The hottest sport on water

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 6, 2001

Matt Levorson signals the driver that he’s ready.

Friday, July 06, 2001

Matt Levorson signals the driver that he’s ready.

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He and the board rise out of the water, and soon he’s twisting, turning and riding the wake spewed by the fast-moving boat. He begins jumping the waves, then flips over them, landing on his feet.

Levorson, of Albert Lea, is in his seventh year of wake boarding. He got a board and rode it for a year and a half. Then when his family was vacationing in Florida, he asked about ski schools.

He was told about the Bonifay Ski School, which is run by two brothers. He took a day session there, learning some basic jumps. In 1998, he went back for a week-long course to learn some of the more difficult moves. His wake boarding has been incorporated into the shows of the Bayside Ski Club, of which he is a member. He’s also taught a few people locally some of the techniques.

&uot;It’s one of the hottest water sports,&uot; Levorson said. &uot;People are really getting into extreme sports because they can be difficult – on the edge.&uot;

He said people who try it simply get hooked. He now snow boards as well. &uot;One is cross-training for the other. It’s like being able to ride a board all year long.

&uot;There’s not really a point where you can’t go any farther. It’s so new, so different that anyone who practices and is serious can be good,&uot; he said.

The sport is easy to learn, he said, although learning to go sideways on the wake board does take some getting used to. &uot;It’s also a little bit more of an effort to get up,&uot; he said. &uot;The first year you learn so much. As soon as you get the feel of one flip, you start on the bottom with another.&uot;

Levorson, in cooperation with the Bayside Skiers, will conduct a wake board clinic on Saturday, July 14, at the Bayside ski site in Edgewater Bay. Cost for the full-day session is $30, and includes all equipment, instruction and time on the water. Concessions will be available.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and anyone under 18 needs to bring a parent to registration to sign the necessary forms.

There will be three instructors, certified boat drivers and a safety coordinator on hand. Full instruction on the differences in boards and rope lengths is included. While people are welcome to bring their own boards if they have them, demo boards are being provided by The House Snow Board Shop in the Twin Cities.

The clinic is open to all levels, ages 10 to adult, and families, from beginners on up. &uot;The sooner, the better,&uot; Levorson said. &uot;Young kids learn so fast.&uot;

To conduct the course, Levorson completed training through the U.S.A. Waterski Association to become certified. The course covered two-ski, slalom, trick skiing, beginning barefoot, wake boarding, water toys, boat driving and first aid. He is currently a student at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato.

&uot;I want to reach out out to people on how to do it safely,&uot; Levorson said. &uot;I want people to do it the right way so they don’t get hurt.&uot;

The clinic is limited to 20 participants. To register or for more information, call Levorson at 377-1244.