From the day I saw my cousin, Mike waterskiing, I started looking for ways to get on the water myself. Around this period, I could not get access to a boat with higher horsepower engine and speed, so I had to settle for the average speed fishing boats around me. I particularly had access to my father’s pontoon boat, and he is always happy to handle it over to me, my sister and friends whenever we wish to have fun on water; although with thorough supervision, because many of us were still underage. He had to upgrade the boat’s engine when he found out I was going to try out skiing.
It was that time I knew I wouldn’t be able to ski freely and successfully with an ordinary pontoon boat engine, because of its limited speed.
My father went to the local marine market and got me some ski and swimsuit to aid the whole process because he was really interested in seeing me on the water, engaging myself and maybe get up to the competition level.
All were set, and my father was prepared to help me with my first skiing experience until he got a call he could not resist and had to make a run. The day was a usual guests’ free day around the lake, so it was important I have it that day because I was obviously avoiding being seen or mocked while I try to start my career in skiing. I wouldn’t let myself down with the setback I got from my dad’s impromptu call. This made me sought for an alternative by calling on my cousin to come over to replace my dad driving the pontoon.
He was more than happy to help out as he drove down to our place almost immediately. My younger sister offered to be my watchman even though my cousin, Mike was going to perform both functions of the driver and the watchman. I was particularly happy to have him around because of his experience in skiing, and I believe he was going to get me on the run easily and faster than my dad would.
Getting to the lake at a close-by jetty where my dad’s pontoon boat was kept, Mike laughed sighting the boat. “Don’t tell me you want to ski with a pontoon” he exclaimed. ”Well, I don’t know what you mean, but this is the only boat I could lay my hand on,“ I replied.
“Don’t get me wrong, this is a good boat for fishing and relaxing maybe, but it’s definitely not for skiing” he affirmed. “I still don’t get it, and I must ski today you know.”
“You will ski bro, but not with this. Her speed cannot even get you started to talk less of keeping you on water”.
“Oh, your reason is based on the speed of the boat?” I asked. “Yes, don’t you know you need reasonable speed to ski, especially on a gentle lake like this?”
“I think my dad has settled that” I continued. “Settled how?” he asked curiously. ”Well, he has upgraded the boat’s engine,” I said happily. ”Are you serious? Let’s get started then” he said as he jumped into the pontoon boat while my sister, Amanda, followed him. He started the engine and cruised the boat for like a minute or two before coming back to where I was watching like a fan and asked “are you ready?” .”I can never be more ready!” I exclaimed as the boat engine was coming down.
He got down from the boat and helped me to put on the skis before he helped me into the boat as we sailed down into the middle. Like a good instructor he is, he gave me some quick lectures and tips on how to get up when the boat pulls the tension in the string. He also asked me to shout “hit it” whenever I’m ready to move, and I was to be communicating with him and Amanda with signs throughout the session. I stored everything he said on my head like a good student and jumped into the water. Boom! I was ready for my first skiing experience.
In the water, some meters away from the boat, I struggled to be upright because I was not used to having the swimsuit and the ski on while in the water. I pictured myself watching some of the skiing competition and tried to remember how they started. My sister and
Mike were looking at me with keen interest as I struggled to get a well-balanced position. It was as if I had never swum before as the water starts to get colder and deeper. Even though the boat engine was still at rest, I started hearing splash sounds as if a big animal is disturbing the lake from one side. I shouted out to my cousin, ”can you hear that?” and he replied, “hear what?”
“That sound,” I said, ”seems something is inside the water.” “Something like a shark?” he said jokingly because we all knew there’s no way a shark could have gotten into the lake. ”Get yourself up man; we are the only one in the water. Whatever you are hearing is from your head” he shouted.
I thought about it and agreed I was getting unnecessarily scared. I decided to make a goal at it once and for all, but as I was going to shout “hit it,” I felt a colder skin around my legs and looking down into the water; I discovered it was a snake. I struggled to unwrap myself, and I was almost drowning before Mike lifted my body up. “Common bro, she wasn’t going to hurt you. She was going her way” he said.
”How could you tell”? I asked. “I could see you bro; she left almost immediately she got to you. You are too scared of this, and I don’t know why. You are a swimmer right?”
“Yes,” I answered affirmatively. ”Then get hold of yourself and let’s do this,” he said like a football coach trying to boost his players’ morale.
He left me in the water and signaled to me that I could do it. I put myself up and shouted, ”hit it!” while Amanda replied, “Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.” The boat started to move as I held on to the rope. The first few minutes of the experience saw me bouncing up and down on the water trying to catch my breath. It came to a time I thought I had gotten the proper position, and yes I was until I ecstatically let go of the rope and was disconnected from the boat.
It took Amanda and Mike up to a minute before they discovered I wasn’t with them again and drove the boat back to where I was. I apologized and told them it slipped off, but Mike wasn’t interested in my sermons and instead handed over the rope back to me and quickly prepare the boat to move again.
I looked up to the creeks and saw my Dad accompanied with my Mum, waving at us, and this gave me emotional confidence. It felt once again like the day my parents watched me play competitive basketball for my school; it was highly emotional.
I grabbed the rope’s handle and shouted “hit it!” and Mike zoomed off the pontoon. After some seconds of struggle, trying to find a balance, I developed courage and strength to bend my body backward while pushing my legs with the skis to the front.
It first looked like I was going to fall and lose the rope again but alas! I was already free on the water skiing. After moving some distance, I heard cheers from afar off, and I knew it was from my parents even though I couldn’t see them. I continued like this for some minutes and kept communicating with Amanda and Mike Alike.
I viewed myself as being watched on the TV and thought of trying out some gymnastic-like stunt, but I quickly let go of the idea because I did not want to lose the current experience for nothing.
After successful and blissful skiing for an encouraging period, I gave Amanda a sign to stop because I was getting tired and might lose control. I came back to the jetty with Mike and Amanda to a wonderful reception from my parents and the neighbors that had joined.
I felt like a champion when one of the professional skiers of our area shook hand with me and said “the best way to be great skiing is to enjoy yourself out there, and that’s what you displayed. You were in absolute control of everything, and I tell you, you’ve got a great skiing career ahead of you if you chose to make it a big deal”.
Since my first skiing experience, I’ve found myself dishing it out on the water on several occasions, and it was during one of the sessions I met my beautiful wife whom I’m happily married to. We are happy, especially when we ski together. Skiing makes me happy, and it’s what I do whenever I am down from anything whatsoever. It is my way of healing and rebuilding.
Do what you enjoy doing, make friends in it and you’ll find yourself happy for the most part of your active life.