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Boardstock 97 East

April 2, 2000
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The Island
A secluded paradise 30 miles north of Atlanta, Georgia, Lake Lanier Islands is one of the most prestigious resorts in the Southeast.
Boardstock East made the Hilton Hotel home and set up camp beachfront at the Lake Lanier Islands water park. The official event was here.

The Lake
Packed full of wakeboarders, over 12 houseboats hooked up together
outside the Lanier Islands cove to form a floating armada of debauchery. Over the next two days, they partied till dawn, nearly beached five houseboats and rode the chilly waters of Lake Lanier. The party was here.

Are we even getting close to where I should turn?” asks Heather Lee as we barrel along I-85 through the northern Georgia countryside, “How far is this place?”
It’s been nearly an hour since we left the Atlanta airport in the rental beast, and a quick glance at the map reveals we’ve got 15 miles to go. We’re headed for Boardstock East at Lake Lanier Islands and ready for fun in the sun, endless rides, a top pro contest and the all-night partying that is Boardstock. Yet one thing troubles our minds – it’s raining, and we’re not there yet.
Boardstock East was an experiment from day one. After the success of last year’s Boardstock in Lake Shasta, CA, several industry folks got together and decided that because of the strong demand for the ultimate riders’ event, this year there would be two Boardstocks, the first in Lake Lanier and the second in September back at Lake Shasta. The East Coast edition was different because it was land-based at the Lake Lanier Islands resort, home to numerous campgrounds, hotels and a beachfront water park – which was to be ground zero for the event. Yet this difference proved difficult as people came and partied on the lake, the industry set up on shore, and island authorities were in between keeping boats from entering or leaving the cove. Boardstock East was nothing like Boardstock West. There was no wandering from houseboat to houseboat in evening revelry (unless of course you were on the houseboats, not on shore), there was no free-rein, wherever-you-want-to-go demo riding, and there was no insane gathering of the masses to watch the pro contest (you could only see if you were on shore). So, Boardstock East became the party divided, houseboat crew versus land company.

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Thursday
The drizzle starts.
The Island
There is something strange about checking in with a security guard to go to a wakeboarding event. But since Lake Lanier Islands is a resort area unto itself, gate check-in is required. From there we headed to the Lake Lanier Island Resort Hotel and threw our stuff in the rooms. Being in the hotel, it was difficult to know what was going on because everyone was split up. Still, we managed to put together a crew and a plan and headed out to grub only to learn that the nearby town of Buford shuts down at 11 p.m., so the party headed back to the hotel bar.

The Lake
Out on the water, the houseboat people had begun to congregate. Over 16 houseboats would navigate through Lake Lanier to join up at the entrance to Lanier Islands cove, the site of Boardstock. The first night was fairly sedate since everyone was setting up camp. The Wake Tech crew hosted a mini-party at the campground (home to the Randy Harris mega-bus),but it shut down fairly early so that people could rest for the rad weekend ahead.

Friday – Demo DayIt’s still raining.
The Island
Clouds blanketed the Boardstock skies for the first real day of the event. The Lanier Islands Water Park was the host site for the main Boardstock setup. A quarter-mile beach strip within the cove was filled with manufacturer and local dealer tents. That part of the event was free; entry into the park was not. For $16 you could get a park pass, which was renewable for $4 per day. Technically this was a good deal since it normally costs $24 bucks per day to get into the water park, but Boardstock was supposed to be free, right? (What happened to “Feel the Love?”) Anyhow, for those who paid, this fee got you to the exhibit area, free board demos and unlimited use of the park’s slides and newly installed Flow-Rider wave machine. Oh well. That measly $16 wasn’t about to mess up our good time.
We checked out all the booths then hooked up with Russ from Jupiter’s View video and went out on Cobe’s Tigi for a morning session. Lake Lanier was beautifully calm and the rain had briefly stopped its relentless drizzle, so we were able to get in some excellent runs in several coves off the main lake. One surprise was the water temperature – can you say fullsuit?
After several teeth-chattering runs we returned to the site, and I was reminded that I was there to “work” and not just party, so I took my turn manning the chaos of the demo dock. While the board demos were free and you had an endless variety to try, the number of boats to ride behind was limited, so you had to wait your turn. Since the crowds were light in the morning, we saw a group of five guys try nearly every board there. By the end of the day, over 100 people had demo’d boards and bindings.
With my “work” time over, we took a several runs on the park’s water slides and Flow Rider, then headed out to the lake to check out the houseboat action.

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The Lake
Things on the houseboats weren’t quite as tense as they were on the demo dock. Everyone seemed way more relaxed and easygoing – a little annoyed they couldn’t drive their boats into the cove, but they soon developed a “who cares, let’s party” attitude. We ventured from houseboat to houseboat checking out the party scenes and met people who had driven from Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Kentucky just to come to Boardstock.
“I don’t care what they say, this is the real Boardstock,” said Tim Terrel of Blues Creek, NC, who came to celebrate his bachelor party. “They won’t let us go in there, but who cares, this is where the party is!”
Later that sentiment kicked into overdrive. Several Boardstock sponsors came out in their own boats and handed out T-shirts and hats to the houseboat crew. The late-night party scene featured vertical drinking, night riding, roof diving, chair sliding into the lake, and “a leading Boardstock organizer” was seen hanging by his ankles doing upside-down shooters. Eventually everyone crashed out and got ready for Day 2.

Saturday – The Pro Event
It’s overcast. Oh, and drizzly.
The Island
Day 2 of Boardstock began with cloudy minds and slightly clearer skies. This was the pro contest day: 16 top riders including Darin Shapiro, Parks Bonifay, Shane Bonifay, Mike Weddington, Cobe Mikacich, Brad Hellerich, Mike Rowell, Andrew Cairns, Ryan Siebring, Chris Brown, Jason Elmore, Hunter Brown, Dave Briscoe and more would be competing for cash prize. There was also a cash-prize pro women’s event, and riders like Dana Preble, Tara Hamilton, Marie Botved and Nicola Huntridge kicked it pretty hard.
Once the contest got under way, things were going OK until the people in the houseboats began to motor in to get a better view (since they were at least a half-mile away). They were told continually by the water park security to stay out of the cove, and in retaliation they began launching water balloons at the security crew. After a while it got a little crazy, and the sheriff came out, momentarily stopped the contest and warned everyone that they had to stay out of the cove or the whole event would be canceled. Everyone decided to cooperate and the contest continued as planned.
Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, Darin stuck a speedball right in front of the beach, Shane hit two Tootsie Rolls, Brad Hellerich kicked some amazing front mobes, and Dave Briscoe took the crash of the day award (and a few sore muscles) with his att

empt at a speedball. Tara Hamilton eclipsed the other girls, although Dana impressed the judges with her aggro Raley, and Nicola and Marie kicked some amazingly huge back rolls.
Once the contest ended, everyone moved over to the band shell to hear Lo Pressure, Goodies and Dharma Suns jam and await the Reef Brazil bikini contest. It could’ve been the crappy weather and impending thunderstorm, but the contest was rather weak. Not many girls showed up (Nicola definitely showed her off-water talent), and the guys’ contest bombed. When a 16-year-old can win a men’s contest, something is definitely wrong. Anyhow, the organizers managed to get in the award ceremony before the downpour, and Darin and Tara (the dynamic duo) took top honors.

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The Lake
By now most people on shore had learned that the real late-night partying was going on at the houseboats, so we hooked up with Mark Wadlinger of 416 TV for a night ride to Party Central. Skidding down the steep boat ramp, Mark unloaded his Nautique Super Sport, and 12 people piled in for the ride out. Mark was good to hang with because he had lots of copies of the video, Fluid, which he used to barter for drinks.
The houseboat crew was partying in a mellow mood, still not completely recovered from the night before – that and the fact that most had been raging all day. (What else are you going to do when the marine patrol is hassling you?) We roamed from boat to boat until finally stopping at the Blindside houseboat, where Tony Bazile was leading the crew in a “game” of lemon drops.
Several hours later we noticed the scenery outside the boats was changing. We dismissed it as after-effects until everyone realized that the whole armada of boats was now 200 yards from shore and we were adrift. (Apparently the houseboat that had been anchored pulled up and unhooked from the rest and forgot to tell everyone else). Chaos kind of took over after awhile as everyone was yelling and laughing on the C.B. radios and saying we were going to crash into shore.
We figured this would be a good time to leave.

Epilogue
Despite the crappy weather and the stupidly insane restrictions, the wakeboarding stoke kept Boardstock alive (barely). Many were disappointed, but if this event proves anything, it shows that no matter how hard you plan, things can always get screwed up. Thanks to all the people who came and made the best of a bad situation. See you at Boardstock West for what will probably become known as the “real” Boardstock.
Once the contest got under way, things were going OK until the people in the houseboats began to motor in to get a better view (since they were at least a half-mile away). They were told continually by the water park security to stay out of the cove, and in retaliation they began launching water balloons at the security crew. After a while it got a little crazy, and the sheriff came out, momentarily stopped the contest and warned everyone that they had to stay out of the cove or the whole event would be canceled. Everyone decided to cooperate and the contest continued as planned.
Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, Darin stuck a speedball right in front of the beach, Shane hit two Tootsie Rolls, Brad Hellerich kicked some amazing front mobes, and Dave Briscoe took the crash of the day award (and a few sore muscles) with his attempt at a speedball. Tara Hamilton eclipsed the other girls, although Dana impressed the judges with her aggro Raley, and Nicola and Marie kicked some amazingly huge back rolls.
Once the contest ended, everyone moved over to the band shell to hear Lo Pressure, Goodies and Dharma Suns jam and await the Reef Brazil bikini contest. It could’ve been the crappy weather and impending thunderstorm, but the contest was rather weak. Not many girls showed up (Nicola definitely showed her off-water talent), and the guys’ contest bombed. When a 16-year-old can win a men’s contest, something is definitely wrong. Anyhow, the organizers managed to get in the award ceremony before the downpour, and Darin and Tara (the dynamic duo) took top honors.

The Lake
By now most people on shore had learned that the real late-night partying was going on at the houseboats, so we hooked up with Mark Wadlinger of 416 TV for a night ride to Party Central. Skidding down the steep boat ramp, Mark unloaded his Nautique Super Sport, and 12 people piled in for the ride out. Mark was good to hang with because he had lots of copies of the video, Fluid, which he used to barter for drinks.
The houseboat crew was partying in a mellow mood, still not completely recovered from the night before – that and the fact that most had been raging all day. (What else are you going to do when the marine patrol is hassling you?) We roamed from boat to boat until finally stopping at the Blindside houseboat, where Tony Bazile was leading the crew in a “game” of lemon drops.
Several hours later we noticed the scenery outside the boats was changing. We dismissed it as after-effects until everyone realized that the whole armada of boats was now 200 yards from shore and we were adrift. (Apparently the houseboat that had been anchored pulled up and unhooked from the rest and forgot to tell everyone else). Chaos kind of took over after awhile as everyone was yelling and laughing on the C.B. radios and saying we were going to crash into shore.
We figured this would be a good time to leave.

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Epilogue
Despite the crappy weather and the stupidly insane restrictions, the wakeboarding stoke kept Boardstock alive (barely). Many were disappointed, but if this event proves anything, it shows that no matter how hard you plan, things can always get screwed up. Thanks to all the people who came and made the best of a bad situation. See you at Boardstock West for what will probably become known as the “real” Boardstock.

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