Chen’s First Ride’
Chen said that even though he was really busy with his own work, coming to Chuncheon made him happy. With the thought of being able to ride the wakeboard, he practiced squats for several days. “I thought that I would need strength in my legs and hips so I exercised before I came here. I heard that amateurs always just fall in the water, so my only goal for today is to stand up successfully. Haha.” Chen’s wakeboard teacher Park Sangmin said, “Since he is a dancer, I’m sure that he is very athletic. He will probably be able to learn how to wakeboard faster than others.”
When Chen arrived at the wakeboard practice field, the first thing he did was practice his hearing and vision. He went to the hearing and seeing practice room to learn the basics of wakeboarding. “The reason that so many amateurs can’t stand up on their first try is because they don’t know what it feels like. You have to try it for yourself,” said Park. “I get what you mean,” Chen said. During the class, he practiced standing up and changed into his wetsuit and surfing pants and put on his life jacket in preparation to ride the waves. “I feel like I’ll be able to do well now that I practiced it. I just want to enjoy the speed of riding around the water. I’m so excited!”
The first step of the practice was to grab a pole near the boat and stand up and usually amateurs practice this for about 30 minutes wither their teachers. When the boat approached, Chen splashed into the water and slowly swam towards the boat. When he grabbed the pole, the boat slowly began to speed up and everyone watched Chen. Chen was able to successfully stand up using the waves and the pull of the boat. Park Sangmin said, “Honestly, I didn’t expect that he would stand up in one try. There are rarely any amateurs who can do that. He is really athletic and strong.”
Now, the Real Practice!
“Even though I’m not tired, I thought I should rest. I have to use hips, thighs, and arm muscles, so it takes a lot of stamina. But of course I’m fine. Haha. ” Adding on to Chen, Park Sangmin says, “It’s similar to snowboarding but harder because of the strength to pull the boat. In everyday life, it is hard to experience those pulling forces in great speed. So it’s pretty amazing that you can handle the force.”
After rest, Chen went out to the lake again. Excited for Chen’s performance, Park hurried out too. This time, he had to follow behind the boat so he has to ride the “V” shaped wave. It’s faster than the speed during practice. Despite that, Chen easily did it skillfully during his first time. Even when he missed and fell into the lake, he thought, “It’s really fun,” and smiled constantly. The heat of the sun would burn the skin in just 20 minutes, but he said the water was cold. “I can still hear the waves vividly. The sound of the engine from the boat and the sound that swishes past my eardrums. I didn’t just enjoy the waves but also nature and youth, all the things that I realized today.” After today, Chen wants to continue this sport. Chen’s smile that delights spectators will start this summer.