Nick and Julz Wake School Invaded by reckless Midwest Militia crew
At our final event of the 2005 season, "Fall Fallout", Midwest Militia gave away a four day trip to team Red Bull riders Nick and Julz Heaney's wake school in Orlando, FL to four lucky winners. Contestants had to fill out a short questionnaire and write a paragraph on why they thought they should win the trip. The winners chosen we're David Clayton, Jeremiah Johnson, Beth Kalin and Melissa Wahlberg. Mark, Tim and Neil, the organizers of Midwest Militia we're also along for the ride.
Two years ago Nick and Julz we're flown into Illinois to spend the weekend at one of our events. Everybody was impressed with their overall attitude, patience and dedication to the sport. They we're enlightened to be back at a grass root style event and just get out and ride and hang out and have some fun. We've kept good relations with Nick and Julz and ourselves as well as the winners of the contest we're grateful to be flown down to Orlando and crash their lake house.
It all started Friday; when we arrived Nick picked us up from the airport in his Expedition, with the Euro Techno music thumping we crammed 8 people 9 wakeboards and luggage into and on top of his ride and headed to their Lake House. Once we arrived we were greeted by some friendly English folks that we're staying there, one of them being Hamish Low, who is training to charge the Pro Tour in 2006. We got settled in and no sooner than we could change into our board shorts we're out on the X-Star to get some riding in. Everybody took a quick set so they could get a feel for everyone's riding style, we we're all pretty rusty from being cooped up in the house thanks to another Illinois Winter. It was getting close to dark and Nick decided to take a set - one of his first ones back since a shoulder injury from a snowboard trip, needless to say it didn't look like he missed a beat, he hopped out of the water and onto the back of the boat, "just another day at the office". As the sun went down and darkness approached Hamish took a set and wowed us all with his ability, he was throwing down all his tricksin the dark. Once we all got in and cleaned up it was off to eat and then we experienced a little, ok a lot, of downtown Orlando's nightlife.
Saturday morning came quick, as we all made our way to the fridge for a gallon of water and a Red Bull to get us fueled up for some riding and all day lessons. In the meantime the '06 line of Hyperlite boards and bindings we're dropped off at Nick and Julz house, I think the words "must be nice" we're muttered from everyone in the house. Everybody rode at least twice Saturday; the instruction from Nick and Julz to the riders was amazing, I think I personally learned more listening to them talk to the riders than I have in my 7 years of riding. They have the technique and physics of wakeboarding down to a science. Today Julz was picking up a 2006 Mastercraft X7 from the local dealer; after it arrived Nick decided to drill a hole in the back of a Hyperlite Roam, throw a surf fin on and run a nearby slalom course on the lake. This was pretty entertaining as he layed it down like Wade Cox cutting back and forth and jumping the wake at about 35 MPH and 20' off in the pouring rain. Once it was dark some of us made our way to the hot tub and some to the shower and then it was off to a late dinner and then you guessed it, out for another night on the town. Of course, if you've ever been to any of the Midwest Militia events, the party never stops when the town shuts down, and we'll leave it at that.
Early Sunday morning there we're some pretty brutal storms and wind; it was about 55 degrees later in the morning and windy still. The boards that were on the dock had blown off and were scattered along the shore of the lake. Some of the girls chose not to ride today, but the guys decided to go out for some surf sets in the white capped lake (after fishing all of the boards out of the lake). Later on in the day it got a little bit nicer out and some of the riders went out for a few sets. Our own Mark Michelini decided to work on some triple ups - after about 6 or 7 "reckless" triple ups and some wake complaints from local boaters it was time to head back in. That night it was out for Sushi and Sapporo then on to a local establishment where there was plenty of entertainment.
There were too many funny things to really give you the vibe of the whole trip, everyone's jaw hurt from laughing so hard; you just have to go and experience it for yourself. It was not a boring repetitive regiment of training, it was a laid back environment while at the same time you were learning a ton; there were non-stop 'shenanigans' going on all weekend from the Militia crew, and at the same time everybody took their riding to the next level. Dave Clayton, one of the lucky winners, really summed it up while we were waiting for our flight back to Chicago at the airport bar. He was asked what the high point of the trip was. His response 'There were no lows'. If you ever have a chance to get down to Nick and Julz wake school, definitely take the opportunity.