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Wakeboarding team gears up for regional collegiate competition

By Jessica Sinn
University News Service
September 6, 2007

The fall semester is officially in full swing, but for five Texas State University-San Marcos students, long days at the lake are far from over.  

Texas State wakeboarding team athletes Bret Little, Tom Fooshee, Kassie Kaiser, Brett Hickey and Evan Washington are gearing up for the Southern Regional Collegiate Wakeboard Qualifier, Oct. 13-14 at the Texas Ski Ranch. 

The extreme water sports competition will feature 29 collegiate teams from schools throughout the nation.  Winners will receive an invitation to the CSTV Wakeboard Nationals.  

Bret Little, a Texas State marketing junior, is no stranger to extreme wakeboarding competitions.  He recently placed first at the Byerly Toe Jam, a rail and cable wake skate competition, and placed second at the CWC Open, an international wakeboarding competition in the Philippines.

Little, an Austin native who specializes in wake skating, said this will be his first team-based collegiate competition. 

“I’ve been in some intense wake skating competitions this year and I don’t want to say this is an easy contest because it’s not at all, but the atmosphere will be more laid back,” Little said.  “It’s just a bunch of college kids that aren’t trying to get famous; they’re just in it to have fun.”  

Little said wake skating moves are largely inspired by skateboard techniques, such as barrel rolls, jumps and mid-air spins.  With his skateboard, he practices many of his most challenging maneuvers on land, including the “switch-kick-flip.”

“The most difficult trick is the ‘switch-kick-flip,’ where you’re riding with your opposite foot foreword and ‘ollie,’ which is where you pop up into the air like you would on a skateboard, then switch your front foot out and down so your board does a barrel roll under your feet,” Little said.   

Little also trains with his roommate and fellow teammate Tom Fooshee at the Texas Ski Ranch’s Cable Lake, as well as Lake Placid and Lake Austin. 

Fooshee, a Texas State exercise and sports science senior, recently placed second at the CWC Open, and placed first at the T-mobile Extreme Playground in Germany.  Fooshee, an Austin native, said he’s proud to flaunt his Bobcat pride at every competition.  

“I’m very excited to represent Texas State,” Fooshee said.  “I make sure to ride with a Texas State sticker on my board.”

According to Fooshee, the upcoming competition will be the Texas State wakeboarding team’s time to shine.   

“This year, Texas State has the best wakeboarding team ever,” Fooshee said.  “I’m very sure that we’re going to win.” 

Texas Ski Ranch Manager Blake Hess said athletes will compete for their teams individually.  To impress the judges, contestants must incorporate style, creativity and a high level of difficulty.

“There’s so many different types of flips they can do,” Hess said.  “The judges don’t like to see the same flips done over and over again; they want to see them mix it up.”

Hess said the popularity of wakeboarding is steadily growing--especially among Texas State students.

“We have a lot of clientele from Texas State who come to the Texas Ski Ranch to take wakeboarding classes,” Hess said.  “The amount has grown every semester because when people find out about it, they get excited and want to be a part of it.”