I recently posted a picture of my backyard taken at sunset on my blog, www.derekgrasman.com. The post was called “My Paradise.” That got me thinking. Why is it that when anyone thinks of paradise almost always the first thing that pops into your head is one of those screensaver-type islands located somewhere in the Pacific Ocean that most of us will never actually get anywhere near? How can this be our paradise?
I think paradise is all in the eye of the beholder. Each person has his own idea of paradise depending on who he is. If you are a surfer, your paradise could be some closed-off break in the middle of nowhere where you can surf all day with your friends and never see another soul paddle out. If you’re a snowboarder, your paradise might be somewhere up in Alaska or Jackson Hole. As wakeboarders, our paradise could really be anywhere as long as there is flat water and enough room to maybe drive some double-ups on each end. That’s one of the greatest things about wakeboarding — you can do it almost anywhere. You don’t need a mountain to ride down or a wave to push you, and you can ride whether it’s freezing cold or ridiculously hot (one is obviously better than the other, but still). As a wakeboarder, your paradise can really be anywhere. Florida, California, New England, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, Kentucky, Sydney, Tokyo, Rio De Janeiro, Brisbane or anywhere else in the world where someone is able to ride a wakeboard.
In all reality though, most of us will never get to ride in that many places outside of our backyard or local riding spot. But that’s ok. In fact, that’s my main point. I think to most wakeboarders their local spot is actually their paradise. It’s a place where they are able to get away. Get away from all the things that are going on in their minds. It doesn’t matter what it is — riding a wakeboard can get your mind off of it. And when you get a chance to ride in a place where you are comfortable and all the factors are there, you have a greater chance for progression.
Times are changing though. More and more, people are getting the opportunity to ride somewhere other than their backyard spot. Now, people have begun manufacturing wakeboarding paradises. There have been cable parks in the United States for a decade, but I don’t think it was until recently that cable parks began truly trying to cater completely to the riders. They are building massive complexes in which they not only have a lake filled with amazing obstacles but also have restaurants and bars and skate parks and motocross tracks. Cable wakeboarding parks are literally becoming full action sports playgrounds. Which, if you ask me, is paradise in itself. Cable parks are allowing more people to find their wakeboarding paradise. So many people don’t have access to a boat, and cable parks allow them to ride. And thanks to their skate parks and moto tracks, cable parks also open our sport up to so many people in other action sports who normally would not give wakeboarding a chance.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, everyone has that paradise. It’s not always a place that seems impossible to reach. It could be anywhere. All you need to do is open your mind and realize that maybe it is your backyard or your local cable park. A place that if you weren’t a wakeboarder, you wouldn’t think twice about, but since you are, it is everything you could ever dream for.
What does your paradise look like? Send a pic of your wakeboarding utopia to firstname.lastname@example.org, and if we like it, we’ll add it to Derek’s post.
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