By Finn Kempkes
When thinking about The University of Mississippi, it is typical to think of football games, days on the Square, and one of the best small-town southern atmospheres one can find. Much of what Oxford, Mississippi, is truly known for happens only intermittently throughout the year.
For students finding things to do other than classwork, an occasional sporting event, or going out of town, it can at times feel unexciting and repetitive. Luckily Ole Miss has a plethora of student organizations that help liven up its sleepy southern feel. These organizations range from several hundred people in Greek organizations to small sports clubs consisting of just a few members.
One of these organizations is the Ole Miss Wakeboard Club, a club made up of fun-loving people from across the country all united by their love of water sports. While some campus organizations have members who have wanted to join their ranks for years before even graduating high school, many of the riders on the wake club first heard about it after going to a student club fair. From there most will meet up with them at Sardis Lake, an almost 100,000-acre body of water.
Unfortunately for the club, the barrier of entry is pretty high for traditional wakeboarding. With new wakeboard boats starting at over $100,000 for a base model, they had to look at other options to be able to practice for competitions. Luckily they are not the first people to encounter this problem and were able to purchase a wake-winch. A wake-winch is basically a 10hp motor with a 1000’ of line that can be pulled out alongshore. This allows you to be able to start wakeboarding for less than 1% of the cost of a new boat.
In addition to lowering the cost, it can also be used in areas that a boat could never reach. From flooded fields to shallow sandy coves, this wake-winch allows them to wakeboard almost wherever they would like.
“With as many beaches and flooded fields available, it is pretty easy to find a sandy spot, set up the floating jumps and rails and have an awesome day on the water,” Austin Archer, former president of the club, said.
In addition to various outings held throughout the year, the club also schedules several competitions at other schools in the South where they regularly win as a team and are competitive individually.
“Honestly some of the most fun I have had is at wakeboard comps,” said Johnny Newcomm, the current VP. “You meet so many cool people who all love to be out on the water having a good time.”