Club lets members jump feet first into water sports
April 25, 2011 —
A thousand percent increase. Thats what the SVSU Water ski and wakeboard team has had to deal with. The team, starting with 2 members in its 208 founding now boasts 22 members.
Competing in the midwest region, the team is a part of Midwest Collegiate Athletics. Norm DeDecker, one of the group leaders, is a business management junior and ranked 25th in the region for water skiing.
The competitions are held at ski sites and man-made lakes. These tournaments consist of a three-event water skiing competition.
The first event is slalom water skiing using one or two skis while navigating around buoys at a variety of speeds. The second event is trick water skiing, which is performed on a trick ski or wakeboard and the participant is given 20 seconds to perform. The last event is the jump. This is where skiers attempt to go the furthest distance after passing over a 5-foot jump ramp.
“It’s an underappreciated sport that needs more credit,” DeDecker said.
Fall tournaments are located throughout the Midwest on most weekends in September and October. Co-ed teams compete for regional titles with competition from universities such as Michigan State, University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Purdue and Miami University.
The water ski and wakeboard Team practices during the summer in preparation for fall tournaments. Co-founder of the group, Jason Sugden, opens up his private ski lake for team members to practice in July and August. Located 25 minutes away, this helps new members improve before the start of tournaments in September while also providing a convenient location.
“We just get together on weekends, ski and have a good time,” DeDecker said.
Sugden is also ranked in the top ten among skiers in the midwest.
In addition to functioning as an RSO which promotes waterskiing and wakeboarding, the team has also gained status as a club sport, supported by campus recreation.
“Our goal is to teach everyone how to learn how to ski,” DeDecker said.
The RSO is looking for more female skiers to help create a larger coed group for Fall 2011. Only five of the 22 members are female.
“The girls team is very easy to compete in,” DeDecker said.
Besides tournaments on weekends, the water ski and wakeboard team attends a winter conference held for schools competing in the region. Participating schools take turns hosting the conference, which features seminars by professional wakeboarders and skiers.
The team hopes to increase the size of the group to better compete with larger universities. All teams compete with other full-time undergrad and graduate students from other Midwest colleges.
“Anyone can join,” said DeDecker, “no matter their skill level.”