Wakeboarding: Bishop pins hopes on new tricks

Tauranga water sports athlete Darren Bishop is looking to cut through the competition and Christchurch's Lake Crichton at the 2013 Wakeboarding Nationals on March 22-23.

The former New Zealand junior representative, who finished second at the North Island Championships in late February, has a couple of new tricks to aid his pursuit of favourites Brad Smeele and Nick Gibson.

"I just recently broke through a barrier with landing new tricks - I've learnt more in the last year than I have in the last four, so I just want to keep that train rolling," said Bishop, who now counts a Pete Rose and toeside frontside 720 among his arsenal of tricks.

With no foam pits in which to safely hone new tricks, wakeboarders such as Bishop take a novel approach to training.

"I do a lot of practice on the trampoline, which is really good for air awareness and handling.

"If it feels all right you just have to go out there and throw it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I'd rather do that over water than over big dirt jumps like the dirt bike guys.

"If we mess up nine times out of 10 you're all right - if they mess up it's broken bones."

The 24-year-old has sharpened his skills in Florida during past northern summers and departs these shores in early May. He will fly to Oklahoma City to meet friends before travelling through Texas and Louisiana en route to a summer riding in Florida.

With 30-40 minutes in a boat costing about $50 for fuel alone, the O'Brien Watersports sponsored rider reckons the sport is not accessible to everyone.

"Gas is the main one because it is endless. The better you get the bigger you want the wake to be, so you put more weight in the boat and it chews through the gas.

"Unless you know someone with a boat or have one yourself it's impossible to do it.

"But hopefully that will be changing soon. There's talk about some more cable parks cropping up. They're basically just a lake with a cable system hooked up similar to ski lifts except it goes round and round. That's what made the sport a lot bigger in America."

Bishop is looking for a strong showing at the nationals to propel him into consideration for the national squad to travel to Korea for the world championships.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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