Lori and Bryan invited us to go water skiing on the 4th of July. We left early in the morning for Echo Reservoir and got there before the sun had a chance to get really hot. We were expecting 100 degree weather but it was semi-cloudy and rather pleasant all day. In fact, in the early morning it was downright chilly in the water. Lori and Bryan were already there in order to be the first boat on the water and get the best runs of the day in. They met us at the dock and we all piled into their boat.
They have a bright red boat with all kinds of fancy technology gadgets such as inflatable bladders (for giving the boat different kinds of wakes I presume) and cruise control and high tech ski rope holders. The littlest kids (Diana, Natasha, and Texas) were content to just sit in the front of the boat and let the wind blow through their hair. The rest of us tried various forms of water sports.
When I first went water-skiing at a ward youth activity 20 years ago there were only two options: one ski or two. Now there are all kinds of things to do like raft riding, wakeboarding, and “surfing”. Bryan made wakeboarding look easy as he jumped over the wake. I tried my hand at wakeboarding but after about three or four attempts the best I could manage was a wobbly one second of barely getting my rump out of the water before crashing. Bryan and Lori cut beautiful rooster tails as they slalom skied around the lake. I had been able to ski on one ski back in high school but I knew that 20 years of weight gain and weak upper-body strength would prevent me from doing that again so I simply went to two skis and was fortunately able to get up a time or two.
Giving up after several unsuccessful wakeboard attempts
Anne was adventurous and decided to try skiing on two skis but wasn’t able to get out of the water after a few attempts. Next we inflated a huge raft with multiple handles on it and had fun pulling the older kids around. Even Nancy gave the raft a try. Eli and Sam were fun to watch as they bounced up and down on the raft. I got on the raft a few times and my ample waistline finally showed some value in sending the raft careening back and forth as I leaned into the turns of the boat. Between Bryan carving big turns with the boat and me leaning back and forth on the raft we were able to really give the kids a fun ride and managed to dump them off the raft several times.
Bouncing along on the raft
After riding the raft we pulled up to a beach and had a picnic lunch on the beach while the kids spent time playing on the raft. At the end of the day we configured the boat for “surfing” by filling the bladders and positioning people in the boat such that we created a huge wake. Bryan then got a very short rope and a mini-surfboard and started skiing on the massive wake. Eventually the wake is so big that you can “surf” down it’s face continually and thus let go of the rope while still able to stay behind the boat. I gave it a try once or twice but there was no chance of me being able to get up on a surfboard if I couldn’t even get up on a wakeboard. I managed to snap a picture of Bryan surfing with my cell phone camera but unfortunately I cut off his head.
Bryan “surfing” behind the boat
After a fun day on the water Lori expertly backed up her truck and Bryan loaded the boat on the trailer while Nancy and I watched the kids and had snacks at the car. We then met up at Grandma Wilma’s for a short visit before heading home for an evening barbeque and fireworks. The only problem was that a day of waterskiing and bouncing around on the raft left both Nancy and I exhausted so that we were ready to do fireworks and put the kids to bed before it was even dark. We held out until dusk and then lit fireworks in the South Jordan wind.
Fireworks in the wind
I would have to rank this 4th of July as one of the most fun days we’ve ever had. Thanks to Lori and Bryan and their family for inviting us and for being gracious and patient with us novices as we swarmed around their fancy boat. We really had a great time. As Nancy put it, “It sure beat the heck out of sitting around in the hot sun waiting for the parade!”