Wakeboarding in Wilmington: A Spontaneous Mini Slingshot Team Trip
Author: Travis Propst
Photos by Jason Lee.
There are always featured stories in magazines or videos about riders going on trips to cool locations. Sometimes there might not be whole stories, but even just some photos from some place unusual. What some people don't realize is that it doesn't take much to make your own adventure. Yes, a lot of trips are planned out way in advance like team trips, etc, but most just start from someone deciding they want to go somewhere for a few days. The next thing you know there are 5 riders a photographer and 6 weeks later it's in the mags. To me going on these types of trips are the best part of wakeboarding. I would much rather spend a week with friends someplace different getting photos instead of going to some contest with haggard water and a down and back pass. So not too long ago an example of this happened.
Everyone knows riding in the same spot everyday can become really repetitive. It is especially bad in Orlando where everything looks the same no matter what lake you are on. So that always keeps me thinking of places to go to mix it up a bit and get out of that same old routine. I grew up in Virginia, and in doing so learned about all kinds of cool places to ride in the Mid-Atlantic area. Probably one of the most unique places to ride in the region would have to be Wilmington, NC. Originally just Heather and I were going to get away from Florida for a bit, and then House heard we were going and he seemed interested so we invited him to come with us. So Heather Johnson, Jeff House, and I decided to go visit some of my good friends and get in some riding. We brought Jason Lee with us too. We figured it might be good to get some pictures, and he is always down for an adventure.
Before we knew it, what was going to be a mini riding vacation for Heather and I turned into a mini Slingshot team trip. As soon as we told slingshot what we were doing they were immediately stoked on the idea. It's pretty cool to be able to go on random trips with your teammates and have a sponsor that is supper supportive of that and not so contest oriented. So we piled into Jeff's truck and made the 8 hour drive from Winter Haven to Wilmington in search of cool scenery and good water.
Heather Johnson grabbing a classic melon. Photo: Lee
My good friend and shredder Nick Joseph invited us to stay with him for the week. I don't know if he knew what he was in for. When we got there it was too late to ride and the weather looked horrible for the week, so we got comfortable and started praying for sun. Unfortunately we only lucked out once or twice the whole trip with some real light. That didn't slow us down too much though. We still rode, had fun, and made the best of whatever weather we were having. If it wasn't raining we rode, and If it was, we ate. Kind of a funny routine but that's what we did.
Another long time friend Justin Sellers lives about five minutes from Nick. He is a friend of Jeff's and mine from back in the day. Justin has been killing it for a long time, and his name should sound familiar. Nick is an up and coming rider that has not been riding for too long, but shreds. Both those guys were supposed to spend a bunch of time riding with us, but Nick hurt his ankle on the first day after stomping some mute ole toe 7's and Justin got hung up working a bit. Unfortunately we all didn't get to ride together as much as planned. The weather wasn't really on our side either. Nick continued to play injured tour guide and Justin still came and hung out as much as possible.
The thing that's so great about Wilmington is the access to so many different types of riding spots within 30 minutes. I would like to list them all too you, but I'm not sure if all the local guys would be pumped on me revealing their secrets. There are many places to ride you just have to know how to get there. Nick showed the way to some of the most beautiful scenery and water I have ever ridden in. One of the places was saltwater with all kinds of houses and sailboats all around, it was amazing. We didn't have much light that day either, but Jason did what he does best and got some really cool shots. All of these spots are all within 15 minutes of nicks house. You couldn’t ask for much more.
Not only did we have fun riding some place new, but we had fun doing a lot of other stuff. It rained a lot so we got threw season 1-3 of entourage within a day. Funny videos on YouTube were constantly streaming. We also had some really fun waves while we were there. The rain didn't bother us surfing too much. One really big lightning/thunderstorm came in while we were out and scared us back in. We hid out under an overhang behind a hotel for about 35 minutes while it blew over then back out we went. Oh yea the beach is about 20 minutes from Nicks house too. Go figure. The last night we all went out to a Japanese steak house for dinner and some sake. We had awesome food, and lots of sake. Heather and I went to bed after dinner and Jeff, Jason, and Justin decided to see what they could do downtown. Then when they were all too hopped up on man soda to drive Justin's mom came and picked them up from the bar. You gotta love southern Hospitality.
The next day when we were packing up to head back to Florida the sun was out and it was hot. We had been there the whole week and not one day was nearly as good as the day we were leaving. Rain or shine we left the usual behind with a group of friends to go somewhere and have some fun. We made the best of it, that's for sure. Since this trip was so last minute and unplanned we didn't have enough for a magazine story, but we still got some shots run. Thanks Jason! So to anyone getting tired of riding the same place every day, get out there. Do not plan too much, just go for it.
-Driving straight 8 hours to arrive to rain
-Watching Bub Rub and lil sis on you tube
-Watching every season of entourage
-Wakeboarding in the intercoastal
-Surfing in the rain
-Justin's Mom picking them up from the bar
-Trying to get shots on a log Ollie for 2 hours with no success
-Hibachi Express ( like Japanese Chipotle)
-Holding a 30 lbs water housing w/ flash for your bro