X-treme; Wake-up call;

The only criterion for extreme sports is that there are no rules: you can ride any surface, and while gravity can never be defeated, it can be fooled for a few precious heartbeats.

Wakeboarding delivers enough excitement to attract adrenaline junkies, and gives mortals the chance to pull moves straight out of a Batman comic.

Wakeboarding adheres to the cult of "sideways", and shares many characteristics with waterskiing, but it is entirely different in application and attitude.

Waterskiing boats have hulls designed to cause as little water disturbance as possible. Wakeboarding flips the concept with boats that create as much disturbance or "wakes" as possible.

Riders uses the wakes to launch themselves into the air; "raleys", "hoochie- glides", "tantrums" and "s-bends" - the aerial manoeuvres may sound like a different language, but wakeboarding is addictive for those who try their hand at the world's fastest-growing watersport.

Nick and Julz Heaney are both former waterskiing champions who switched codes. Unlike most British extreme-sports protagonists, the Heaney bothers are among the best in the world at their chosen event.

"There is a lot more free-riding compared to waterskiing," says 20-year-old Julz. "In waterskiing, you have to be very controlled and perform tricks in a certain way. Wakeboarding is about going out there and doing what you want.

"You get points for style and creativity, so you're encouraged to ride against the norm and try something new."

The brothers' success means that they rarely see their native Newcastle and have to suffer extended trips to sun-kissed locations like Orlando, Florida.

"You feel so free out there," says 22-year-old Nick. "It feels like you can walk on water.

"When you're on the edge of your board, it's an amazing rush. The more you do it, the better you want to get."

Wakeboarding is growing rapidly in the UK, with many retailers selling five wakeboards (costing pounds 200-pounds 600 each) for every pair of waterskis. Naturally, the expressive nature of this new discipline, in addition to links with other board sports, means that converts are usually teenagers.

As a complete novice, the most important lesson I learnt was to keep your mouth closed when wiping-out at speed - reservoir water isn't too tasty.

Last week, at the UK's biggest extreme sports festival, XS 98, at Donington Park, I finally managed to stand up. With my knees slightly bent and my weight spread evenly between both feet, I carved over the wakes feeling indestructible ... until I wiped out.

You can increase your own speed by steering wide of the boat and carving back in, but hitting the wakes at speed is a heart-in-the-mouth experience.

Turning is smoother than snowboarding, as you don't have to worry about catching an edge, but riding (and jumping) off the wakes requires considerable skill and training.

Many clubs offer tuition and equipment hire at reasonable prices, and, considering the price of equipment, this is by far the best route.

Wakeboarding is very tiring on the arms, and after a few minutes you can understand why top riders train every day. But, as you lie gasping for breath on the bank, you realise it's one of those activities that you're desperate to try again and again and again.

Alister Morgan

For further information, and details of your nearest club, call the British Waterskiing Federation (0171-833 2855)

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished

TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies

Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable