Colorading Wakeboarding Season in Review

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Colorading Wakeboarding Season in Review
Mike Hardaker and Michael Costello Standley Lake CO 2010 Wakeboard Season

WESTMINSTER, CO – 2010 was a big year for wakeboarding in the state, the first ever Mastercraft Professional Colorado Wakeboard News Tour made a stop in Colorado Springs. Along with the Professional tour, amateur wakeboarder’s were really starting to progress the sport in Colorado. Michael Costello owner of the boat Wasted Money, clocked in over 50 days on the water this season at Standley Lake possibly setting a new record for most days on the water.

The wakeboard season started early with a chilly May 8th start, water temperatures were a balmy 48 degree after a long snowy winter. Surfers in California brave water temperatures in the dead of winter between 55-65 degrees so this was cold. With the assistance of a wetsuit Michael jumped in and almost made an entire lap around the lake before coming in from the cold. Costello was doing big sprays across the water, you could tell he may not have been wakeboarding all winter but his legs were strong from snowboarding. Michael’s wife Susan jumped in the water without any encouragement and was easily the first women in the water of the 2010 season. Brendon Thompson on the other hand took allot more encouragement to jump in the water. This was also the first day of product testing for the Hyperlight Forefront, I found the board very poppy and a little loose on the first lap around the lake.

Standley Lake Colorado Photo by Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Standley Lake Colorado Photo by Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

The second day of the season (for the boat Wasted Money) took place on May 17th, the original plan was to spend the day snowboarding but with temperature starting to rise in the city it was time to start thinking about trunks and flip-flops. Costello jumped in the water and was throwing switch 180’s across the wake, this was only day 2 and he was already riding very strong. I on the other hand wasn’t as lucky and took a hard slam with reckless abandonment to my back that had me gasping for air, and set my confidence back for a few weeks of the season. Brendon once again came out on Waster Money, and was showing his years of wakeboarding experience with big airs and spins across the wake. We had a new addition to the boat, Ashley a very strong female rider who we have since said was one of the best ladies to ever come out on the water with us. Ashley was not scared of falling, or at least she didn’t show it by going for huge airs on he first lap. After 5 hours on the water we called it quits…

Misty, Kyle, Kaili, Jenna Photo by Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Misty, Kyle, Kaili, Jenna Photo by Mike Hardaker | Mountain Weekly News

Our third day on the water had all the other boats jealous, on May 29th a group of ladies from Vail, CO drove down to join us for some fun in the sun. Along with the ladies from Vail, Susan and Anna-Jane were on the boat making a total of 6 ladies and 2 guys, we were the boat to be seen! As usual captain Costello went first and threw a really nice tail-grab across the wake. I think he was showing off for his wife, daughter and the other ladies on the boat, whatever his motivation his air has large! As much as I wanted to impress the ladies from Vail, my confidence was shot from the hard slams in the weeks prior so I rode timid and took it easy. At this point the water was still very cold and wetsuits were a must. Kaili went first for the ladies and got up on her first try, wasted no time or money :) and was quickly making turns in the lake. She was followed by Jenna who also got up on her first time which was humbling as it took me 3 attempts before I got up my first time wakeboarding. The last two ladies to go were Misty and Kyle, unfortunately the clouds had rolled in dropping the temperatures considerably. Both ladies still insisted to jump in the water and give it a go.

This years Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of the 2010 Wakeboarding season for all the other boats on the water as this was the captains 6th day and my 4th of the season. It seemed everyone with a new boat or membership to the lake was out and about. Due to the amount of boat traffic the water surface had become a chopped up mess. Costello and I took a few laps behind the boat dealing with waves coming from every direction, good training but not so fun for wakeboarding. As most of the other boats were doing we decided to pull into the cove and throw our anchor. We sat around and just enjoyed being Americans on Memorial Day looking at geese, people on horseback and the deep blue Colorado sky.

On June 18th Temperatures in the Denver area had risen to over 90 degrees, so we decided to head back out on the water. My boat driving skills seemed to have disappeared from my week in California. After finally getting the speed and trim dialed Costello seemed happy with my driving skills and once again was out in the water making wakeboarding look way to easy. Mike grew up with boats, and has easily 15 years experience wakeboarding and it shows in his riding. He was throwing 180’s across the wake so effortlessly just sort of floating thru the air. On a snowboard they seem easy, on a wakeboard another story.. This time we were joined by rock-n-roll photographer Soren McCarty. Soren got some great photos of us riding and then jumped in the water for his first attempt at wakeboarding. He came so close to standing up, but we managed to get a great picture of his face meeting the water so it was win win :)

July 9th was one of the best days we had all season on the water, sheet glass perfection. We arrived to the lake and there was not a hint of wind, the water looked so smooth and ready for us to lay down some big sprays and huge airs. We were joined by Marissa (my panic mom) and her new boyfriend, ripping wakeboarder Brennon Mack. Mike was up first and his confidence levels were thru the roof, he has riding strong and cherished the opportunity to throw airs with perfect smooth landings. When the water is calm there are no other variables, just you and the wake. I went next and had some of the biggest airs of the season, just like Mike I felt confident knowing each landing would be clean and crisp with the sheet glass water surface, it helped to have some coaching from Brennon. Last but not least was Brennon, so this is what a pro wakeboarder riders like.. We were floored as he was throwing huge airs wake-to-wake. Landing 360’s spins and just making wakeboarding look effortless. It was an honor to have someone that good come out and give us pointers.

The Mastercraft Pro Wakeboarding Tour event rolled into Colorado Springs on July 26th showing the state of Colorado the possibilities within the sport of wakeboarding. The 2 day contest was held at Memorial Park and featured professional and armature wakeboarders from all across the country. Riders competed in the three events, the Pro Men’s Tour competition where points are tracked throughout the season. A double up event where the boat circles back around to create a wake twice the normal size. And last but not least, the big air contest using man made jumps. Congrats to Bob Soven and Daniel Powers for taking the 1st ever wakeboard competition win in Colorado Springs.

Wakeboarding’s roots undoubtedly come from surfing, in between the two sports was a short lived fad called Skurfing. Skurfing is essentially surfing behind a boat, with a traditional looking surfboard and your feet strapped in. To find one of these classics’s for sale in our area was a dream, and a steal as the owner had no idea how much these things are worth. On August 6th we took the chance to go Skurfing. The looks I received walking down the dock with the bright yellow skurfer were priceless. Watching Mike strap the board in I wasn’t sure if it would even work, first try he was up and skurfing. You can do these amazing carves and it really does feel like surfing. I was so excited at the opportunity to surf in Colorado again, we had done river surfing a few years back and as my mom says “You cannot keep a surfer out of the water no matter where they live”! but this was like the feeling you get the first time you snowboard, so exciting I felt like I was 12 years old, laughing falling just having fun.. If wakeboarding ever gets stale, find one of these on eBay or craigslist.

We had lots of other days wakeboarding throughout the season that went un-documented, one such day found 3 Mike’s out on the boat together. Myself, Costello and Mike Blondon. We had a blast ripping around the lake as usual, later in the summer Mike brought his new roommate out for some fun in the sun. Wakeboarding during the Colorado Sport Aviation Air Show was something we will cherish forever. We had a front row seat for the airshow from the water an F-16 flew directly over us, where it felt like the pilot was starring at the boat. Bombers were flying overhead, trick plans were spinning and flipping in the distance overall a really cool experience. Colorado had it share of wild fires this summer in the Boulder area and it seemed each time we went out wakeboarding we had another front row view of the action. In the distance of the foothills you could see white and black smoke billowing up against the sky. Huge bombers were once again over head, this time to drop water on the raging fires

Another fun day was when Sherwood Webber AEG Production Manager and John Joy Leftover Salmon’s tour manager came out with us. This day got rowdy quick! Sherwood had joined us last season and we were excited to get him back on the boat. Once again made me look bad as he was throwing 180’s across the wake with easy (I really need to learn this trick) very impressive riding by Sherwood. John Joy did awesome as well, getting some hug pop off the wake. I think the boys ate there Wheaties that morning or had some liquid fuel in them because they were going off. Mike and I took some laps as well, but it was exciting to see other people getting out for the first time and really being stoked on the sport of wakeboarding.

By the end of the summer Costello had figured out 360’s across the water surface, its no doubt that he will be throwing these in the air across the wake next season. I hope I dint leave anyone out, we had a great 2010 wakeboard season in Colorado. Now it’s time to start praying for snow!! See you in the water next May, brrr….

3 CommentsAdd yours

  • Soren McCarty - October 3, 2010 Reply

    Nice, it was worth my humilation for your enjoyment. Next year, I’ll get it!

    • Mike Hardaker - October 14, 2010 Reply


      Everyone starts somewhere, just like me learning how to play guitar! Ride strong this winter and wakeboarding will be a snap.

  • Costello - October 3, 2010 Reply

    Awesome Job Mike..Pray 4 Snow

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