My dad was a competitive water skier in his younger years, so our holidays generally consisted of camping trips along the river for one competition or another. Summertime family gatherings would be with the speedboat down on the sandbar and all us kids in lifejackets.
So on New Years Day the skiboat was pulled out again for a few runs. We’ve had the boat my whole entire life. Its golden yellow clinker hull with black cutouts on the bonnet, yellow fuzzy seat upholstery and leather steering wheel have worn and faded with time, but still provide plenty of thrills for all the family (except my sister, who only ever gets into the action on rare occasions).
Bro #1 likes to drive the boat, so he took his friends out for a tandem ride on the ski biscuits. Then it was his turn for a ski. Though he prefers a jump start, he had to go deep water because of where we were on the river and I nearly thought he’d lose his grip coming out of the water.
Dad had a go after Bro #1 and as always made it look super easy. His slaloms cutting back and forth over the wake don’t get any clumsier with age. Though he was knackered afterwards, he’s still got it.
Dad was swerving and turning, sending me flying back and forth across the wake unable to do anything except hold on…TIGHT. I got through the fear to chortle with delight that he hadn’t tipped me out yet as I was getting good at holding and balancing in all the right places, until an innocuous little skid over the wake had me tumbling out the back.
We were almost back to the start, but this was where Dad was saving up his best to send me sprawling (in front of a crowd) by doing doughnut after doughnut. Each turn I gathered more speed and pelted into bigger and bigger waves. I gripped on tight with my hands and legs, leaning my body weight forward. Miraculously I managed to hold on for the four or five circles Dad cut, getting through the choppy water and at one point flying over it, before he gave in and we went back to the shore.
I was jubilant at my awesome display of tenacity and strength but probably crowed one time too many, because they just left me floating out the back instead of pulling me in.