Josh Galbreath may be an outlaw, but that hasn't stopped both kids and adults from asking him for pointers.
After competing in the outlaw division - also known as semi-pro - for more than a year now, the Thomson man decided to do his part in helping the sport grow. He is now offering lessons from basic skills all the way up to advanced tricks.
Josh Galbreath and a friend are teaching wakeboard lessons in their spare time.
Pretty much any day of the week, Mr. Galbreath can be seen on the lake either practicing his skills or passing his knowledge of the sport on to someone else. Aside from having fun in his element, Mr. Galbreath said the lessons have a positive affect on wakeboarding.
"It gets a lot more people into the sport because even if you've never done it before, we have a board you can try on," he said. "Usually, we'll take people out and let them borrow a board and give them a pull to see how they like it."
The by-appointment lessons take place mostly near the Thomson Boat Club or Germany Creek, but the boat can come to where the students are. And the prices vary according to skill level and amount of time spent in the water.
Rising gas prices have created a strain on Mr. Galbreath's boat budget. To get the right wakes, a ballast in the boat has to be filled with water. The extra weight causes the motor to burn more gas than normal, and lately the lesson prices reflect the amount of gas used.
For those hoping to sign up for a session and learn a back flip right away, Mr. Galbreath has a warning.
"It takes a lot of dedication to learn a trick because you're going to fall a bunch of times, and you're going to get knocked silly a bunch of times," he said. "You just have to keep going with it and just keep tweaking things. It's really hard to get some people to do that, especially younger kids."
It has taken Mr. Galbreath the better part of 15 years of bumps and bruises to get to his current level. This year, Mr. Galbreath is second in the outlaw standings for the South Carolina International Amateur Wakeboard Tour, according to the group's website. He hopes to earn enough points to clinch a spot at the 2005 U.S. Championships in Bakersfield, Cal., October 12-15.
Anyone interested in the lessons can contact Mr. Galbreath at 706-799-6440 or Phillip Brigham at 706-564-0102. But that's not the only way they get customers.
"We love it when people just come up and ask us if they can get a pointer or something," Mr. Galbreath said. "That's how we get a lot of the word out. If you're on the lake just stop us, and we'll tell you about it and set up something."