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Leeds Met Wakeboarding Presents FreshWake

Sponsored by: ExPix, S2AS Slingshot & ITZ

Adz Walker pro wakeboarder demo for Leeds MetWhen the President of the Athletic Union, (A.U.) says jump the correct response should be, how high? And if he wants you to set up a new sports club you do it, right? Well you certainly do if you're a Leeds Met student! And so began Leeds Met Wakeboarding!


When Lewis Wildridge took over as the new President of Leeds Met A.U. there was only one thing on his mind and that was to make sure that Leeds Met topped the BUCS (British University Colleges Sports) leaguer board. For those of you who don't know, Leeds Met are fiercely competitive when it comes to sport and any chance to get extra BUCS points is a chance not to be missed. So Lewis diligently went through the list of BUCS sports and 'recruited', shall we say, 'willing bodies' to set up and run clubs for sports that the uni didn't already have.

But what do you do and how do you set up a new club, especially if you've never done anything like it before? Well all these questions and many more were asked by Danny Edmondson, captain of the new Leeds Met Wakeboarding Club. The first point of call surely had to be to speak to Uniwake? As the national student organisation for wakeboarding they were bound to be able to able to help; but their advice to 'set up a Face Book group' just didn't cut it! Fortunately Leeds Met uni stepped in to take the reins and sent Danny on an accredited course that deals with all aspects of setting up and running a university club. This is standard practice for Leeds Met; it's compulsory for all new club captains at the university to attend the course which deals with subjects such as health and safety, finance and sourcing sponsorship. 

So with little time to play with, less than a month to Freshers, the race was on to come up with something good that would lure the students into joining the wakeboarding club. And so FreshWake Leeds Met Wakebording first ever Fresher's event was born!

Club Captain, Danny said, "We don't do things by halves when it comes to sport at Leeds Met and wanted to stamp our mark on the university wakeboarding scene with an almighty bang! We knew that recruiting members could be a hard task; learning to wakeboard is difficult at the best of times and more so in October when the weather and water are even colder. So we set about organising an event that would give our Fresher's a baptism of fire and an experience that they would never forget! We wanted to really bring home that unique welcoming feeling and inclusive attitude coupled with a type of laid back enthusiasm depicted perfectly with the term "steeze".

It was important that we were realistic about our expectations and delivered an event that beginners would feel happy to attend. We couldn't justify asking them to pay out a load of money to travel half way across the country for a Fresher's event and there was no need to do so when there are perfectly good facilities at Sheffield.

So I spoke to Andy Granger at Sheffield Cable and Water Ski and we got an amazing deal and were able to offer unlimited riding from 10am-7pm for both Saturday and Sunday, one to one tuition, equipment hire, camping on site, Sheffield's legendary BBQ and amazing drink offers.

We also asked ExPix to come on board and they agreed to cover the event for us and to give the students all the images and video footage from the weekend, together with ExPix T-shirts for everyone. They also helped us to secure over £1,000 worth of prizes to give away, including a goodie bag for every rider and arranged for pro riders Megzy Barker and Adam Walker to be on hand to give demos and advice.

And to top it all we planned one awesome party for Saturday night where we aimed to show how an event run by the riders for the riders rolls when it comes to raving. With a beer circle, the likes of which student wakeboarding has never seen and Manchester's top dance club Sankeys' resident, DJ, Mark Bradbury, aka, The Dutch Rudder hitting the decks, we had the makings of one pretty good event with which to entice the students!

The Fresher's Fairs went well and with the help of committee members, Karina 'Corona' Whithers, Louise Van Weezel and Kerry Dickinson who 'press ganged' students, in the nicest possible way, we managed to get over 350 students signing up, interested in joining the club, which gave us a good base to recruit for FreshWake.

But we were still nervous about numbers and so invited other universities to join us such as Leeds Uni, Nottingham, Liverpool John Moores, Coventry, Manchester and Bangor. But when it came down to it, there was no need to worry as we had 34 members attend from Leeds Met alone which is not a bad effort from a new club when you consider that Leeds Mets biggest mixed sex club is the well-established boxing club which has 100 members. We also had 3 students from Liverpool John Moores and 1 student from Coventry join us.

It was a shame that the other unis couldn't manage it as they missed one hell of an event and we were disappointed not  to receive the support from certain universities and Uniwake officials who had said that they weren't attending but then turned up on the day to ride by themselves; not exactly 'cricket' is it guys! That said we had an amazing time and can't wait to organise our next event."

So from an ExPix point of view this is definitely up there as one of the best students events we have ever attended. The atmosphere was incredible; everyone gave it their best shot and the enthusiasm didn't wane despite the cold  and the rain and the fact that hands and feet were turning blue!

On the water the students made good progress; with many never having ridden before they started on the knee boards but were determined to get going on the wakeboards. Again perseverance was the key and for some it paid off and totally focused, they all kept plugging away with many managing to get their first laps under their belts and a few even trying the kickers with interesting consequences as the video will show!

There were some very good efforts from; Sarah Killip from Liverpool John Moores who was hitting the funbox and kickers, Dave Curtis from Coventry who was hitting the roof top and the Leeds Met students who got in on the action too; Arran Lomas and Tom Kimpton were trying tantrums for first time with Tom landing his, Joe Griffiths won the most spectacular crash after attempting a front roll, Nicky Campbell, a keen snowboarder who had never wakeboarded before got up on the first day and within no time was doing laps, Leeds captain, Danny landed the kicker but best effort had to be from Georgie Morris who went from never having ridden before to hitting the kicker, landing with the most spectacular face plant!

But it was at the Freshwake Party where the fun really started! By order of the committee all 38 students lined up at the start of the evening with 5 pints each ready for the Freshwake Beer Circle. With a total of 190 drinks on the tables, the entire room was awash with pints as far as the eye could see! And as the rules were read out there were some very nervous faces, especially when it was explained that no-one could leave the 'circle', not even for a toilet break until all 190 pints had been drunk!

A variety of 'games' were played as the students downed their pints and 'punishments' were given to those who disobeyed the rules including stool spins, straight arm drinking and 'dirty' pints. After a quick break it was back to the bar for another 3 pints as Round 2 of the Beer Circle began!

This was a perfect ice breaker; after so many pints the room was buzzing; any inhibitions were soon forgotten and within no time people got to know each other. The Dutch Rudder, resident DJ at Sankeys followed hitting the decks and there were firework displays courtesy of Sheffield Cable Water Ski.

Leeds Met Wakeboarding captain said, "It's safe to say that FreshWake has certainly been a huge success; Leeds Met have not only managed to set up their wakeboarding club and organise their first ever event, all in a month, but they have also introduced a healthy number of beginners to wakeboarding, given out over £1,000 worth of prizes including an impact vest and a wetsuit from S2AS, a wakeboard from Slingshot, T-shirts from ExPix and arm wallets from ITZ for all students, making it an event to remember.

Special thanks have to go to our sponsors, S2AS, Slingshot and ITZ. It's always difficult raising sponsorship in today's economic climate and particularly so when you are a new club with no history behind you so we are especially grateful to all our sponsors for taking a chance on us.

Big thanks to ExPix who have agreed to become the official sponsors of Leeds Met Wakeboarding Club for 2011 - 2012. We couldn't have done it without you guys, you know the business inside out and your advice has been greatly appreciated as has your help with sourcing sponsorship, getting the media out there, putting the images up for everyone to see in the ExPix tent, even if there were one or two people cringing, and pulling in the favours to get pro riders to attend.

We also need to thank the pro riders; Megzy Barker, who is sponsored by Maven Marine, Billabong Watersports, Rubix kangaroo (RK) and who drove up from Bedford in the early hours of Sunday morning after competing in and winning a competition on Saturday and Adam Walker, sponsored by Slingshot and Mystic, who had a mission of a drive from Rhosneigr on Sunday. Thanks guys for all your help and support. You certainly wowed the crowds  and were watched intensely by several of the more advanced guys and even one or two beginners who may have been more interested in you rather than what you were doing on the water!!!

And last but by no means least, a huge, huge thanks to Andy Granger and staff at Sheffield Cable and Water Ski; amazing hospitality, fantastic BBQ, brilliant fireworks and nice touch with the chips at the end of the party! Sterling effort all round guys, you certainly know how to keep us students happy!!!!!

It's been great having all you guys on board and I hope we've made it worth while for you and look forward to working with you on future events. And on that note, thanks to requests from students and Sheffield Cable Water Ski, we're now busy planning our next event, FrozenWake which will be held at Sheffield in November, so watch this space!

We're still on the lookout for more sponsors, so please feel free to get in touch if you're interested in coming on board.


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