Cedar Falls, Iowa. (February 23, 2007)-The end of February marked the first ever Winter Wakeboard Winchfest. The Northern Iowa Boardriders and Twin Lakes Wake club mixed it up at Praire Lake Park in Cedar Falls Iowa with some unique winter weather wakeboard rail jam winching.
The Northern Iowa Boardriders is a group of students from the University of Northern Iowa who share the common interest of sideways riding. Students Luke Moore and Nick Schrunk were brainstorming with riders from the Twin Lakes club. The original idea was to build a few kickers and some rails and do a snowboard railjam with the winch. With highs in the mid 40s that week all the snow was disappearing fast and we were short on funding. We were even told our location was no longer cool to ride at because of the Pepsi contract on campus and general safety concerns. Stefan Harvey, a rider from Twin Lakes club, came up with the idea to do a winter wakeboard railjam with the winch and to build some winching ponds and pump water out of the frozen lakes nearby. Funding and equipment for this idea was not easy to find. However Red Bull jumped on board and made the event happen. As well the city of Cedar Falls took pitty on us an hooked us up with any city park we wanted with free reign on the turf for our unique event.
The event was called the” Winter Wakeboard Winchfest” and was held at Prairie Lakes Park in Cedar Falls with the permission of the city the night of Friday, February 23rd.† The entire premises is that the sport of wakeboarding is impossible in the winter because all the water is frozen to board over, and there is no way to have a boat pull you without water. So we made it work and decided to make our own man made ponds of water to wakeboard in. We bought up over 100 bails of alfalfa to create the two winching ponds, which were up to 10x30 feet long and two feet deep. Between them we built a 15 foot rail on which the riders would slide across from one pond to the next and then be pulled out of the below freezing water (we had to put no freeze salt into it to stop it from icing) and thrown into a trailer with a heater in it.† We started construction at 8AM that Friday morning and worked all day until the event started at 7PM that night. To fill the ponds with that much water we had to pump water from the frozen lake, requiring us to ice auger holes in the ice and use a pond pump and 4 inch hose to pump lake water into our ponds. The riders were being pulled by a “winch” which is a barrel cable system that pulls someone from a stationary position with a ski handle and cable.
The weather turned bad that night was windy and cold with a winter storm warning with temps below 20 degrees and sleet, snow, and lightning. We kept on with the event because we were determined to wakeboard even thou the weather wouldn’t stop reminding us it was indeed winter. Even with the weather we had over thirty non riders show up throughout the night in the middle of a snow storm. This type of riding hasn’t been done in Iowa before and certainly not in the winter extremes anywhere else in the midwest! Key players from the two clubs are athletes: Stefan Harvey, Justin Harvey, Nicholas Sandvig, Luke Moore, Jordan Westerman and Nicholas Schrunk.