Well done to Haydn Bennett who has successfully competed in his first national wake-boarding championships. Haydn only started the sport three years ago and achieved sixth place in his age category at the championships.
He said: ‘Wakeboarding is like snowboarding on water. You are pulled along by a boat or cable, move in different directions and go over obstacles and jumps. I had to go over a jump and then jump through farmer’s crates. I have gone over barrels and tractor tyres and, over the years, have hurt myself quite a lot! You need quite a lot of balance and hand-eye co-ordination and you need to be willing and enthusiastic to go for the tricks. It takes a while but once you know the basics you can get onto big spins and flips. One of my first tricks was a back flip.’
Haydn, from Year 10, trains three times a week at Grendon Lakes and works there too. He said: ‘It’s a sport for all age groups and we offer beginners’ lessons and equipment hire. Two years ago I competed in the amateur category of the wakeboarding Grass Roots Tour around the UK and got first at pretty much every stop. I got noticed and moved up to the pro category this year. Then thought I would try the National Championships and it turned out quite well.
‘You get two runs. I always have a safe run first then I go all out on the second one. A run lasts around two minutes. If it is sunny the obstacles get dry really quickly and in the rain it is slippery so you can fall over easily. In the wind the water cuts up so it is hard. Also the organisers change the position of the obstacles so you can go different ways and then they build new ones rapidly so you have always got new stuff to hit.’
He came sixth in the Junior Boys Category for U-16s with a score of 73 per cent: ‘There are three judges and they score you on how clean the round is, how big you go and how technical the tricks are. My favourite wakeboarding venues are Grendon and Liquid Leisure in London which is the best park in the UK. They have all the world champions there. It is so friendly and all the obstacles are friendly. Beginners can hit them, but also pros can hit them. I want to carry on and hopefully get a few more sponsors and hopefully get to the world championships. The best thing about the sport is the progression. It is so fast that you always want to try a new trick and it is not impossible to do. It is always fun learning new stuff pretty much every week.’