Rehn Ollies

Photo by JOE BARATY

Bammer Rehn ollies up at Blackwater Junction’s Wake Park on Aug. 3.

The Franklin News Post editor called me the other day to ask if I would cover a wakeskate competition for the paper. I said yes … only because I generally never turn down work. I wasn’t agreeing to the job because I love going to wakeskate competitions. The fact of the matter is, I’ve never heard of wakeskating. To be quite honest, the first mental picture that came to mind when I heard the term was of kids roller skating real early in the morning.

What I got instead was a fabulous introduction to one of the wildest water sports I have ever had the pleasure of watching. Just to give you a quick visual idea; if you took a skate park, picked the entire park up and dropped it onto a body of water, then removed the wheels off of your skateboard, you’ll at least begin to get a very basic idea of the sport. Or, if you take a wakeboard, remove all the bindings for your feet, then add a variety of obstacles and jumps to navigate, you begin to understand the technical difficulty of this amazing sport.

Wakeskating is still relatively new. It was introduced on the West Coast back in 1996 when a young Jason Messer experimented with a modified wakeboard by using traction pads instead of foot bindings. It expanded in popularity in the early 2000’s due to the creative work of Thomas Horrell. Both men agree that skateboarding was their primary inspiration for this sport, and the similarities are abundant. What it has evolved into today is more than just another water sport, but a whole culture in and of itself.

Since 2000, wakeskating has developed an international following and popularity. The competition that I covered here in Franklin County included skaters from all across the globe. What? ... you say. There is a wakeskating facility in Franklin County? Though it seems to be a relatively unknown fact, yes there is. And it’s quite an impressive facility to say the least.

The competition I attended was held at our very own Black Water Junction Wake Park located just off Brooks Mill Road near Smith Mountain Lake. It is quite an impressive facility, professional enough to attract some of the best wakeskaters from as far away as France. But you don’t need to be a professional here to get wet and wild. The wake park is open to first timers also, with a training area to get you addicted to this fun sport.

The primary purpose of my weekly article has been to introduce residents of Franklin County to “wild” opportunities for the whole family. Wakeskating at Black Water Junction perfectly fulfills that purpose. This is a fun, safe, family friendly facility that will become a favorite destination to anyone desiring a new and exciting outdoor adventure.

While it’s still hot, take the opportunity to cool off with the friendly professional staff at Black Water. Go get wild!

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