Friday, July 27, 2012
Falls on the wall
Photos courtesy of Alison Huber
Nobody is spared: Megan Huber, 13, takes a ride on a tube with her grandparents, Jackie and Jay DeWitt.
The website, Made Manual, warns first-time waterskiers that falling is part of learning to ski, which is what happened to one of the Huber family's friends.
Even the most experienced waterskiers can wipe out. Mark Huber's sister, Kathy Greiner of Cincinnati, Ohio, takes a spill while slalom skiing.
Alison Huber captured her son, Max, 10, learning to wakeboard.
Mike Lett of Stokesdale was wearing Alison Huber's trick waterskis when he wiped out nearly seven years ago.
Hundreds of photographs of wipeouts grace the wall in the Huber family's Smith Mountain Lake home.
Cue "Wipeout" by the Surfaris and get ready for some fun. If you've ever Googled the words "water-skiing wipeout pictures," you're likely to find a variety of results on YouTube and in photo galleries such as Flickr.
In their Franklin County lake home, Mark and Alison Huber have an entire wall of framed photographs devoted to waterski, tubing and wakeboard wipeouts.
On any given weekend during the summer, the Hubers have visitors who take to the water. Perched on the back of the boat, serving as a spotter and with her camera in hand, Alison captures each skier's adventures - good, bad and ugly on her digital camera.
If there's an especially good shot of the person behind the boat wiping out, the Hubers will consider it "wipeout-wall worthy." For that, the picture gets framed and posted to the wipeout wall in their home.
"Other guests will take one look at the wall and not dare to get on the tube," said Alison Huber. "One challenge is keeping up with buying frames to hold all the pictures."
The idea for the wipeout wall started about seven years ago when one of the Hubers' family friends, Mike Lett of Stokesdale, wanted to give Alison Huber's trick skis a try.
"It looked like he was praying while he was wiping out," recalled Huber.
On any given weekend when the family is out on the boat, Alison Huber said she'll snap about 400-500 pictures. There was the one of Alison's 75-year-old father on a tube popping up in the air; Mark's sister, Kathy, an avid skier, taking an unusual spill on skis; and their kids, son Max, 10, and daughter Megan, 13, who are just learning to wakeboard.
Fortunately, none of these wipeouts has been serious; the Hubers are well-versed in all aspects of safe boating. While falls can't be prevented, the Hubers always take precautions with each person who is pulled behind their boat.
"My husband has taken all the boaters' [safety] courses, and we always stop the boat if Jet Skis or other boats get close," said Alison.
In seven years of taking pictures, the Hubers have had only one rider who needed medical attention, for a dislocated shoulder.
"All riders must wear life jackets, and we go over hand signals for faster, slower and stop," Alison added.
According to the website Made Manual (mademan.com), "While water skiing, it is important that you avoid water-skiing injuries. It is easy to injure yourself while water-skiing because you are hitting the water at a fast speed and you also have the potential to hit objects in the water."
By being vigilant about safety, it's possible to still have fun on the water whether ending up on the Hubers' wipeout wall or not.
"It's almost a joke whether they can get on the wipeout wall or not," said Alison.