I have always wanted to try wakeboarding. Having a background in surfing/skateboard/skimboard/longboarding, I wanted to add another board sport on my list.
Pradera Wakepark is a 1-2 hours drive from Metro Manila. Located in Brgy. Prado Siongco, Lubao, Pampanga, Philippines with 3 beginner lakes and 2 starting docks at the main lake that could cater hundreds of wakeboarders. The park also have 100 rooms that could accommodate anyone who wants to stay for the night.
It was a day before my birthday when my brother Bryan and our friend Rob decided to go wakeboarding. We left Manila around 7am and arrived at the park at around 9:30am. The weather was really nice as it wasn’t that sunny and the heat wasn’t really that scorching. After having our names registered and getting our gear at the front desk, we then hopped on to a cart that would take us to where we wanted to go. We started off at the P3 Lake for beginners. We met with the operators/coaches Brian and Rick and couple more people that we’re already there ahead of us. The good thing about our time there was, there wasn’t that much people even though is was a sunday. Watched a few people ride before I have a shot at it like I always do whenever I do something new. They made it look easy, but it really wasn’t. When my time came, I slipped my feet on the board and grabbed the rope. Brian told me to just lay back and keep my left foot flat and just hold the rope firm. He already had an idea that I venture in other board sports so he wanted to see first what I can do before he coaches me.
The line started to pull very slowly. I can feel it going faster and faster before it really dragged me away from the dock. As I try to stand up It felt like I didn’t have the right form, thus a major WIPEOUT. It was a different feel from when I get wiped out while surfing. My body got stretched out because of the drag and the splash was really hard. As I swam back out of the water, I put the board underneath me as if I was paddling out with a surfboard (really helped me get out faster). A few more tries and a couple more wipeouts, I finally got the right form and was able to at least get midway of the Lake. Before Lunch break I even got to the end part before the turn, but still didn’t know how to do it so I splashed out again.
It was 12:30pm when Brian told us that they have to take a lunch break and close the lake for an hour. It was the right time to goof around and jump in the water. Bryan and Rob joined me while we wait for a cart to pick us up and take us to the restaurant to grab lunch. I told Rob that I wanted to get a feel of the pull at the Main Lake. Rick heard me and offered to have me try it there at P3. Without a helmet and a lifevest, I grabbed a board and got the rope. He Asked me if I was ready, I told him “Just go!”. He pressed the button and the line started to pull. Did a Jump start, landed perfectly on the water then BOOM! Felt the pull really hard, it was like getting pulled by a speeding jet before splashing in the water. Felt like my body was stretched out all over the place and my face hit by a wall because of the splash. As I finally got some air, I started to laugh and asked them “Are you guys sure that’s how hard the pull at the main lake is?”, they all just started laughing with me.
The cart finally came to pick us up, we grabbed our stuff and drove off to grab some lunch. We passed by the main lake, and man was it huge. After lunch, Rob asked me if I wanted to try it out. At first I was hesitant. He went on to the starting dock to talk to his friend that was also in the park. As I watch him prepare for take off, I felt the itch to join in. Rushed to dock and grabbed a board. A pro wakeboarder (C lo) who was in the dock preparing his gear told me to go on ahead of him and gave me a couple of tips. As I watched all the pros make it look easy, the operator handed me a rope and told me “Okay you’re turn on the next one”, the rope started to pull, did a jump start and landed nicely. After 3-4 seconds just before I got the feel of the drag, I miscalculated my balance and fell sideways. It wasn’t that hard of a pull like Rick said, but the hard part was after take off and landing I had to turn a bit just to get a decent ride which I still had to practice. A couple more tries and I decided to head back to the beginner lake to practice. It was like a de javu’, I knew that I dreamt about that moment some time in the past (HAHAHA!).
Once back at P3, Brian was waiting for us. He immediately told us to grab a board and get on the next one. I went in first, did a jump start and to my surprise, I got around the lake! (lucky bastard). The smile I had on my face was like the one I had when I passed my board exams. After a few more rides I finally got the hang of it. Got a lot of decent rides (not saying it was perfect, but it was decent). Just before the park closes I even got a chance to do couple of one handed rides and 4 straight rounds on the lake with just little stops on the turns.
It was about 5 in the afternoon and the park was about to close when I decided it was time to call it a day. While waiting for a cart to take us back at the registration office, Rick decided to show off. He slipped on a board and just went for it. He was really good, gliding and doing all those aerials. He rode off without even getting his hair wet.
As we prepared ourselves for our drive back to manila, I told Rob and Bryan “We should have done this a long time ago”. I have always thought of wakeboarding as an alternative whenever the flat season comes. And now I finally did it, and I think this sport will be another way for me to get wet and all pumped up.
Will definitely add this to my go to list whenever I have my days off at work. My body is currently sore but it’s all worth it!