So last week Travis, Matt and I were at Wake Central (Shawn Watson’s) and what seemed like the entire wakeboarding nation was there to ride behind Watson’s Nautique, in preparation for this weekend’s National Chmapionship contest. I hope they gave him gas. The line up was pretty deep: Keith Lyman, Danny Harf, Ben Greenwood, Trevor Hansen, Rusty Malinoski, Chris O’Shea, Tino Santori and Watson. So after it was all said and done, Staker called out that Danny was riding really well but that Tino was the sleeper, riding better than anyone that day.
Cut to nationals this weekend – Danny finishes fifth and Tino wins. Staker is contemplating starting a handicapping service for wakeboarding events in which he sets the odds (“Some people know horses, I know riders.”) and makes the book. Congrats to Tino and all the other winners, including Dallas Friday, Brian Grubb, Adam Errington, Shawna Hoffman, Jacob Valdez and Jason Soven.
Now, the real story for the weekend: Danny Hampson is back … on the water that is. He’s not wakeskating yet, but the doctor gave him clearance to take off his neck brace and to be in out in a boat again. So in celebration, Danny and I headed out towards the East Coast to go flats fishing and wound up right near our friend Flip Pallot’s house. As he would say: we headed forward into the cool morning mist of Florida’s Indian River like ghosts returning to a house they used to haunt, looking to once again stir up a little mischief. Our prey surrounded us like the dense fog we slipped through in our poling skiff, but winked and waved with their tails as they ignored each and every offering we laid before them. It didn’t matter though, we were where we were supposed to be, and there was joy in releasing a natural thing like Danny back into the wild.