Have you even had so much fun somewhere that you're totally convinced that it could never happen again? Well I have, and as the weekend of the fourth annual WICed Fest approached this little voice in my head kept saying " It's not going to be as much fun as last year! It's just not gonna happen." Again this voice haunted me on the drive up. "Last year was mind blowing. There's no way it's going to be as much fun." Well, when I pulled into the parking lot I didn't even have to get out of my car to know that I was wrong and that I was in for one sweet weekend of wakeboarding, partying, and lots of laughs.
OK, for anyone that doesn't know what WICed Fest actually is, let me explain. WICed Fest stands for Wakeboarding In Connecticut because the event is held on Candlewood Lake in Connecticut. See how easy we make it for everyone? This event is hosted by AXIS Boardsports of Brookfield, CT (I'll give you the run down on this sweet shop later) and also Tige boats. WICed Fest is a three day event that focuses on meeting, riding and having a blast with fellow wakeboarders from around the northeast. There's tons of riding going on, several parties planned, live bands, demo's, give aways like you wouldn't believe, free instruction from pros and,most importantly, a lot of rider fellowship. Anyone that rides in the northeast knows how hard it can be to meet other riders outside of your home body of water. WICed Fest is a great place to meet other local wakeboarders. The friends I've made at WICed Fest are my best friends and my Bro's for life. I'm sure it's that way for a lot of other attendees.
Let me give you a full run down of what a typical WICed Fest can involve.
I pull into The Marina with WICed Fest's unofficial Mom and Pop, Steve and Wendy Haynes. We step out of the car and bump into fellow wakelist member Kristen Kelly, and her friend Kelly, both of Long Island, NY. The rest of the crew, Rob Berube, Anthony DeLaiarro, and Rich. We chat for awhile and catch up on what's been going in our lives. Finally we go see if anyone needs a hand or any help with anything. "Oh, hey what's up Charlie Patterson." Origin's newest rider is just strolling around so we chat with him for awhile. I give him some pointers on his riding. Yeah right! Nothing important is going on, so there's only one thing to do now. RIDE! We all hop in Steve's boat and ride till the late afternoon. We all grab showers and then we head for the Liquid Force Party at Down the Hatch, which is nice restuarant/bar that's right on the water. This place was wall to wall with people. Lots of hot chicks where there too, but I didn't really notice that because I have a girlfriend and she might read this. Steve Haynes told me about all the hot chicks. Anyway the place was jumping, drinks flowing, and, oh yeah, free Liquid Force wakeboards flowing as well. Sweet!!! This party was, and always is, a blast!
My crew has always been the first on the water for two years in a row. Well, not this time. We arrived at 8 am and were probably one of the last boats out of the marina. People came to ride this year! We hop on the AXIS Tige and all grab a quick morning session. Oh, I forgot to mention that the AXIS boat has an enourmous wake! This thing was approaching waist high. We all head in and start to mingle. Rob Berube of Earthwake.com runs off to film Charlie Patterson ride and, from what I understand, they got skunked with terrible water. My crew all hop on Krown rider CJ Kelly's boat for a little inspiration and maybe some pointers. Now it's the middle of the day and the water's really rough but that doesn't stop CJ from just blowin' up! This guy is SICK!! Well everyone is like "I'm not riding after that," so yours truly hops behind the boat to embarrass myself, but actually it was great. CJ was so helpful and gave me some great pointers on spinning and flipping. This instruction went on with everybody. CJ was patient , helpful and a blast to be with.
Oh, did I mention he's a real nut buster too. We find this cove with nice flat water, but it's full of all these yuppies with pontoon boats and expensive cabin cruisers. All eyeing us, giving us dirty looks. They know what we are thinking. I can barely contain my laughter. All I keep saying is "nobody look at them, don't make eye contact." We quietly slip CJ into the water and then "Hit It!!" He's up and busting big rolls to blind, HUGE tantrums, and big whirly's right next to them . The yuppies, of course, flip out, but we all just roll on the floor with laughter. It doesn't end there . We run into one of CJ's buddy's and this is what comes out of his mouth "Hey we found this nice cove with calm water and the people in it cheer for you when you ride." Hysterical! This little session was probably the highlight of my weekend. I'd really like to thank CJ for his help and his friendliness, also his lovely wife Gina for being just as cool. You guys rock! Oh, hey KROWN...treat this guy well...He's by far the coolest pro rider that I've ever met. Because of him my next board will undoubtedly be a Krown! OK, now it's getting into the afternoon, the bands are raging, free Sobe Surge (good stuff) has everyone pretty high strung but the water sucks and we all wanna do something. Well someone shows up with a surfboard and its wakesurfing time. Man, was this a trip. We all surfed until we couldn't breath and just enjoyed the water and the sunshine!
That means it's Luau time. Tiki torches, tiki huts, daiquiris, pina coladas, food (that I heard was good but missed completely), wakeboard films on a big screen, DJ spinning and everybody just having' a blast. We'll maybe too good of a time cause the cops came and shut us down at about 10:00pm. You know it's a good party when the cops show up. People still hung around and chilled out. The Ohio crew pulled up in the pimpest Malibu I've ever seen. Orange accent lights running up the tower, strobe light in the open bow, and a killer system. After a bit of hanging out we all called it an early night so we could get some riding in the next day.
We all crawl out of bed and head over to Tthe Marina. Everyone puts in a quick set. We're all so tired that just holding onto the handle was hard work. The rest of the day consist mainly of everyone just kinda cruising around, chatting, laughing, sharing our stories from the weekend, and also saying our regretted good byes. Everyone has huge smiles on their faces. We are already anticipating next year. The weekend is deemed another "WICed" success!
At this point I hope you're all asking yourself who's behind this incredible experience. Remember it's not just a festival, it's an experience! Well I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that Rob Anderson, owner of AXIS Boardsports, cares intensely about wakeboarding and really enjoys introducing people to the sport. WICed Fest is a topnotch event because Rob wants it to be and works his butt off to make it that way. This guy gives up everything to do this event: his house, his boat, his money, his sanity. Every WICed Fest attendee owes Rob a HUGE debt of gratitude. Rob, we all thank you immensely and congratulate you on bringing us such an awesome event. Without you, none of this would have been possible.
By the way, AXIS is the epitome of what a boardshop should be. Indoor mini ramp, outdoor skatepark, all the newest gear, huge selection, friendly and helpful staff and an owner that's not afraid to reach out to the community. I'd also like to take a few lines here and thank all the sponsors that really stepped up this year. Tige Boats really pulled it out this year. We had something like 4 new Tige's to play with all weekend. I'd like to thank everyone that helped out. This includes:
Again, thanks to all the sponsors. I know that without you guys, this thing wouldn't have flown. And to all the WICed Festers out there: Can't wait to see you next year at an even bigger, badder event!