I first heard those words in 1996 while watching HIT IT! for the first time. Spoken by none other than one of my heroes, Erich Schmaltz, those words have stayed with me throughout my wakeboarding years. I've repeated that phrase numerous times in my life, to the point that it has really become a mantra. "Its cold... But it's worth it..." - that really encapsulates a mentality, a mindset, a way of thinking and acting. It's a simple phrase, but it's one that holds power and motivation. It speaks of sacrifice and hardwork. Ok, I may be going a little overboard, but I can't help it. This phrase has stuck with me through the years. And it's in part due to this phrase that I've been motivated to go ride in these cold winter months.
Lately I've been trying to get out, although with little success. The last time I rode was when I took a trip by myself up to the ski ranch. But today was different. Much to my delight, my dad and I threw our '98 Air Nautique in the water for some wintertime riding. I'm a total wuss when it comes to cold water and my drysuit is out of commission at the moment, but I've been itching so bad to ride and nothing was going to stop me. My God, it's Texas; it can't be that cold. So, I threw on a neoprene top and some neoprene shorts under my boardshorts, grabbed my skate, and jumped in the boat. We cruised out to one of my favorite riding spots, and thankfully the water was smooth. I tentatively jumped in and as the frigid water surrounded my body, there was no place I would have rather been.
After a few falls my body had gone numb and the cold water was just an afterthought to the awesome session I was having. I was riding well, surprisingly well considering I hadn't ridden much lately. But that's not why it was a great time. It was great simply because I was out there behind the boat, riding on one of my favorite lakes, doing what I love to do. It was awesome, absolutely awesome. And I haven't been this stoked, not just to ride but on life, in a long time. The whole time I was wearing a genuine smile. And it didn't matter if I was falling or riding away clean, it was all good. By the time I was done I couldn't have been happier. When I got in the boat I was cold, numb, and sore - and that's the best I've felt in a long time. I'm hoping to go again tomorrow and have the time of my life.
So, the moral to this story? Big or small, there's always sacrifice to be made in order to get what you want. So if you're not out there riding already, grab yourself a wetsuit or drysuit and get out on the water. Oh, and never forget those immortal words from Schmaltz.