Lake Mead, day 2

Posted by Armada Wake Company in Aug 12, 2009, under wakeboard

So the sun is just beginning to make the clouds turn all types of pinks, oranges, and reds as it rises. Now we can see all the rain clouds that had made all the water in Primm. These clouds were not threatening, but actually made for an even more epic morning session. We can’t check into our room until noon so there is a lot of stuff that needs to be put away. I start by neatly putting things into the truck, for what reason I don’t know. I realize that all of our bags of clothes and my toolbox and wakeboard bags and just “STUFF” are not going to fit neatly. Now I just start stuffing the stuff. Nick is organizing the boat and putting the boards in the racks and putting the girls’ things where they think they will be accessible…. Everyone knows that by the end of the day nothing is accessible you just start digging and pulling things out of all the storage compartments. The tie downs are off, the drain plugs are in and it’s game time.


Katie is always nervous to launch the boat at this lake because the water level has dropped so much that there is no deep water launching, so I tell Nick to drive the boat and I’ll put the truck into the water. Yeah, I said truck into the water. In order to get the boat deep enough to launch, I have to back out so far that my rear bumper is under water. I have 35-inch tires on my truck and still the water is coming up to my doors. This can’t be good for the truck but at this point, that’s not an issue. Getting out to ride the untouched water is. As I pull out of the water I open the door to make sure all the water is drained out if it got in and also to make sure everything is ok with the boat. Why don’t I just look in the mirror you might ask…. Because all that stuff that filled the boat and bed of the truck is now inside the truck with me. I can’t see out of my mirror it is piled so high. I park the truck in the front row and head down to the dock. I say hi to the guy fishing as Nick is pulling up and I jump into the boat through the bow. Nick turns us around and we head out to play.


We stop just outside the no wake buoys and I start filling the sack in the bow to add an extra 550 pounds to the bow. Nick hit all the switches, so as I’m filling up the sack that sits on the seat in the bow, we are also filling up the other 900 pounds of MLS ballast. Nick goes through a series of stretches since he has been sitting for the last six hours and tosses out the rope to make sure it is free of knots. In minutes, the ballast is full and we are ready to go.


The water is so nice that I didn’t even turn the stereo on. We just took off and the only sound was that of the Malibu exhaust and the constant sound of water spraying perfectly off of the hull. It was perfect. 91-degree air temp, 88-degree water temp, and you can see your reflection in the water. 35 gallons of fuel, 3 people in the boat, about 2000 lbs of ballast, the wedge down, some lead bags under the seats and random gear. The wake was kickin. You couldn’t punch the smile off of our faces. Nick goes out and does some big S turns and plays on the glass a bit then throws his first few warm up jumps. Everything is going perfect. Nick is going huge with long clean grabs and inverts. He throws out his usual tantrums, 360s, and stylish grabs as Kate snaps pictures off. Nick went down on a tantrum into the flats and I circle back around to get him. He is so stoked at this point that he is ready to throw some of the tricks that he wanted to lock down by the end of the weekend. First trick up is the back roll. He goes out and kills it on the first try. Everything is clicking. He continues with some more tantrums and grabs, and then a three. By this time we are over by the Hoover Dam and he signals for me to drive a double up, another thing he wants to get down. I circle around the no skiing buoy and cross my own wake and Nick cuts in to hit the second roller as the two wakes converge. He hits it just right and pops probably 10 to 12 feet up. He grabs the board and lets go. We all yell and I give him a horn honk, and when I circle back around he is smiling and holding his head. He says “dude I had that… it felt so high, I let go…” It didn’t even matter that he wussed out. That was going to be the last trick of the set anyways. In the first set of the weekend before six o’clock in the morning, Nick had done the two main things that he wanted to do for the weekend.


Nick climbed into the boat and went over his set with me. We were both stoked. It’s now Katie’s turn. At this moment, she doesn’t really know what she is in for. She has ridden in calm water before but nothing like this. Her goal for the weekend was to clear the wake. A tall order being that she hasn’t been wakeboarding for very long and we were running a fully weighted boat. I emptied the stock ballast tanks for her but left the wedge down and the sack in the front. Katie isn’t usually ok riding like this but today wasn’t any regular day. It was the perfect day. She got up and Kate snapped some photos with the dam in the background. The look on Katie’s face was priceless as she rode over the wake. This was not the time to try to jump the wake. Even with the ballast emptied, the wake was still huge. She was still having the time of her life riding on glass and practiced jumping in small stages. She finishes up her set and is super happy.


The conditions were so perfect that I couldn’t stand to drive anymore so I said I wanted to ride. I have a torn muscle in my shoulder that still hurts but it didn’t matter at this point. I had to get in. My set was very short and bitter sweet. It made me realize that some serious gym sessions were in order and that my shoulder was pretty much useless but I did get out in excellent water and jump the wake a few times and hopped back in the boat. We got Kate out and she instantly picked it up. She had ridden before but had not wakeboarded very many times but is a snowboard instructor in the winter. She was having a blast getting the feel for it again and in no time was trying jumps and carving off the wakes.


It was now about 9am and we get a call from Emily. Her and Rudolph had woken up and were ready to come out. I decided that I would pull the boat out of the water and go get them. Reason #1 was we were hungry and ready to eat. We had been on the water with snacks and water for four hours now and were ready for some Faustos burritos. To get to Faustos we had to drive back to Henderson and there was no way that all the stuff packed in the truck was going to stay in the bed if I pulled it out and drove. And #2, we had been out riding for four hours with a weighted boat and were going to go back out for the rest of the day so we needed more gas.


We loaded up the boat and headed up the hill to pick up Emily and Rudolph and headed off to Faustos. We got some burritos and tacos from Faustos and headed back to the gas station, filled up, got some more ice and drinks and more Redbull. In case you can’t tell yet, I’m pretty much living on Redbull. We decide to go and unload our stuff into Emily’s room. Again, I stayed in the truck to watch the camera equipment and actually to try to catch a nap. I parked under a light pole and pulled my shirt over my eyes and passed out. A few minutes later Rudolph opened the door waking me up and was all sweaty… that sounds weird… I said to him wow it’s hot out. You are sweating pretty badly. He told me “yeah its hot. I was standing in front of the truck because I didn’t want to wake you up…” Man did I feel dumb. I asked him how long he was out there and he said about ten minutes. We had a good laugh and he climbed in and a few minutes later everyone else came back from putting the stuff in the room. When they got back they noticed a sign posted on the light post I was parked under that read “ HEAT KILLS. DON’T LEAVE YOUR KIDS OR PETS IN YOUR CAR”. How ironic that I would park under that sign and stay in the car and fall asleep. After another good laugh, we all headed back down to the launch ramp.


This time down on the ramp there were more people out so we waited in line and as soon as it was our turn, I backed my truck, bumper deep, into the clear blue water. The conditions were not quite as good since there were more boats out on the water. We checked the usual spots, the wall, the Arizona cove, and a few other coves. They all had boats in them so we opted to head through the narrows to what we call the secret spot. It’s anything but a secret but most people don’t want to take the journey. It’s about a 25-minute boat ride to get through the channel but well worth it. I turned the music up and pumped some Bro Hymn by Pennywise through the Titan Alpha 2 tower speakers and Rockford Fosgate speakers in the boat. We put the I Pod on random and enjoyed some great music and the most amazing scenery. The landscape goes from 200-foot high walls and red sand stone rock to sandy beach areas. The only thing I can compare it to is pictures of Lake Powell. Any wakeboarder knows that Powell very well may be the holy grail of lakes and this is about as close as you can get. Kate snapped some more photos and we continued on across the lake. In the distance we could see the makings of a storm and I watched it like a hawk but it seemed to be pretty far away.


As we came through the channel, the water calmed down and was as flat as it can get without being glassy. Emily jumped into the water and was super stoked to ride. We had taught her how to ride 2 weeks earlier and she went out and bought a brand new wakeboard. Her Liquid Force board and bindings showed up on a Friday and we went out to a local lake and she got the feel for it but now she was actually able to ride it and see how good it really was. She got used to her toeside and heelside turns and got the hang of coming in and out of the wake. After she finished up it was Rudolph’s turn.


Rudolph may very well be a natural. I am glad to call him a part of the ARMADA team. The potential of this kid is sky high. He came out with us for the first time a few weeks before this trip and wrecked himself. He has a snowboarding background but had never been behind a boat before. He had never even been to the lake. We taught him how to get up and Nick went through the basic fundamentals with him and he went out and did it. He stood up on his first time and rode for a bit. The next thing we know, Rudolph cuts way outside the boat and charges back in towards the wake. Everyone in the boat gasped and stood up. He went face first into the opposite wake and broke his face. I circled back around to see if he was ok and he showed us his face and he had bloody teeth. He tore the part between his gum and upper lip, which was bleeding. He had a concussion and we pulled him into the boat. He didn’t really remember what happened. We asked him what he was thinking and he said, and I quote, “my buddies said if I got up, I had to try to jump the wake…” we all had a good laugh.


Now the conditions were exponentially better and he said he wasn’t going to jump. And he stuck to that. He went out and did some board slides on the wake and big carves using the board edges but wouldn’t jump. We could all see it in his face that he wanted to and out of nowhere Katie yells, “Just do it. Try some jumps” we all looked at her like what the heck are you doing, it’s too early in the trip for him to get hurt. To all of our surprise, he did it. He was jumping the wake on his second set ever on a wakeboard. It was awesome.


We all had been riding for a while now and everyone was taking turns riding doubles and enjoying the day. I was keeping an eye on the storm heading our way and the gas gauge and was thinking to myself that we should start heading in soon. No more than five minutes after thinking that, a guy comes up to us in a boat and says that he is coming from Echo Bay and it is storming there and the storm was coming our way. I could see the storm coming and could see the rain streaks far off in the distance. The guy also said that there were 40mph winds and 4 to 5 foot swells coming. How true that was, I don’t know but I know that lake too well to chance it. Katie and Emily finished up their doubles set and we headed in. it was probably six o’clock by now and being as we haven’t slept in two days, nobody had any complaints. As we got back into the lower basin, the water was still smooth but there were a few sprinkles. A storm was coming.


We pulled the boat out and headed up the hill and to the Hacienda Hotel that we were ready to check into. Katie went and checked in as the rest of us tidied up the boat and got all of our things to go up to the room. We made a stop by Emily and Rudolph’s room to get the rest of our stuff and headed to our room for showers. After showers, we headed out to a pretty sweet pizza place in Boulder City and met my buddy Daman and his family there. We made plans at dinner to meet up and drive to Echo Bay and see what was going on with the Wake LV crew. They had a houseboat out there. After dinner we all headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. Before I could sleep, I gave another buddy’s name to the front desk so he could get a key to the room. Andrew Lovier was driving out from So Cal. to meet us and stay for Saturday and Sunday.

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