your riding friends and make it a point to get out and spend time in your favorite spot and try over and over until you stick that elusive trick you’ve been so close to.  Repetition, over and over…with today’s video technology you can surely get someone to document your efforts, which is really cool when you land and ride away (PROOF!!) but even more so that you can see what you are doing wrong.  If you aren’t working with someone that’s coaching you, then you can see if you’re throwing a trick going up the wake or off the lip; if you start your rotation to early, if your handle pass is just all wrong.  Take advantage of those resources available and keep at it.  It’s easy to get discouraged working on a new trick.  If your not getting it, then step back and just ride.. have fun with where you are, then come back to it.  Don’t get so fatigued that your form is suffering and there is little chance of you getting a solid “ride away clean” anyway, your probably getting closer to a bad fall and possible injury.. admittedly I’m not very good there.  As long standing President of the “One more Time” club, I’m getting better at stopping when my legs are just jello, the trick isn’t going to happen.  Its time to get in the boat, drive and try again later or if it’s the next day, then it’s the next day.  Given the time of year, those days are relatively limited, so exploit your opportunities!

The month of August and end of summer brings about another opportunity, and has always been a favorite of mine.. year end close outs!  All of the local marinas (you should absolutely be shopping locally!) run specials to get the remaining stock gone by summers end.  It’s a great time to pick up whatever you need.  It’s time to replace the knot filled, frayed rope, the sun bleached seam splitting vest or the board that you’ve just had way to long with worn out bindings.. year end close out should be music to your ears.  Stores don’t particularly like to go into off season with excessive stock sitting.  So it’s pretty normal to see some substantial price change on that product you’ve been eyeing every time you stop by to fill up the boat.  Shopping locally also helps you in a few ways, you should be able to talk with someone about your upgrade.  Is it the right board or binding for you?  Will something else fit your style or riding ability a little better?  The diversity of product today is quite impressive, the flex and speed of a board, and choice the bindings too just make it fun pick.  Hopefully you’ve taken advantage of one of the marinas demo days and seen the products, been in a boat and heard riders and coaches talking about the boards, what they really like.. makes the decision making easier and a little more educated.  If it’s just price driven, then hey, you get a good board at a good price, it fits, you have fun… score, end of story.  There’s plenty to chose from go see what’s out there.

Also, it has been brought to my attention, on more that one occasion lately, due to a previous article about wake etiquette. Would i remind everyone to please be mindful of your wake.  I like a big blown up wake more than anybody, but please try to ride away from highly residential areas with docks and boats getting worked by your wake.  There are good places to go and ride, take the time to get away from everyone if at all possible.  Riding in the busy hours in heavy traffic areas is not going to give you any opportunity to enjoy, learn or progress and I can’t tell you how often I see it.  WAKESURFERS…trust me here…the boat isn’t going to be able to stay at a consistent speed and your not going to be able to ride, do a trick or even stay in the wave.  If your having to surf with the rope in those conditions, your welcome, I just identified the problem.  Find a slough with decent water and let the boat stay at speed so you can too.  One big surge of speed from the boat with drop a surfer in a blink of an eye.  Do yourself and your neighbors a favor and surf in a spot where your not bothered by other boats wakes.
Have fun out there, I’ll see you on the water-

Lake Martin and black bears

Black Bears Lake Martin

Black Bear information and tips to avoid conflict

The black bear population in Alabama is not very larger per say, guestimated to be less that 400 but appears to be increasing with the number of sightings.  From our Outdoor Alabama website, the Alabama dept of conservation & natural resources, Keith Gauldin stated “It is quite evident that black bears are increasing in numbers and expanding the historic ranges,” said Keith Gauldin, Assistant Wildlife Chief for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF). “During spring and summer, adult males will cover surprisingly large areas in search of receptive females. Young sub-adult bears, recently ousted from their mothers’ territory, will also roam widely to establish their own home ranges.”

Black bears are not really know to be agressive, more shy and don’t want any human contact.  If they are in an area that is a little out of it’s element, they are usually looking for food.  So a good rule of thumb is not to leave your animals food bowls filled outside.

While bears are classified as a game animal, there is no open hunting season for black bears in Alabama. The public is encouraged to report black bear sightings to WFF district wildlife offices, online at https://game.dcnr.alabama.gov/BlackBear/, or by email to Keith Gauldin at keith.gauldin@dcnr.alabama.gov.

Tips from Outdoor Alabama on what to do if you encounter a black bear-

• Do not be frightened
• Do not approach the animal
• Do not run from the bear, back away slowly
• Stand tall and upright
• Avoid direct eye contact with the bear
• Make sure the bear has a unobstructed direction to escape
• Never purposely feed a bear
update * 6/30/16

Field testing new Victoria wakesurfer on Lake Martin

Victoria Wakesurf Lake Martin

A new Victoria prototype being test on Lake Martin

Testing testing and more testing( to me its riding , riding and more riding)….I guess technically you call it research and development.  Last year I wrote about Victoria ‘ s  wakesurf line testing grounds being here on Lake Martin.  I have been working with the guys at Vic for a handful of years now and in the past few with the enormous growth of the wakesurf industry so has their line.  When I first called Laguna Beach, CA and spoke with the then team manager, there was one board and it was optionally outfitted as a carbon fiber board, same shape, different structural materials.  The line has grown to 6 shapes and the original has been dramatically changed.  I am proud to say that in the current line up two of the boards have come from some concepts we came up with and tested here on Lake Martin. The Debut hit the market in 2015, a full wooden board which has become more of a kids board than anything for a number of reasons.  The Captain, a fish tail multi fin skim style board was quite a few years in testing before it launched in the 2016 line, seems to be more of a bigger rider board.
So what’s happening now in the world of R&D for Victoria….I have two prototypes we are testing that today have a ton of potential to be the next new board in the line.  It is very different concept then that its predecessors, with some serious surf style influences.  It’s a big board, really big! It’s made to be ridden by someone who wants to cruise and carve, with lots of stability.  when this board is ridden by a little bit lighter rider, it catches a little push from the very back of the wave with ease.  It’s body does have a pin-tail and  it’s an inch thick mid density foam core(for right now anyway).  I would generally describe it as a skim style long board, which will use up to three fins.  The exciting part about this board is that it will really preform when you push it.  I have tested it with a few fin set ups, which makes a enormous difference in how it handles on the wave.  Currently  my favorite set up is a dual 1.25 ” fin set up, followed closely by the single 1.25″ fin.  Obviously there is a nearly infinite number of setups with fin sizes and from a single to three fins.  I like the twin fin configuration for the stability and ease of use..yet when you want to get agressive and carve it hooks up, when you go to spin the board in a 360 it will break free and the rail holds the board on the wave face with slipping out.  When you kick it around in a shuv-it it snaps around fin side or even easier when ridding it backward (once you’ve shuved it and do your shuv out).  You can even boost a nice amount of air off the lip when you snap it at the top of the lip.  The board is so stable that I was able to spin a 360 with a friend of mines kid on my shoulders, and she rode tandem on the nose and center along with me.  Unquestionably the easiest tandem board I’ve used.
I wouldn’t be surprised a but if this is one of the 2017 additions in the line; question is how much will we change it.  It can always be improved, and that’s why there is another with some nips and tucks on the table right now that is about to be mailed to Lake Martin…we shall see what Tex Haines and the guys Victoria can come up with!


It’s all about the view on Lake Martin

Lake Martin waterfront lots
The Ridge on Lake Martin, South Ridge Harbor, best views on Lake Martin

Huge vista views on Lake Martin!

New Ridge lots enjoy Premium views!


An old adage in real estate is, “If a view is important, then make it a big water view!” Russell Lands has been developing lakefront property for a long time. We have sold a lot of lake home sites with big views, but none better than our newest collection of Ridge lots. This selection tops them all. You can literally see for miles!If you like big water views, this is the biggest! If you like beautiful sunsets, these are the most spectacular! If you want to watch the world go by, this is the front row seat! If you had a map of Lake Martin and wanted to pick the best spot to get big water, beautiful sunsets and a view of lake life, you could not pick a better location.


These new lakefront homesites are on the southernmost tip of the Ridge Peninsula. There are twelve new lots that enjoy a fabulous western view and four lots that enjoy a southern view. One of these—one very special property—offers a 330-degree view.  It just does not get any better than this! It doesn’t matter what kind of day or what kind of weather—the views are always incredible!


There is another old real estate adage that says, “This is a million dollar view!” Have we got good news for you! While these lots have million dollar views, only one comes with that sort of price tag. If you have been reading carefully, you can probably guess which one! In fact, most of these homesites are way below that price point.


These lots are not picked over. They are new to the market. These properties have deep water, most of them already have new seawalls installed, all of them are available in June, all can be purchased this summer with construction later, and all have plenty of water frontage. Sounds great, doesn’t it?


There is one problem, though . There are only a limited number of them! This new section has just 16 homesites. Since they are new to the market, we want to allow everyone time to get information on these new properties. Our agents have plat maps, price lists and even potential homes designs for you to review. They can meet you at the location, when convenient, so you can see their potential—which is very easy to see!


You have time, because no offers will be considered prior to June 15. This will allow everyone a chance to take an early peek and make an early selection. If you want to know more, call me today. You’ll be enjoying your big water view soon!


Download the South Ridge Harbor map >



The Summer Season on Lake Martin

It’s that time of the year again!  It’s time to start getting the boats summarized and getting them out to the dock or on the lift… and the season begins.  Winter is behind us and the water level is full pool.  The debris is still a little bit of a problem this time of the year.  It’s something we have to keep an eye out for constantly.  When the water fills everything that was on shore makes it’s way out into the lake and some of it can be detrimental to the boat and even your rider if they were unlucky enough to fall into some floating debris, and I’ve actually seen a few near misses.. boats hulls, drive shafts and props can all be fixed.  It might not be the most inexpensive fix, but it’s repairable.  If one of us falls into something low floating, like a part of a tree, that’s not really medicine cabinet hurt.. that’s a trip to the hospital.  It might be in your best interest to take a ride down the slough and make sure there’s nothing floating around before you hit it for a little while until this stuff makes its way to the bottom, or back to shore.  It’s still a bit risky and may not be a great time to take night boat rides [for the first part of the month] for the obvious, you can’t see anything.  I’ve seen a sea doo port floating in the middle of the lake, trees, all sorts of wood from docks etc.. so just be careful.
The lake temp was at 66 the other day, and it felt it.  Neoprene is your friend for a this part of the year.  I’m a huge fan of the long sleeve top.  It is the most used wet suit piece i use every year.  It is actually even layer-able with a shorty which i do early season.  I don’t like to be cold out there, and I know some people don’t even use wet suits or tops this month.  I don’t take cold showers in the morning because i have a hot water heater.. i have neoprene, so i use it.  To each his/her own, but it sure does make the early morning set more pleasant if you ask me!
The new stuff for 2016
What the market is showing per sales and the company reps supplying the gear is that wakesurfing has continued to overtake the market.  One rep told me the at 40% of his territory was buying more surfboards that wakeboards.  This is up from maybe 1 store buying more surfers previously.  The wakesurf lines are growing in leaps and bounds.  Tons of different shapes, fin set ups and thickness (which some of you have found is important when it’s time to put it in the board rack!)  So there is the question surf style or skim.  If your new to wakesurfing, it’s THE question.  If your not, then it’s probably time to find one of the opposite you’ve been riding to add to your quiver of boards.  So if you are shopping for your first board, what do you want?  You definitely need to get someone to help you fit the board to your size and weight…. AND fit that to the wave your riding.  The same 5’10” 180lb rider on competition size wave, will not really enjoy trying to ride that board behind a boat with a normal size surf wake.  He/she will have to work really hard to stay in the drive of the wave, and have to surf way to close to the boat.  If you ware properly set up for your size/weight/wake they you should be able to learn to surf way back on the wave.  That is the number one thing i have to teach new students, is they are surfing entirely to close to the boat.  I will get into this problem shortly.  We can get endless descriptions and reviews online for boards.  The best way to figure out what you like is obviously to ride the board, but if you can’t then you need to be able to tell the salesman what you want to do on the board.  If you want to learn 360s then a 5 fin surfstyle board is not going to be what you want to buy.  If you want to cruize around and jsut ride the wave a bit and carve around, then it could be perfect.  This is the tough one for a lot of people…one size does not fit all.  A small kid will be miserable on a board that will fit an average adult.  Again, it’s all wave specific as well, so make sure you explain the boat you use and the weight you add so they can get a good understanding on how to fit your family.

 Back to the surfing to close to the boat – This happens for a few reasons; first the wake is not set up properly in terms of how the boat is weighted.  The wave is tall but not very long and the rider is stuck right at the platform… this is not fun.  If however it is a proper wave and they are surfing a few feet off the platform, it’s generally because the board is to small and that is the fastest, hardest pushing area in the wave, which does keep them moving along with the boat without the rope.  It’s not a good place to surf and your stuck in one spot.  the goal is to be able to drop way back on the wave and ride forward up and down the wave face, hopefully doing some tricks as we progress our riding.  The tricks should be done behind where 75% of the people I coach start out riding on the wave.  Example; if I drop back to the farthest point on the wave that i can keep the board moving forward (we have to work to move it forward at this point, it’s not just going to be pushed by the wave’s energy) I should start, if not be mid trick( say a 360) at the halfway point from there to the boat. You want to ride all over the wave and stay back from the first few feet off the platform.  That part of the wave is very hard and fast, you’ll notice the board shoot out from under you there for that very reason.  If your back on teh wave, the board’s rail can dig into the wave face better.

Next month I’m going to talk a lot about wakeboarding, some trick tips from my buddy Ben Watts.. so stay tuned, summer is around the corner.  Make sure you get that last push of training in just before the season.  If your starting late, pull ups are the best quickest most efficient way to get strong in the uppper body.

See you on the water!


Lake Martin testing ground for new wakesurfboards

Spring is here on Lake Martin.  The water is nearly full pool and temperature of both the air and water is rising.  Its a great time of the year on Lake Martin, and it’s a great time to enjoy the lake.  The boats are getting broken out of their cold weather cocoons or covered shelters for their de-winterization.   It’s time to summerize the boat, get’em cleaned up and the engine all tuned for the coming season.

This time of the year I always like to discuss some of the new things I’m super stoked about for the coming season.  What’s really different besides a graphic change out there?  Well there are a quite a few new things, but one I’m most happy about writing about because I actually got to be a part of it’s concept and R&D.  The Victoria “Debut”, a wood core wakesurfer is brand new for 2015.  For the past few years of watching the evolution of wakeboarding and the wood core hybrids I began talking with the guys at Victoria about doing something like that for a wakesurfer.  The boards concept was to give the rider one distinct difference, different that any board produced on the market.  FLEX!  Now any wakesurfboard you buy; be it a skim style or surf style has some flex due to the inherent nature of what your doing. There is no surfer that is so stiff there is zero flex.  The Debut is flexy, I mean it’s super flexy, like my Sector 9 bamboo longboard skate.  That was the idea, we have rocker, stiffness and all the speed in our other Victoria models; like the Agent, Factor or Grommet and you can even stiffen those up with carbon fiber. There was nothing that would really flex for a super carving, mellow riding board.  The Debut was not meant to be anything like a normal wakesurfer.  It’s a completely different board for your quiver BUT, it still keeps the characteristics you’ve come to know and love in your skimstyle surfers.  You can buy something different and it will break free and spin, or pop for a shuv unlike it’s surf style brethren.  A few things happened when Tex Haines made me the first prototype and I got on the board to ride.  I had to wipe away my expectations of a ride like my factor, it’s a little over 50 inches long with an 1/8 Russian birch core, with 2 layers of fiberglass wrapped around it.  Where/how I weight the board and dig in to receive the push of the wave is different. It takes a ride or two to really get the feel of such a flexy board (no different that changing from a composite wakeboard to a hybrid) The flex and it’s rebound are amazing, and make the ride super fun and mellow.  There is an incredible amount of feel translated to your feet in the board.  It the exactly what I hoped Tex would come up with, and that was something different but have the ability to do most all of the tricks any wakesurfer will do.    So for the beginner that just wants to test the waters or the experience rider that wants to have something new to play on and break it up, you can do it with the same board and for a minimal investment. The second thing that happen when Tex cut the board for our small riders is that shorter boards of the same thickness having less weight on them don’t flex near a much, kind of obvious right… The short board became the perfect kids board.  The small Debut offers rideablity for the little groms that the pvc core boards do.  Its thinner width and weight are an advantage in the getting started i.e. unattached board to feet at the start. It’s a little less buoyant and “bobbing” which as a coach is one of the hurdles we have to overcome with kids and adults starting out.   The board doesn’t have the same rail design so it will ride different and accelerate a little less aggressively, but again, that’s ideal for a beginners needs.  The big thing Tex and I wanted to do was get that to you for under $200.  The final product produced is now a 52.2 x 21.9 x 3/8 inch board, the small is a 48 x 20.1.  and all for $199.
Enjoy the Spring.. see you on the water

This Weekend on Lake Martin

Looking from something fun to do this weekend at the lake?  Even in the winter, a cold beer is great on Lake Martin.  November 16th starting at 6 pm at Kowaliga Restaurant there will be a Beer Dinner!  Four Courses of Food, Four Beer Pairings all for $35 plus tax and gratuity. Chef Russ Bodner will be putting together something that will tingle your taste buds and match it up perfectly with a epic Blue Pants brew.  The menu will have some bits like beet carpaccio, grilled grouper, homemade sausage, and peanut butter creme brulee.  Call for reservations 256-215-7035

Lake Martin beer dinner

Blue Pants Brewery and Kowaliga beer tasting dinner on Lake Martin

beer dinner

Beer, Brats, Boats & Ballgames on Lake Martin

Beer Brats & Ballgames on Lake Martin

Beer Brats & Ballgames on Lake Martin

Singleton Marine Group will be holding its annual Beer, Brats, Boats & Ballgames Saturday, October 11 from 10am til 4pm  at Blue Creek Marin on Lake Martin.  SMG will be premiering the new 2015 Malibu Wakesetters (can’t wait to test the 22VLX) and the AXIS wake research’s A22/24 and T22.  Liquid Force rep, Matt Long will be on hand with Atlanta based wakesurf coach Mark Roche for training tips.  The showroom will have all the college football games on the flatscreens and hot dogs and hamburgers will be on the grill overlooking Lake Martin.  SMG recently merged with Legandary Marine (see full article here ) giving them the Chris Craft dealership on Lake Martin.  The first 3 Chris Craft Launches were splashed yesterday at Blue Creek.




New Russell Cabin underway!

Groundbreaking announced on
new Russell Cabin

Bill Farshee’s Verandas plan underway –
Ready in time for the 2015 summer season!

Life on the lake keeps getting better—especially when you get to own one of the new Russell Cabins at The Ridge. This neighborhood of charming rustic cabins (with lots of modern features) has been very popular among those most familiar with Lake Martin. And why shouldn’t they be popular? They are perfectly designed for lake life!

The new plan is called Verandas because of the expansive outdoor living spaces. This cabin features two screened porches, a sun deck and grilling porch—all with perfect views of the lake. Outdoor living transitions to wonderful vaulted indoor space. Living, dining and kitchen are all open in a central space. This cabin has plenty of room for family and friends to rest after fun on the lake with four private bedroom suites.

The cabin is carefully sited on a large lot with privacy, mature timber, natural beach and deep water—a great combination of land and cabin on the lake.

Take time to find out more by calling me 205-965-7940

New Russell Cabin about to go underway

New Russell Cabin about to go underway

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