Bulls wakeboarding third in nation

Jack Hanson finished in first place in the Advanced category at the 2014 College Cable Championships. 
PHOTO PROVIDED BY ERIN HEYMAN

USF’s Wakeboarding Club has been named October’s Club of the Month by the USF Sports Clubs Program. After placing in the national championship, USF recognized the club and its officials for their involvement at the university.

During the weekend of Sept. 20, the WakeUSF team competed in the 2014 College Cable Championships in Little Elm, Texas against the top teams in the country.

USF’s Jack Hanson placed first in Advanced, Beau Brown placed first in Wake Skate and Erin Heyman earned third in Women’s. USF’s team finished third overall in the national competition.

“It gives me a feeling that nothing else really does. It motivates me to keep going, and it motivates me to do well in school so that I can keep doing what I love,” Hanson said.

Collegiate tournaments, which are usually held by Empire Wake, are judged by professional wakeboarders. The competition is separated into boat, cable, and wakeskate divisions. 

The boat and cable divisions consist of beginner, intermediate, advanced, and open levels, and the wakeskate division consists of beginner skim, beginner surf, advanced skim, and advanced surf levels. The cables are divided into four quadrants, and each pro judges one.

“It’s completely different, as far as how you’re being pulled and the obstacles they give you,” said Ryan Hagen, a non-competitive member of the wakeboarding club.

WakeUSF is not only a competitive team; the club’s top eight members form the competitive portion of the club, but practices are open to anyone. Heyman encourages new members to join. 

“Practice is open to everyone, from beginners to the most advanced riders who are pro or semi-pro,” Heyman said. 

Though the cost to wakeboard may worry some, club members ensure that joining is affordable. 

They only pay for the fee to enter the cable park where they practice, and the cost of transportation to get to practices and competitions.

Practice at McCormick’s Ski School and Cable Park is $22 for two hours and at the Orlando Watersports Complex, it is only $20 for three hours.

For the Collegiate Cable Competition, USF covered $1,500 of the $2,000 cost to compete, and the remaining $500 was split between team members. Equipment is provided by the parks.

Hagen and Hanson both admitted that there are not nearly as many women in competition as there are men, despite the fact that wakeboarding is a co-ed sport.

In the male-dominated sport, Heyman has seen success as President of the club. 

She placed first in Tommy’s Tournament Series’ Women’s division on September 27th, boasting a strong start to the collegiate season.

“I haven’t seen a single person who has tried wakeboarding and didn’t like it,” Hanson said. 

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