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Wakeboarders - The Next Generation

The Mid-Atlantic Wakeboarding Series (sponsored by Glass and Powder Boardshop and Ski Boats Unltd, among others) recently came to our lake. We all got to see some great riders get some big air and show us their best tricks. We also got to see how many of these talented young men (like Andrew Adkison pictured at right) and women gladly spend time talking with the younger kids. Realizing that the young kids idolize the older riders, the veteran riders freely give their time and energy helping to encourage them. By the time the tournament was over, I was even more impressed by the mentoring of the young kids than by the riding. And the riding was awesome!

Guest pro rider Andrew Adkison threw some huge tricks in his incredible demo ride that amazed us all! He appears to effortlessly get big air as shown in the photo at left. In between rides, he had numerous conversations with the young riders. Andrew signed posters as well as wakeboards for everyone who asked. After the youngest riders finished their part of the competition, I noticed many of them deep in conversation with Andrew, pictured here, signing autographs. Several of the kids told me afterwards that he had been giving them pointers about improving their tricks and winning competitions.

What's the big deal about a pro rider giving groms riding advice? This is a young man who is one of the world's top wakeboarders, (Andrew at left sharing tips) who could be stand-offish and self-absorbed. Instead, he is outgoing, and happy to share his expertise, especially with the younger kids. And it doesn't stop there. He made sure to involve them in the event to the extent that they felt it was as much about them as about the Invert and Outlaw riders.

One of our young sons entered the Hyperlite Hyperfest Tournament (sponsored by the North Atlantic Marine Group, Tigé boats, and Hyperlite, among others) this year. It was his very first competition. Not only did the older riders take the time to congratulate him on his ride, but one of them made a point of setting up a time to wakeboard with him the next weekend. This rider, who competes at the Invert and Amateur level, is Tony Campanellie (showing his moves at right). Tony spent an afternoon showing our younger rider how to perform some more advanced tricks. He also helped us figure out how to adjust our wake to make it the best possible ride for our son.

Yes, I am impressed with the beauty and athleticism of the sport of wakeboarding. The skill and agility of the advanced and pro riders is amazing. But for me, it is even more impressive to see the greats of the sport take the time and the trouble to encourage and teach the youngest riders, like Andrew Adkison in this photo. These are truly the kind of role models we all wish our kids could have. Now that's what I call grace, on or off of the board. Thanks Andrew and Tony! Go Big!


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