Backside roll. Frontside roll. Backside roll-to-revert. Frontside roll-to-revert. Half-cab roll. Tantrum. Indy tantrum off the double up. Front flip. Raley.
I know what you’re thinking. What do these tricks have to do with the chick in these photos? Well, let me introduce you to 15-year-old Tara Hamilton. In her four measly months on the water she’s managed to do something no other girl has – go insanely big. I mean no offense to the other girls out there doing the sport justice, but believe me when I tell you Tara’s backside roll is as big as Homan’s, her tantrum is as smooth as Murray’s, and her front flip has Kovak’s technicality. Of course, it could be that her mentor and training partner is Darin Shapiro. I’m sure that helps, but think about it – four months on the water. Before that she wasn’t a trick skier, she wasn’t a slalom skier, she wasn’t really anything. She was like (is like) any other high-school tomboy: doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that. She’s dabbled in gymnastics, soccer, softball, all the requisite sports, but right now she has the most fun hanging out with her guy friends Rollerblading late into the evening. That, and wakeboarding.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t as if Tara never stood up on a pair of skis in her life. Both her parents, Tom and Nancy Hamilton, are active skiers and Tara’s had her fair share of water time on combos, kneeboards, slaloms and tubes. The usual weekend family routine, but it never really clicked for her. That is, until now.
It started out one day in September at Tommy’s Slalom, Surf and Guitar shop in Lantana, FL where Tara and Nancy had stopped by to do some shopping. Darin Shapiro just happened to be hanging around, and like any good little-league mom, Nancy asked Darin if Tara could come out for a set. Darin laughs as he tells me the story. “She didn’t even want to come out. She was totally embarrassed that her mom even asked, but she showed up. And once she was on the water she was hooked.”
And Darin was floored. “She’s a natural,” he continues. “The first day she was clearing both wakes and by the end of the week she was pulling big grabs. The thing about Tara is she isn’t afraid to go for it. Today she knocked herself out trying scarecrows. Literally knocked herself unconscious. But while we were at the hospital getting stitches for the huge gash on her chin, she was already asking the doctor when she could ride again. The girl’s unreal.”
With talent like that, you can expect to see this girl go far. Hyperlite and Body Glove already have signed her, and it’ll only be months before she’s plastered all over the videos, magazines and ads. But for right now, she’s just an anonymous ninth-grader at Lake Worth Christian who’s got more raw potential than any female or male wakeboarder I’ve ever seen, not to mention the best coach in the world.