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HPU wakeboard competes

by Melissa McCracken, staff writer

   

How will you spend next Saturday? Members of the HPU Wakeboarding Club will be jumping wakes and barbecuing at Ke‘ehi Lagoon.

“Wakeboarding is easy to learn. You’ll have fun from day one,” said Club President, Roman Reznikov. Reznikov encourages beginners to try the sport.

Click on image for larger view
 

How will you spend next Saturday? Members of the HPU Wakeboarding Club will be jumping wakes and barbecuing at Ke‘ehi Lagoon.

“Wakeboarding is easy to learn. You’ll have fun from day one,” said Club President, Roman Reznikov. Reznikov encourages beginners to try the sport.

Click on image for larger view

 

The club has its own professional wakeboard instructor, Ron Leciejewski, a former HPU student. So far the club has a 100 percent “up rate” which means all new riders have successfully gotten up on their wakeboards in the first day.

Wakeboarding is a water sport in which riders are towed behind a boat while riding a single fat ski like a snowboard. Riders wear specially made shoes or bindings that screw onto the board so they can flip and slide without losing it. The goal of wakeboarding is to use the wake created by the boat to turn, flip, grab the board, or perform a combination of these.

There are different lengths of boards which are measured in centimeters. Adults generally use boards 128 cm to 142 cm. There is no front or back to a wakeboard. The front is determined by whichever foot rides facing the boat. Boards are either finned or finless. Finless boards have ridges running across the length of the underside and are preferred by riders who like to slide across the water. Finned boards have the same shark-fin-shaped fin at each end of the underside, to help the rider catch air.

The club has digital and video cameras on the boat to record rides. Watching videos of themselves can help riders improve their skill and applaud their accomplishments.

If wakeboarding is not your thing the club also has innertubes and a wakeskate board (which has no bindings).

Reznikov said, usually four to ten students come out on weekends and if there are too many to fit on the boat, they just make extra trips. The only expenses are food and gas, which are divided up among the members. “We’re looking into some fundraisers [to cover gas and additional equipment].” said Reznikov. A full range of binding sizes and boards, for example, are needed for safety.

To help promote the club, they have put together a Website with photos, contact information, beginner basics, and a short video clip, although it is 22 minutes to download with a dial-up service it is only 45 seconds with broadband.

The HPU Wakeboarding Club did not participate in its usual Saturday wakeboarding activities on Oct. 19, but instead, attended the Hawai‘i Wakeboard Pro/Am State Finals (HWPA) to support club president Roman Reznikov, who competed.

The HWPA is a quarterly competition held at Ke’ehi Lagoon and hosted by RNR Surf & Ski of Kaneohe. The event had nine categories: Boys/Girls (13 and under), Juniors (14-18), Womens, Mens I (19-23), Mens II (24-29), Masters (30-39), Veterans (over 40), Outlaw (advanced), and Wakeskate. Competitors were scored on intensity, or how aggressive they were, composition; or how they mixed their tricks, a broad repertoire is better than throwing one difficult trick repeatedly; and execution; or how well the tricks were performed and landed. Judges also looked for riders who were having a good time and smiling.

Competitors were allowed two falls or 3,000 feet of ride time before their turn was over. Reznikov said, “Do what you know you can do and try something crazy at the end of your run.” Judges sat in the tow boat to get a better view of the wakeboarders while spectators and other competitors watched from the two-story clubhouse on the lagoon shore.

The day began with a short speech by RNR co-owners Lance Burg and Reid Shimabukuro who announced the rules of the competition and how the scoring. Burg summed it up for the small audience by saying, “It’s grassroots; it’s all about having fun.”

An awards ceremony followed the competition. All the riders received small prizes such as shirts and CD cases. Those who placed in the top three of each category received trophies.

Competitor Anthony Pieroni said, “It was an awesome experience. I was a little nervous because I never had an audience before, but the water was like glass and the wake was huge.”

During the day’s events, the HPU Wakeboarding Club held a barbeque and listened to music while watching the competitors from the shore. “I came out here with my friends, to see Roman [compete],” said club member Dima Ksendzovsky. “We’re here for moral support and to contribute to the atmosphere,” added club member David Stuica.

Reznikov placed 5th in his division, Mens II. “I’ve got to practice for next time, I wanted to win this thing.” said Reznikov.

The next HWPA event will be held Jan 25 at Ke‘ehi Lagoon, the official competition site. It is also the home of the O’ahu Water-ski Club, an organization that keeps members linked and informed of events, weather, and advances in water-ski and wakeboarding laws and rules.

The HPU Wakeboarding Club continues to ride every Saturday, the cost is minimal and Reznikov encourages all levels of riders to come out and try. To participate, sign up on the Web site www.coolwake.com.

 

 

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