There are many things that two young men making the long trip from Red Deer to Barrhead might discuss.
Eric Watson and Ashley Sinnamon invested the time pondering the feasibility of a wakeboard coaching business. And by the time the longtime friends had completed their journey, the foundation for Awaken Industries had been established.
Watson and Sinnamon, 25 and 27 respectively, are now teaching wakeboarding, wakeskating and wakesurfing at Sylvan Lake. They have a full range of equipment, from wetsuits to boards, as well as a specially designed boat with a built-in video camera and ballast tanks to help produce big waves.
The Red Deer residents have also brought their considerable enthusiasm for watersports to Awaken Industries.
That enthusiasm is what inspired their business talk during the drive to Barrhead to pick up Sinnamon’s truck last fall.
“We always thought it would be cool to start a clothing company, and we thought we could do it together with a wakeboard business,” said Watson.
The clothing side of the business, which includes T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants and other items with the Awaken Industries logo, was launched in December.
“We mostly just promoted that through the winter.”
The partners got their boat, named Wake Setter, last month and have been coaching ever since. The weather hasn’t co-operated, but Watson still sees plenty of potential.
“There’s definitely interest around town.
“I’m just trying to get our name out there in as many ways as I possible can.”
That includes sponsorship of the 2010 Wakeboard Provincials in Alix on Aug. 7.
“We’re going to have a booth there where we’re going to be selling our clothes.”
As for time on the lake, much of the business has come from out-of-town visitors, particularly Calgarians and Edmontonians.
“Most anyone who grew up around here knows someone with a boat on Sylvan,” explained Watson.
He and Sinnamon, who have two other friends available to help as needed, will give customers whatever level of instruction they require — or simply provide the boat power for those already adept at water boarding. Both have taken coaching courses.
“We’ll always tell you a couple pointers, even if you’ve done it before.”
Wakeboarding, said Watson, is like snowboarding — complete with the bindings. Wakeskating involves a smaller board with no bindings.
In the case of wakesurfing, the boat travels in a circular motion to create a wave that can be continuously surfed on.
“It’s pretty neat when you see it for the first time,” said Watson.
Although he and Sinnamon have jobs to occupy them in the winter, they hope to operate their lake business for as much of the year as possible. Having drysuits should help, said Watson.
“We can really extend our season. We can get out there whenever the ice melts, basically.”
Additional information about Awaken Industries can be found on the business’s website at www.awakenindustries.com/services.asp.