Ahh Sunday morning coming down….It’s a great day in cottage land everybody !!! The sun is up and the lake is calm, and the temperature is on the rise. The only ripple on the lake is the one made by a loon who is swimming around looking for his breakfast. If today is anything like yesterday, he better grab something from the takeout menu, because in an hour or so this lake is going to be hopping with boats, jet skis, and even my pontoon boat.
There will be kids laughing and shouting as they are towed around in circles on the lake in the latest rubber float tube, groups of people cruising by on party boats, their stereo laying down the latest rapper’s lyrics from speakers bigger than the outboard motor powering the boat, their glasses clinking as they slurp down a cherry raspberry flavored alcoholic refreshment, young fellas on jet skis cutting di-does ripping up the calm waters like a drunken surgeon’s scalpel through skin and in the middle of it all, will be me, in my pontoon boat, smiling like I just won a million dollars and gave it all away.
The one thing you probably won’t see is a water skier. It seems, at least around here, that water skiing is a lost art. Sure, there are lots of rubber float tubes in various designs, but skiers seem to be in short supply. I cannot help but wonder why. At one time, seeing a water skier was not all that uncommon. Granted, there weren’t a lot of them, and you usually knew who it was, but that was when you knew everyone and every boat on the lake anyway. We had a few water ski enthusiasts who could really work it. One young fella, a friend of mine, went from one end of the lake to the other on one ski, a distance of about 20 miles, and he did it several times.
Wind surfer’s have also been missing of late. Not that many years ago, it was not unusual to see a couple of wind surfers doing their thing out in the middle of the lake on a good windy day, honing their skills, laying over to the side, pulling their sails against the wind and yes, even occasionally falling over into the water.
They were such wind surfing enthusiasts that they wore wet suits to combat cold weather and lengthen their season, and when the weather forecast called for a high winds or a hurricane, those guys eyes would get glaze over and they would immediately start waxing their wind surfer boards and sewing the rips in their sails in preparation. I haven’t seen a wind surfer go by in a long time, I wonder what happened to them?
Not to get to philisophical on ya, but you know me, it seems to me that the lake and the water activities are a mirror of life today. Folks want instant gratification and they want it instantly. Learning to water ski, to the extent that you can drop one ski and keep skiing to the end of the lake and back, requires muscle, and practice and skill.
Heading out on the lake in winds just a few kilometers per hour short of a hurricane, takes skill and courage, and perhaps undiagnosed dementia. I tried standing up holding the sail on a wind surfer a couple of times, it’s hard work, and frustrating getting back up off the lawn after you keep falling over. (I didn’t say I tried it in the water)
There’s no doubt, it’s a lot easier sit in a rubber float tube and let someone pull you around the lake. Don’t get me wrong, that can be hard work too, particularly if the boat is big and fast and the lake is windy and the water rough, your insides will take quite a pounding, not to mention it can be difficult to hold on, especially if the driver of the boat looks like this:
But on the other hand, what are you learning? It doesn’t take much more than a good grip to hold on to a bouncing rubber float tube, certainly not what is required to hang on to a ski rope handle and lean way over in the turns, brushing the water with your other hand. Nor is a ski tube as much pretty as cutting through the calm water on one ski on a morning like this one, with your own reflection looking back at you as you lean into the curve and smile.
Today’s jet ski machines, essentially a snowmobile for the water, are probably as close as you can come to the water ski feeling, at even higher speeds. It’s a similar feeling as the jet ski cuts through the water and you can lean over and it does take some upper body strength to hold on, but to my way of thinking, it just isn’t the same. I think just about anyone could run a jet ski, but not just anyone can drop one ski and water ski 20 miles.
Come to think of it, I have a pair of water skis out in the boat shed, up overhead on the rafters, I think I’ve got my ski rope tied to the wharf and my neoprene life jacket still fits if I duct tape it around the middle…..
© 2011 – 2012, Rob Dares. All rights reserved. Cottager Online/The Cottage Chronicles / Rob Dares material is copyrighted, please contact me if you wish to inquire about reposting etc All prices quoted for products are subject to change, customer is responsible to confirm price with seller.