TeamTige Wakeboarder Erik Ruck lets you in on his personal persective of the do's and dont's when it comes to boating, and how to always have a good time on the water.
NEVER SHOW UP WITHOUT GAS OR CASH
With today's ever-rising gas prices, if you show up to ride without gas or cash, you better expect to be left on the dock. It's sad it has come to this, but no one likes a freeloader, and filling up a gas tank nowadays can get expensive fast. So don't become the guy who no one wants on the boat because he's a cheapskate. If it's really been a tough week and you just can't pull together that $20 for gas, ask your buddies what other ways you can contribute. After all, boats need cleaning and lawns need mowing-- all it takes is a little ingenuity.
DON'T SPORT SHOES ON THE BOAT
Think of it as the golden rule of boating: Treat other people's stuff as if it were your own. Nothing is worse than watching some jerk with dirty shoes step into your just-detailed, freshly wiped-down boat, putting footprints all over the gunnels and seats. Everyone has watched it happen, and you can just see the boat owner cringe as his prize possession gets violated. You have to respect everyone's property, especially when someone spent a lot of his own money so you can have a good time and go riding. It doesn't end with shoes, either. A lot goes into proper boat maintenance, and one of the best ways to ensure you're invited back is to help wipe down and cover your buddy's boat after a session.
DON'T THROW A TANTRUM IF YOU CAN'T LAND YOUR TANTRUM
Trust me, I know learning new tricks can be very frustrating, especially if it's a trick you've landed once or twice before but now you seem to have lost it. It's happened to me hundreds of times, but I have to say there's nothing worse than watching someone bail on a trick over and over then having to hear about it on the boat. That's one way to become an instant buzz kill and spoil a beautiful day on the lake. You have to take it all in stride. If a trick is giving you trouble, take a break from it and move on. Take your mind off of it for a while so you can relax, because riding angry never turns out well. To ride your best, you have to clear your mind, get in the zone, and feel the force. No one rides well when the dark side is clouding his senses. Plus, no one wants to look like a baby!
DON'T FORGET TO HAVE FUN
Wakeboarding should be fun. After all, that's why we all started riding in the first place, and even the pros had that first pull when they realized this was what they wanted to do. From the very beginning, wakeboarding was freedom -- something to get lost in and a way to express yourself with your own style. Trust me, I've been lost ever since my first set, but in a good way. Today, the level of riding is so high and there are so many different kinds of wakeboarding, it can sometimes be hard to look at it from that simple perspective of just having fun. But if you really pay attention to the guys who progressed the most over the last decade, you'll realize they are the same guys who are having the most fun! So don't focus on landing a new trick to the exclusion of a good time. I know from experience: Progression and fun go hand in hand.
DON'T CARE IF IT'S CONSIDERED COOL
One of the fastest ways to ruin a good time is to worry about what other people think instead of simply focusing on what you find fun. Wakeboarding has been influenced by a bunch of other sports, from water skiing and surfing to snowboarding and skateboarding, and I say embrace them all. After all, there's more than one way to have fun on the water. Wakesurfing is growing fast because it's fun, and we all need a break from straight waking every once in a while. Barefooting is straight-up old-school fun. Back when I was a kid in Wisconsin, if you could kick a ski you were all right with me. All of the baddest dudes barefooted and still do. Have you seen Parks Bonifay barefoot? Of course you have-- He's a legend. So don't worry about what is considered core or cool because cool is only how much fun you're having!