I've lived in Florida for nearly three years now, and while I don't consider myself a Floridian, legally I'm pretty well attached to the Sunshine State. My address is in Florida, I have a Florida driver's license and drive a car that is registered in Florida. I've even been to a Magic game. So I guess I'm pretty Floridian.
But in the world of wakeboarding, there is one thing you have to do if you come to Orlando: ride the cable park. If you live there, you probably go at least a handful of times a year. I, on the other hand, have been to OWC many times for various wake-related events, but have never actually ridden the cable.
Yesterday, however, two of my good friends from Northern California happened to be in town: Mike Schwenne and Daniel Doud. They were both going to the cable park and more or less forced me to come ride. We were joined by friends and The Wakeboard Camp instructors Chad Lowe, Amber Wing, and Robert "Bob" Sichel.
I'm not gonna lie, I was kind of nervous. The cable is a lot different than being on a boat with your friends. A lot of people you don't know could very well be watching your every move. And the area most likely to provide the most embarrassing mistakes is right where most of those strangers are standing and watching: the start dock.
I took a lap around the "beginner" cable first, just to get a feel for the pull of the cable. It's definitely different than getting pulled by a boat, especially when you go around one of the turns. But I did alright and instantly my confidence was boosted. I got another boost right before hitting the water of the rail park cable. Amber Wing was right in front of me and as she jumped off the dock to hit the water, took an immediate fall. There is nothing better for soothing amateur riding nerves than seeing a big time pro eat it off the start dock. Thanks, Amber!
I was next and guess what? I fell off the start dock, too. Oh well, at least I can say I was on par with Ms. Wing. I got it on the second try, though, and was thoroughly pleased with myself.
After some time on the rail park area, Daniel Doud and I decided it would be more fun to ride doubles on the beginner cable. If you're looking to have a goofy, fun time at OWC, this is by far the way to go.
The whole cable thing is definitely different than the boat: the actual riding part (there's no wake), the starting part (it can be a bit jerky compared to a boat), and the hanging out environment (there's more than just you and your bros). But it's definitely a lot of fun (and a heck of a lot cheaper). So now that I've finally ridden the cable after living in Orlando for three years, I guess I can officially become a true member of the wakeboarding community… Now I just need to learn to do some S Bends to blind around the corners…