Story and photos: Erika Langman
April is always such a drab month up in the Northernly world of Collingwood. The entertainment of spring slush laps comes to an end, yet winter still loves to show its bitter face teasing us with snowfalls which were very much needed two months ago. Other than my birthday, it is the one month that kinda just sucks. Hence why I make it a habit to disappear every year to somewhere south of the border where I can get some much needed rays of sunshine.
This year it just so happened I didn’t have anything crazy planned, so when Derek Brown messaged me to say he was thinking about heading down to Atlanta for a week to ride at Valdosta with Mickey Henry and a few of the What Wake Park boys I decided to jump on it. Leslie and I both didn’t have too much going on at work so we figured it was a great idea to tag team the 20 hour treck down to the south of Georgia for five days. Why not?
Cable parks can be so hit and miss, some very classy with board shops, bars and restaurants, and others that are literally in a field miles from the closest town. I had heard the boys talk about Valdosta a few times, but with my head buried in events at Blue I didn’t really take much time to look into the park. When we arrived we were met with the relaxed vibe of smiling faces, camper trailers, a skate park and by far some of the craziest features I have ever seen at a cable park. It was like CWC met The Ranch Wake Park and had an epic cable park child. There is a club house where you buy your day pass that has couches, outdoor showers, washrooms, but no fancy expensive restaurant where your feel the need to buy lunch every day. All the staff live on site in camper trailers, wake up each morning to do maintenance, cook breakfast on propane camping stoves, start spinning the full size cable at 11am and take turns driving, riding and building epic features the rest of the day. In addition to the main lake there are two system 2.0 lakes, one with gnarly rails over dirt gaps that the local boys build every day to film for their Coalition video parts, and the second is a wakeskate 2.0 with a cement bi-level ledge and smaller skate features. At all times of the day there are 5-10 dogs just chilling out with each other, and everyone just hangs out all day and shreds with their friends. It’s the most relaxed cable park I have ever been to.
We had a pretty amazing crew of Canadians down for the week, Mickey Henry, Kelsey Chaippa, Colt Pickles and Jake Fewer had road-tripped down in Mickey’s truck. Derek Brown had gone down with Dary Zneble in his brand new 8ft box trailer that he had refabricated into a sweet bedroom with a working stove, fridge and storage for all his gear. Liam Brearly was still down there with his Dad Jason, apparently they had planned to leave earlier that week but they had had some ‘car troubles’, aka stuck in Paradise. The day Leslie and I arrived Dylan Miller was down for the day to shred with some of his Slingshot team members, which rounded out a total of eleven Canadians. Yup we took over the park.
I had two really good days of warming up my sea legs before I decided it was a grand idea to crunch the top of my foot, putting me out for the rest of my time there. It was a bit of a bummer, but I got a chance to snap a bunch of great photos of the crew, and catch up on some well-deserved Sun-tanning with a good ol’ book. The first night we were there we went out for Mexican with local boys Terry Bailey, Wes (big) and Wes (little). Let me just say that I do love America for the sole fact that food is so damn cheap. We all ate off the $5 menu, which was your pick of 4 sides (tacos, enchillatas, flautos, guac salad… etc) and $1 domestic beers. I was full after about a quarter of my plate, slightly buzzed from the beers and paid a grand total of $15 including tip. AND I had lunch the next day. Value central!
Over this ‘far too short’ visit we made some amazing new friends, both Wes’s, Quinn, Terry and Luke took us in and showed us top notch hospitality. We spent the mornings hunting for eggs from Terry’s ducks, hanging with Chicken Joe (may he Rest in peace, I loved that little guy) night time bonfires and just shredding our faces off. I was bummed to leave so soon, but I know we will definitely be back soon enough!