If zipping across -- or just above -- the waters of northern Georgia and North Carolina while strapped to a wing seems like a good time, then a trip to Lake Chatuge at Hiawassee, Ga., should be part of your plans.
Today through Sunday, the seventh annual Georgia Mountain Fly-In will bring several of the world's best sit-down hydrofoil athletes together to show off the latest tricks and teach the sport to anyone interested in giving it a try.
If you go
What: Seventh annual Georgia Mountain Fly-In
Where: The Ridges Resort on Lake Chatuge, Hiawassee, Ga.
Cost: $60 for riders, $40 for non-riders, $30 15-under
For more info: www.gamountainflyin.com or call Capt. Cliff Woodman at 931-684-5915.
Sit-down hydrofoiling is a relatively new sport in which riders are strapped in a seated position on a board atop a hydrofoil wing and towed by a ski boat. As the rider gathers speed, the hydrofoil acts as a wing in the water and lifts the board and the rider a foot or more above the surface of the lake.
Capt. Cliff Woodman, who is helping organized the event out of The Ridges Resort -- about two hours from Chattanooga -- said he expects 80-100 experienced and novice riders to attend the event, and anyone interested is welcome to register and get instruction on the lake.
"It's still a pretty small, tight-knit community, and there's not a whole lot of riders around the nation," Woodman said. "The mentality is different. ... Even the pros enjoy helping someone new to the sport learn to ride for the first time as much as they enjoy doing flips and other tricks."
Anyone who wants to catch the action from the side of the lake can watch for free, but the cost for those wanting to get on the water is $60 and covers fuel for the boats as well as a dinner Saturday night. Registration for those who just want to take part in the dinner and other activities but not get out on the water is $40, and children under 15 can sign up for $30. Woodman said there are two campgrounds nearby, and lodging also is available at The Ridges.
In addition to teaching the sport to newcomers, more experienced riders will show off their skills with flips and spins out of the water. A "big-air" competition also is planned to see who can jump his or her board the farthest out of the water.
Woodman looks forward to introducing as many people as possible to his sport, although he does warn that once you try hydrofoiling it's very difficult to give it up.
"We tell new people when we take them out: 'Don't ride one unless you plan on buying one,'" he said. "It's that addictive. Every person I've ever taken out gets the cheesiest grin on their face the first time their board pops up out of the water. It's just that much fun."
Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...