How to Avoid Stupid

wakeboarding safety
How to Avoid StupidIllustration: Victor Davila

Last year we posted a video to our Facebook page that went viral. The video was of a wakeboarder who whipped into a dock to catch a drink from his buddy and, distracted by the process of catching said drink, didn’t notice the large wooden pole that he was quickly approaching. He slammed into the pole going about 20 miles per hour. Fortunately for our idiotic friend here, he was wearing a thick life vest that lessened the impact on his ribs — slightly. But best believe he was hurting for a long time after this one. If he would have hit the pole any harder or with a different part of his body, it could’ve been lights out. We’re thankful the story doesn’t end like that.

It should go without saying that nobody should ever attempt something like the guy in that video. Simply put, that was stupid. (I’d use more colorful language because that’s what it really deserves, but my publisher told me I had to keep this PG.) Stationary objects such as poles, docks, buoys, other watercraft and even floating debris should be avoided at all costs. Don’t be that guy (or girl) trying to impress your friends by jibbing the tree on the bank, high-speed whipping into a dock or ollie-ing that one “No Wake” buoy. Chances are you’ll be fine, but all it takes is one little mistake to rack up a hefty medical bill and say goodbye to wakeboarding forever. Not only will you be physically in pain but your dignity will be hurting too.

If you’re riding, steer clear of the shoreline, shallow water and anything in your path. Look ahead to ensure an unobstructed landing zone before cutting in for a wake jump. And if you’re the captain of the boat, it’s up to you to avoid dangerous areas with obstacles in the water. Too many people have been injured by not using their best judgment — don’t be one of them. Use your head, and be safe out there.