At first, boating was a ‘relaxing’ experience, getting to know places around from the sea which become totally different.
But pretty soon our rowdy bunch of teenagers wanted something more exciting to do. This is how we discovered wakeboarding.
At the time, all our kids were totally into snowboarding. I’m talking about winter experience there of course.
When Popeye discovered a very weird contraption in a watersports store, he bought it. The store owner did not even know what it was except that its name was a ‘Woody’ (i.e. one of the oldest wakeboards ever). It looked like a snowboard but boasted a wood grain deck, removable fins and much lighter boots. And it was to be used on the water and only on the water of course.
Perfect summer activity. A little bit hard to pratice on the rough Channel but half of the fun was to discover the perfect spot. Nice, smooth water since wakeboarding is all about riding the wake... the boat’s wake of course and not the waves.
Those of you who know me well by now are aware of my deep dislike of boating... at least in the beginnings of our life in Brittany.
Boating is not my favorite activity. The first summer of wakeboarding aroused my curiosity though. I discovered pretty soon that watching the children trying hard to wakeboard was fun except that the boat would go at full speed, most of the time.
The wakeboarder would end his ride sometimes quite roughly. Popeye had to go back where he had splashed down as fast as possible.
The sharp U-bend usually drove me crazy. Then one day someone suggested I should take movies or pictures to help them progress in that crazy sport nobody knew much about. Remember, those were the early 90’s and France, not Lake Tahoe.
Taking pictures on a wild ride. They had to be kidding. They were not kidding. Pretty soon, I found myself engrossed in taking pictures without even noticing how fast we were going. It even became kind of fun.
It took me quite a while though to feel when the «moment of truth» was about to happen... I missed a lot of athletic feasts. In the beginning. After a while I became a seasoned wakeboard photographer and groupie.
It became easier to anticipate every amazing moment of the ride.
Well, yes, it was fun. Still is fun. Except that nowadays, wakeboarding days are getting fewer. Our teenagers are all grown up. They are working now. Most of them live away, far away. They have their own family life.
Popeye and I, we go boating on our own until Swee’ Pea comes home for a few days... and it’s wakeboarding time all over again.
This summer wakeboarding season was quite short. Lots of waves. Hard to find good spots. But I managed to shoot a few pictures. Swee’ Pea was a little bit out of shape... Wakeboarding is not like riding a bicycle. You’ve got to work at it quite hard to be at your best.
But I took pictures as usual.
Tonight I started looking at our summer pictures. Too many of them. Not enough time until tonight.
While I was looking at Swee' Pea riding the wake, an idea went through my mind. Yes. It was so obvious.
Life is so much like a wakeboard ride after all.
Everybody looks for calm and quiet spots. Life is supposed to be filled with peace and happiness, isn’t it.
But you need to move on. That’s when you start hitting the wake... Finding ideas... trying out all sort of things. Living.
And then hopefully, you’ll hit the wake exactly the right way, which will send you up in the air. You know, this bubble of happiness when you’ve finally got it right. You are on your way to happiness, fullfilment in your work, stardom - whatever. There you are. And you deserve being where you are. It’s not this easy to ride the wake.
Right up into the air, in a perfect bubble of contentment.
Right up into the air. While there, who can think that falling down from this bubble may happen and may be painful?
Life is not perfect. It’s easy, oh so easy to meet with pain and disaster.
Have you ever felt like you are drowning? Too many problems. Too many hardships. Sickness. Unhappiness. Everyday life unsolved problems. Whatever again.
Whenever things look bleak, think about the wakeboarder. A few minutes after his spectacular fall, he’ll start a new ride again and again. He’ll pull himself out of the water and he’ll start riding the wake again.
The following day, even though he feels very tired and aches from the strain on the rope and one fall after the other, he’ll pack his wakeboard into the car and he'll start riding the wake again until he jumps even higher than the first time. And he’ll ride again and again.
Isn't it what life is all about after all?
*Good Luck, and Good Night*