2013 season recap

As the leaves begin to change and the lake temperature is dropping by the day we at Water Monkey have to finally admit that the summer is almost over.  Every extra day we get on the boat now is just icing on the ridiculous cake which was our 2013 season.  We could not be happier with where the camp has gotten in such a short amount of time. Many thanks to everyone who was involved this year: the campers for giving it their all and dedicating themselves to learning and having fun, my staff for working tirelessly this summer to deliver top notch watersports instruction, gourmet food, and constant entertainment to our campers, our host camp for letting us take over our little island on their property, and my friends and family who helped me renovate our awesome cabin.  Camp would not have happened if it were not for all of you!

Some 2013 stats:

  • We welcomed 48 campers over six weeks of camp from late June to August.
  • Campers came from nine states (CA, CT, FL, IL, MA, NH, NY, PA, and VT) as well as France and Canada.
  • The average age of our campers was 14.
  • We were 71% guys, 29% girls.
  • The average water temperature on the lake was 77 degrees (a bit chillier than usual due to above average rain in June/July).
  • Consumed 420 pancakes washed down with 11 gallons of pure NH maple syrup.
  • We drank 68 gallons of milk (Billy was responsible for about 10 of those).
  • Chowed down on 250 homemade (big) meatballs.
  • We went through 1,500 freeze pops!
  • 7,488 unique visitors to www.watermonkeycamp.com in the past 12 months.
  • We tacked on another 175 hours to the Centurion's odometer.
  • Guzzled 745 gallons of gas producing a little under seven metric tons of CO2...offset by planting 70 trees through CarbonFund.org!
  • 0 hospital visits!
  • Endless improvement behind the boat!

Goals for 2014

  • 20 campers per week for eight weeks of camp.
  • Two boats.
  • Trampoline training area for land practice of flips, spins, and handle passes.
  • New, private, unreal location directly on the lake...

Keep in touch, keep shredding, and, as always, feel free to hit us up any time to chat: 617-855-WAKE


Obscure watersports activities

Companies have promoted some pretty outrageous boating sports over the years.  I have to admit that I am a sucker for cool/new/interesting activities and I will try just about anything given the opportunity.  Whether I would introduce them to my campers, though, is another story. I was inspired to write this entry after seeing the below promotional video online.  The product was so preposterous that I decided to dig into my memory banks for a few others from over the years.


I'll get to the subwing in a couple of paragraphs.

First on my list of disastrous boating activities would have to be the flying tube from around 2006.  On paper it looked awesome; who doesn't like getting launched into the air while tubing?  Achieving sustained flight behind the boat seemed like a no-brainer and countless families, organizations, and boating enthusiasts cleared store shelves of the new item.  About a month into that boating season it was clear that the flying tubes were actually unstable death traps.  The tubes would take flight, as advertised, but once airborne could not be controlled and unpredictably plummeted, inverted, and crashed at high speeds into the water.  After two reported deaths, broken bones, collapsed lungs, and countless face and body lacerations, the manufacturer issued a voluntary recall of the fledgling product.  Various new models have been released since then with added safety features but the stigma has remained and the flying tube has not been able to gain widespread popularity.

The next boat sport that came to mind was one from the early 90's called disk boarding.  I honestly cannot find a picture or any evidence that it ever existed on the web but I distinctly remember it from my early days of learning how to waterski at camp.  It was just a slightly concave disk like you would use to go sledding but it had a plastic hitch to lock the rope handle into for when you were sick of holding on.  Basically all you could do when moving was spin in circles and attempt to go to the left or right over the wake which was made difficult to nearly impossible due to the lack of fins.  Disc boarding was not dangerous but just a massive dud of a sport.  I'm sure someone else has heard of this, anyone?

Not all dumb watersports ideas need be motor-boat reliant to make this list.  I am including the floating iceberg climbing tower/slide because like the flying tube it just was not properly thought out by its designers.  I was at a camp fair in 2009 when I saw a picture of one at another camp's booth.  The director told me that he loved the iceberg at his camp - he chose to purchase a 25 foot high variant - save two major issues.  The first was that he needed about fifty of his staff members to carry it out of storage each season because of its cumbersome size and weight.  The second, more important, issue was that the number of broken arms and ankles at his camp skyrocketed in the first summer that he had the floating iceberg.  Apparently the climbing rungs were designed in such a way that if a climber lost his/her grip and fell it was easy to get caught on the way down and break whatever appendage got hung up.  The manufacturer has since corrected this design flaw and under careful supervision the floating iceberg is a great toy for camp groups.

OK, on to the subwing.  Honestly my first reaction was "that thing looks awesome, I can't wait to try it, where can I buy it?"  Then I thought a bit more.  Here are my three big concerns:

  1. At any kind of speed, even under 10 mph behind the boat, you would need some impeccably clear water in order to see approaching obstacles.  I foresee large numbers of tangled lines, smashed faces, and, probably, some drowning/crash related fatalities.
  2. Up in New Hampshire our lakes make it up to about 80 degrees by the middle of the summer - on the surface.  Anyone who has dived down five or ten feet knows that the temperature plummets quickly.  Once you are in water that is steadily in the low 60's or 50's you lose body heat at a rapid pace.  I do not see subwing participants spending an extended amount of time at great depths before there are chattering teeth and blue lips.
  3. The subwing effectively makes the boat spotter irrelevant.  Spotters make sure that skiers or wakeboarders have not fallen or let go or gotten hurt.  With the subwing the spotter may not see a rider let go (or smash into an underwater rock) and by the time he/she is noticed the boat may be quite a distance away.

Almost certain death is enough reason to lead me not to offer the subwing to my campers but if I can get my hands on one this summer I will certainly give it a go (and get some video).  The subwing could be the future of boating fun; I guess if no one ever tossed their surf board behind a boat and rode the wake two feet from the prop we would never have had wake surfing, right?