3 Obscure and Fun Water Sports

obscure-and-fun-watersportsWakeboarding is a popular water sport that attracts more attention every year due to incredible athletes and average Joes who are finding out how fun the sport can be. As fun as it is to go wakeboarding, here are three more obscure water sports that might be a little more fun (and crazy). If you ever want to make your wakeboarding excursions a little more memorable, give one of these weird and obscure water sports a try.

 

  1. Underwater Hockey

This sport is definitely not for the faint of heart, because it involves a significant amount of underwater composure and control. Two teams of six players each play hockey six to eight feet underwater, at the bottom of a pool. Apparently hockey is simply not challenging enough when it is played with skates on ice.

If you ever feel the need to chase a weighted hockey puck around the bottom of a pool while holding your breath and avoiding the swinging sticks of other players who are chasing the same puck, then you should give water hockey a try. There are approximately 50 underwater hockey clubs in the United States, so you may be able to find one near you.

 

  1. Glacier Surfing

Surfing glaciers might possibly be one of the most dangerous water-related sports out there, which is why it is also one of the most obscure water-related sports in the world. Very few individuals have had the nerve or the patience to attempt this sport.

In order to glacier surf, individuals must first wait for a large piece of glacier to break away from its wall and create a huge wave as it crashes into the water. Surfers position themselves to ride the large waves resulting from falling glacier slabs, which requires them to wait within dangerous range of falling glaciers. If surfers are too close to the falling glaciers, the consequences could be disastrous. This is one obscure water sport that you may not want to try for yourself.

 

  1. Underwater Rugby

Rugby is challenging enough when it is played on dry land, but a few crazy souls decided to turn it into a water sport. Underwater rugby is a contact sport that is played by two teams of six players. The goal of the game is to get a water-filled plastic ball from one side of the pool to the other side. The team with the most goals and points wins the game.

If you would rather stick with a less-weird sport like wakeboarding, we don’t blame you. Here at Big Air, we offer a wide variety of wakeboard towers and accessories that will make your wakeboarding experience as convenient and fun as possible.

Pro Highlight of the Month: Jimmy Lariche

pro-highlight-jimmy-laricheIf you know anything about wakeboarding, then you’ve probably heard of Jimmy Lariche. When it comes to wakeboarding pros, he is just about as dynamic as they come. At 25 years old, Jimmy has been riding competitively for six years and has gathered a bevy of sponsors to be jealous about.

Out of Florida

Born in Boca Raton, Florida, it’s no surprise that Lariche is comfortable on the water, but to reach his level of success required hard work and perseverance. Jimmy was born on January 19, 1990 and didn’t waste any time learning the sport. From phenomenal rookie stats to consistently placing as a pro, La Riche is a serious contender at every event in which he participates.

Making a Name of His Own

As a rider, Jimmy uses a regular, all the way stance, ducked just a little. His ability to jump the waves has carried him through many competitions as a junior and as a pro. Over those years of riding the water, Jimmy has learned a thing or two. Coming up as part of a new generation of competitors in a fairly new sport, Jimmy La Riche has a style that is often compared to the great Danny Harf of Pointless Posse. When it comes to winning, though, it’s all about Jimmy!

Competitive Success

He has been a pro since 2008 and currently belongs to the Hyperlite Franchise team. As an amateur, Jimmy finished 2nd at the Pro Tour in Jr. Men and took 1st at the 2008 Board Up Miami. He also placed as the Masters Jr. Champion and the World Champion. After this successful start, Jimmy was more than ready to join the pros, bringing a new level of competition to the water.

Pro Career Highlights

  • 2nd: Australian Pro Tour: Pentrith
  • 2nd: Australian Pro Tour
  • 1st: Australian Pro Tour: Stoney Park
  • 2nd: Wake Games

Jimmy’s been called a number of things through his career. Those nicknames include Yimmy, Jimbo Slice, and The Crème (or Dele Crème), but one thing that everyone calls him these days is a winner. Check him out!

How to Perform a Heel Side Backroll

how-to-heel-side-backrollMost wakeboarders expect to receive a little friendly competition and perhaps some snide remarks from their friends regarding their wakeboarding skills. Even if you are a really great wakeboarder, it can be difficult to come up with moves that will really impress your friends and give them newfound respect for your dexterity and talent. If you are getting a little tired of the constant arguments about who is the best, you need to have a few wakeboard tricks up your sleeve that can be used at a moment’s notice to establish your position as The Alpha Wakeboarder.

All joking aside, learning one or two impressive tricks can be beneficial in a great deal of situations, including winning a bet against your buddies, impressing your girlfriend, and even seeing if you have what it takes to go pro with your skills.

 

Choosing the Right Trick 

If you are going to take the time to learn a wakeboard trick, it is a good idea to come up with one that is universally fun and capable of winning you some serious respect. One such trick is the Heel Side Backroll. This is an intermediate-level trick that can get you familiar with how inverts work. Here are the individual steps:

  1. Begin on the outside of the wake (but not too far out)
  2. Enter the wake while making sure you are edging all the way through in order to get the right amount of lift
  3. As you leave the wake, shift the bulk of your weight to your back foot while keeping the handle tucked in close to your hips with both hands
  4. For normal stance, start to look over your left shoulder while rotating your body in the same direction. For goofy stance, look over your right shoulder and rotate in the same direction.
  5. Your body will begin to swing into an upside-down position, and it is important to try and spot your ideal landing while you are in this position
  6. Prepare for a smooth landing by softening your knees and preparing for impact

 

Safety First

It is important to note that safety is of paramount importance when it comes to learning new tricks on your wakeboard. Never try a new trick until you have mastered several easier tricks and have naturally worked your way up to more difficult tricks.

If you want to make it easier than ever to practice new wakeboard tricks, Big Air offers attractive and sturdy wake towers that are designed to give you a steady, rigid pull. Check out our impressive selection to find a wakeboard tower that will look amazing on your boat.

How to Perform a 360 on a Wakeboard

how-to-perform-a-360-on-a-wakeboardAre you ready to take on the Heelside 360? This classic trick demands respect and also allows for some creativity on the part of the rider. This move is used by riders who want to advance to more difficult and complicated tricks. It’s also a favorite when it comes to making personal tweaks and touches to a routine.

Before You Start

If you want to conquer this move, you’ll need the proper equipment and preparation. A high-set wakeboard boat tower will allow you to achieve the big air you need to successfully complete this trick. You ‘ll also need to get a few skills firmly under your belt:

  • Successfully jump from wake to wake with ease.
  • Accomplish a solid Heelside 180 – then do it again!
  • Get comfortable passing the handle behind your back.

Before you try out this trick on the water, give it a few trial runs on a trampoline and on land with a rope handle.

Ready to Go?

Step One: Set yourself up just outside of the wake with slightly bent knees and the handle in tight. You’ll want to execute a relaxed cut that can carry you through both wakes in a consistent, controlled progressive edge.

Step Two: Wait for the moment when you stand tall and pop off the wake, with the handle still in tight, and then begin moving the handle around to your back. This will start your rotation. Don’t try to rush this move. When executed properly, you’ll be able to stay on axis up in the air.

Step Three: Stay focused on holding that handle in tight. Don’t release the handle with your back hand until you have firmly grasped it with your front hand. With your head up and your shoulders on axis, you can start looking for your landing AFTER you’ve successfully passed the handle.

Step Four: Spot your landing with your head up. Slightly bend your knees and remember to keep that handle in tight. This is particularly important at this point because that jerky line move isn’t going to help your performance appeal!

Take It Up a Notch

Once you master this move, you can change it up a lot with new grab methods, by learning to switch, and moving off axis, among other variations. You’ll also be well-prepared for several new and harder tricks!

Big Air Wakeboarding Music of the Month: July 2015

wakeboarding-music-of-july-2015Wakeboarding isn’t the same without some great tunes to listen to while you ride. The right music can give you the energy and confidence you need to complete some of your more challenging tricks, while the wrong music (or a lack of music) can make you feel less energetic than usual and can cause you to lose steam more quickly. Here are a few of our top wakeboarding music selections of the month for your enjoyment with a killer set of wakeboard tower speakers:

 

AC/DC 

There is nothing new about AC/DC, but despite the fact that they have been around forever, their songs are always able to pump you up and make you feel invincible while riding. “Thunderstruck” is especially effective at inducing energy and should be included on every wakeboarder’s playlist. “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” can help restore your resolve and courage after suffering from a particularly painful failed stunt.

 

Fallout Boy

Fallout Boy has some great older music that can make a day on the lake more enjoyable, but we have found that “Centuries” is particularly inspiring for wakeboarders who are working hard to earn a name for themselves in the sport. If your goal is to make sure you are remembered for your skills and perseverance, crank “Centuries” while you practice some of your more difficult tricks.

 

Metallica

Every wakeboarder should have at least one Metallica song on their playlist, and some of our favorites for their ability to get us motivated include “And Justice For All” and “Seek and Destroy”. Of course, Metallica has a very large selection of heavy metal music that can get you pumped up and ready for a day of riding.

 

Foo Fighters

If you want energetic music that is a little less loud than some of the other selections listed here, Foo Fighters is a great option. Some of our favorite selections from them include “Stacked Actors” and “All My Life”. Whether you prefer their older or newer albums, this versatile band has a song that will resonate with almost any wakeboarder.

 

Jake Owen 

For wakeboarders who are also fond of country music, Jake Owen offers some laid-back tunes that can help you enjoy the sunshine from the back of a boat or wakeboard. He also loves wakeboarding, which may be a big reason why we like his music.

 

Make Sure Your Music Can Be Heard 

No matter what type of music motivates you while you are riding, you need to make sure it can be heard. Check out the selection of high-quality speakers we offer at Big Air and get ready to rock your favorite tunes the next time you go riding.

Daniel Grant Wakeboard Pro Highlight

pro-highlight-daniel-grantWakeboarding typically takes years to master, and many of the most successful professionals know how difficult it can be to make a name for yourself in the sport. That is why so many professional riders have been surprised and impressed at the reputation of Daniel Grant, who surprised the wakeboard industry by earning top-level rankings in wakeboarding and wakeskating competitions at a very young age.

Although he is only 17 years old, Daniel Grant has already accomplished what many wakeboard pro aspirers can only hope to accomplish at some point in their lives: a renowned and respected name in the wakeboarding community. His raw skill and likeable style have won him a reputation for being one of the most trendy and interesting wakeboarders to watch.

 

Accomplishments

Daniel travels quite extensively in order to compete in various wakeboard and wakeskate competitions throughout the world, including those located in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific. He has won many awards in 2013 and 2014 alone, including:

  • Best Wake Park Rider 2014
  • Red Bull Rising High Big Air event 2014: 3rd place
  • Wakeworld: Cable Rider of the Year 2013
  • Wakeworld: #2 Wakeskate of the Year (Tao) 2013
  • Wakeworld: #2 Rail Rider of the Year 2013
  • Wakeworld: #10 Overall Wakeboarder of the year 2013 (cable rider voted)
  • Transworld: #2 Wakeskater of the Year 2013 (Readers Poll)
  • Transworld: Cable Ride of the Year 2013
  • Transworld: #10 Wakeboarder of the Year 2013 (Readers Poll)

At the pace he is currently going, Daniel is setting himself up for continued success in the highly competitive wake world.

 

Plans for 2015

Clearly, Daniel is just getting started as a wakeskate pro, and he will almost certainly continue competing to show off his hard-earned reputation as one of the most unique and interesting wakeboarders to watch during the year 2015. If you want to have a chance at meeting this multi-talented professional face to face, you may just get your chance during the 2015 Surf Expo at Orlando Watersports Complex.

Several of the world’s top wake professionals, including Daniel Grant, Tom Fooshee, Nick Davies, Kaesen Stuyderhoud, Grame Burress, Jeff Langley, Brenton Priestley, and Bob Soven are scheduled to provide attendees with pointers and on-site tips for aspiring wakeboarders and wakeskaters.

 

Just the Beginning

With such a young start and so many prime years ahead of him, Daniel is poised to become one of the greatest wake professionals in the history of the sport. If you want to start practicing some of the impressive wakeboard moves that you have seen Daniel Grant perform, a durable wakeboard tower from Big Air can help give you the pull you need to get some serious air.

Highlights of the Vapor Wake Tower

vapor-wake-tower-highlightsThe Vapor Tower carried by Big Air is one of the most attractive and sturdy wake towers available on the market today. If you need the reliability of a rigid pull in order to practice your most difficult tricks, the Vapor Tower may be exactly what you are looking for. Here are a few product highlights:

Appearance

The Vapor Tower is a very stylish wake tower, thanks to its swooped design and factory-polished finish. Made from high-quality polished flex-reducing aluminum, this is one tower that will definitely add to the overall style of your boat. The tubing is rigid and thick, which gives The Vapor Tower a strong and impressive appearance. The tower is available in polished anodized, polished, or black powder coat finishes, depending on your preference.

Design

The Vapor Tower is designed to fit any boat that is between 72” and 108” wide. This means that almost any boat on the market will be able to accommodate the versatile Vapor Tower. Product design highlights include:

• Very easy installation (normally two or three hours for installation)
• A telescoping top section makes it easy to install The Vapor Tower on any boat
• Secure design does not moan, rattle, or creek in choppy water
• Tower is fully collapsible and can lay down flat within 60 seconds for low clearance areas or for storage
• From mounting points, the tower stands approximately five feet, with an inward taper of 12 degrees
• Swivel rope head design boasts free rope movement
• Pre-drilled for wiring installation ease
• 70” front-to-back stance
• Tower flexure is reduced with the help of finite element analysis structures
• Capability of accommodating the Big Air Bimini, Collapsible Bimini, and Super Shadow Bimini
• Backing plates and mounting hardware included
• Accessories and wakeboard racks are sold separately

Warranty

The Vapor Tower offers an impressive 5-year warranty, so you do not need to worry about receiving a poor-quality tower that will not withstand heavy and frequent use. If something happens to your Vapor Tower within the 5-year warranty time-frame, you will be taken care of.

Optional Tow Point Navigation Light

Big Air offers a tow point navigation light for those who are interested in improving visibility while on the water. The light boasts a 2-mile nautical radius and is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard. It is compatible with towers that are 2013 or newer.

Learn More

If you are ready to increase your ability to perform wakeboard tricks with ease, contact Big Air to find out more about the Vapor Tower today.

Top 10 Best Places to Wakeboard in the US

10-best-places-to-wakeboard-in-the-uswakeboard destinationThe only thing better than wakeboarding is knowing the best places to wakeboard. If you’re thinking about testing your wakeboarding skills out in new waters, then Big Air Wake Towers has come up with this list for you of the top ten best places to wakeboard.

1. Colorado River, US Southwest

The cool and still water combined with the hot weather make the Colorado River one of the most popular water-ski locations in the US. The summer is an especially good time to go since there are so many activities going on. If you’re so inclined, you may also want to check out the annual speedboat races.

2. Lake Shasta, CA

Lake Shasta has long been considered to be one of the absolute best wakeboard lakes. There are four arms, each with a separate lake as well as a main lake near the dam. While you’re here you’ll also have thousands of inlets and coves to explore.

3. Lake Havasu, AZ

Lake Havasu stretches 45 miles long and expands across roughly 19,300 acres. This particular lake is also one of the most popular in the southwest for boating enthusiasts. Not only that, but with its warm water, weather, size and location near Las Vegas, the lake is one of the most popular water-skiing locations in the West.

4. TSR Extreme Sports Complex, TX

One of the best things about the Texas Ski Ranch Complex is that you don’t need a boat for wakeboarding. The cableway is perfect for wakeboarders of various skill levels. A coach, professional driver, Mastercraft towboat and wake-free waters all combine to make you feel as though you’ve arrived in wakeboarding paradise.

5. Lake Lure, NC

You can’t help but mention the Chalet Club when you talk about water-skiing sports. Recently, the Chalet Club has taken steps to become the premiere destination for wakeboard lovers by upping the wakeboarding ante.

6. Coble Ski Camp, NC

Coble Ski Camp has become one of the most comprehensive and foremost wakeboard training centers in the entire world. Here you’ll have access to ten private lakes, but only a single boat is allowed on each lake at any given time.

7. Bow Lake, WA

Bow Lake has attracted beginning wakeboarders and professional wakeboarders alike. For the most outstanding wakeboarding experience, make sure that you visit anytime between April and October during their spring and summer seasons.

8. Lake Powell, AZ/UT

Lake Powell is the second largest manmade reservoir in America and is a fantastic looking lake. You’re sure to find some primo riding spots if you decide to make a trek to this particular wakeboarding destination.

9. Lake Michigan

Not only is Lake Michigan a great spot for wakeboarding, it also boasts some of the best parties for boaters. Imagine wakeboarding with the Chicago skyline sweeping by.

10. Blue Lake, FL

Wakeboarders who are looking for a more private spot may want to check out the waters of Blue Lake. Something else that this particular destination has going for it is that the crystal blue waters make you feel as though you’re in the heavenly Caribbean.

The wakeboarding experts of Big Air Wake Towers have all of the equipment that you need to enjoy the top ten wakeboarding destinations in America. Let us know if you’ve got an upcoming wakeboarding trip and we’ll get you completely set up.

Can I mount a tower on my boat?

can-i-mount-a-tower-on-my-boatA classic question we get asked at Big Air is “Can I mount a tower on my boat”.

Fair question!

Here are a few simple guidelines/questions  we suggest for making that decision.

1. Is my boat large enough?

Our recommendation is that your boat be a minimum of 16 ft long and have a beam of at least 6 ft.  The reason for this is to give your boat stability when pulling with a tower.

2. Is my fiberglass hull strong enough to have a tower installed on it?

We recommend a minimum of 3/8″ of thickenss for fiberglass hulls for tower                          installation.  If your hull is thinner than this, then reinforcement can be done by                    laying additional fiberglass on the interior of the hull or installing aluminum or                        treated plywood reinforcement.

3.  My boat hull is radiused, how can I attach a tower mount that is flat to the curved surface.

Some towers come with radiused rubber inserts to help conform to the shape of your            hull.   If this is not the case, then you can often use a belt sander on the supplied                    rubber insert to shape it to fit your hull.  Extra inserts can often be supplied by                      dealers upon request.

4.  My boat is an aluminum boat..can I still mount a tower?

The answer is yes you can mount to aluminum boat gunnels.  It is recommended                   that you place extra aluminum sheet or plywood on the interior of the mount                          location to help spread the load out across the aluminum hull.

5.  There is restricted access to the interior of my hull.

This is not an uncommon situation.  Many of today’s boats use interior panels to hide any of the hull.  Typically you can remove many of the panels on modern boats by lifting upward on the panel, which will un-hook it from the hull.  Sometimes there maybe screws buried deep into the interior cushion..check closely for these.  Occasionally there will be no open access once these panels are removed.  In these cases you can use a large diameter hole saw to cut a hole in the area that the panel covers.   (Note: make sure you aren’t cutting in a critical support area or through wires or cables).

Pylons to Towers

For all those curious how this industry developed here is a short description.  Ski pylons had been on tournament inboard boats for decades.  In the ’90s pylon extenders for tournament boats came on to the market to enable boarders and skiers to get more air for tricks.  However at that time only tournament boats had this option, standard run-about or inboard/outboard boats had no option.

Universal Slip-on Pylon

Slip-on Pylon for Inboard Ski Boat

 

 

Then a couple companies realized that it wasn’t only tournament boat owners who desired bigger air when boarding.  Thus in the mid ’90s came the introduction of universal pylons that allowed users to put extended pylons in their I/O boats.  Big Air Pylons was incorporated in 1996 and began production of pylons in a single car garage in Duncan, OK.

Universal Pylon

Universal Pylon

One of the issues of a pylon is that it is in the center walk way of your boat and it was not easy to store boards or hang speakers on.

In the late ’90s the industry began to make the shift to wakeboard towers which allowed users to hang biminis, board racks, speakers and other accessories.   Once again the tournament boats had towers that were pre-fabricated and had to be shipped by freight truck.  In 1999 Big Air developed its UPS ship friendly tower that would fit virtually any boat.  The tower was made using stainless steel tubing to offer extreme strength and corrosion protection for harsh environments.

Today the market has gravitated towards towers nearly completely.  We see new designs and accessories continue to be created to work with and on towers.H20 Tower

Who knows what the future holds for towers…but it looks to be an exciting future.