Saturday, May 01, 2010
The sport usually is associated with teenagers and 20-somethings, but one group of SML seniors is challenging that stereotype.
"In the beginning, the intent really wasn't to start a club, it was just to get a group of guys together who enjoyed going out to wakeboard in the evenings," said Bo King, 63, who, along with fellow enthusiast Jerry Hale, started inviting 55-year-old-plus men to learn to wakeboard in 2008. "We both loved to wakeboard so much, and we just thought it would be nice to get other people our age interested."
An unofficial club was born.
"It just kind of evolved, and we got more and more guys," King said. "We just decided, hey, why don't we just call ourselves the Crusty Boarders?"
The group has grown to about 20 with a half-dozen or more members showing up for weekly rides mid-May through September. "Crusties" who own wakeboard boats take turns hosting with each rider chipping in $10 per outing to help offset the cost of gas and snacks.
The group is open to anyone with an interest in wakeboarding, though availability of towboats limits how many riders can participate on any given outing.
"We're always happy to teach brand new people how to wakeboard," King said. "We're very patient, and there's no intimidation factor. Last year, we probably taught four or five people who had never wakeboarded before how to get up and going. We take great pride in that and in getting them interested in the sport."
Union Hall's Ken Ralph, 63, and a veteran slalom water-skiier, was one of the group's original riders. He had tried wakeboarding a few times before and found it easier than water-skiing. But being a Crusty Boarder is about more than just the rides, Ralph said.
"I think it's the camaraderie more than anything else," he said. "We'll ride for a few hours then spend an hour or so on the dock chewing the fat, talking about wakeboarding or whatever.
"Most of us are in our 60s. There's a few in their 50s and even some in their 70s. We just enjoy getting together,talking and teaching each other new tricks. You're never too old to try. It's just a lot of fun. I plan on doing it for another 20 years if I can."
The Crusty Boarders so far has been an all-male group, but King said he hoped that would change this season.Members have extended an invitation to Linda Brown, a 64-year-old SML resident who recently was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest competitive wakeboarder.
"We'd love to have her join us,"King said. "Women are certainly welcome."
For more information on the Crusty Boarders, contact Bo King (540.721.3656) or Jerry Hale (540.721.7222).