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!

 Sawyer-