In March 2015 I began dreaming up the possibility of having a winter wakeboarding school in Fort Myers, Florida. I clearly recall the day I first spotted the Caloosahatchee River. I was crossing the I-75 Bridge on my way to Revolution Cable Park and thought to myself, “Wow now THAT would be a great place to ride!” That exact moment catapulted me into drawing up plans to explore the area’s potential.
After extensive research and prayer, my wife and I felt that this was a place that God has set apart just for us. Ft. Myers offers a warmer winter climate than Orlando and also a gap in the market for a wakeboarding school. In the spring of 2015, I took a trip personally to ride on the river to make sure all was well on that end. The following spring, Sydney and I spent a month in Ft. Myers with boots on the ground evaluating the area and networking.
We made our official decision and by faith moved to Ft. Myers October of 2016 missing one vital thing…the boat! We intended on bringing the MasterCraft X46 we had used the previous summer, but ole’ orange found a new, really good home the day before we left for Florida. This was a blessing as it would’ve had to survive the hurricane that went through Orlando (as we detoured there for our trip to the Punta Cana Pro) AND we discovered later that it wasn’t the boat to fit our needs down south.
Never give up on God’s promises for your life.
It was difficult having huge expectations to begin working right away when we got to Florida, but with no boat it felt like there was no hope. I immediately began scouring the internet and the country for the perfect boat to meet our needs in Florida. By complete happenstance, I had a conversation with a gentleman who operates a major wakeboarding school in New Jersey that fully understood the type of boat that we needed. He explained to me that the brackish water that we will be riding on could be harmful to a non-saltwater series boat and taught me the ins and outs of what I needed to know. Oddly enough it was that day that I came across the perfect boat, a MasterCraft XStar SS.
We wanted to pursue the boat immediately but were unable to acquire the needed funding to purchase it. This is where faith set in. If God wanted us to have this specific boat, that He would make a way. It was a month later when we got a call from our wake school student’s father saying that he wanted to sow into our what we do with a sponsorship through his company, 5 Star Masonry.
God is faithful to make a way when we can’t see one.
We had no idea the amount that he was considering, but when we received the sponsorship check we were floored by the amount! It totaled over half of the amount of the boat that we were praying for. This put the purchasing process into overdrive, as we were able to come up with the remaining amount for the boat. This was certainly a divine opportunity. God aligned all the right puzzle pieces at just the right time.
My mom and dad happened to be leaving Missouri for Ft. Myers with their truck days later for a social event. Being the awesome dad he is, my dad generously offered to take me along detouring over to Texas to help me purchase and pick up the boat. It was tight quarters in the truck filled with my mom and dad, their dog and cat, me, and all of our luggage. This was the beginning of a journey that I will never forget.
Once in Dallas, we were disappointed to find that the dealership where the boat was stored was closed, but thankfully a few mechanics happened to be onsite. They were kind enough to help us locate the boat and answer some questions that we had. My dad is definitely the guy you want around when purchasing a boat (he has a LOT of questions and knew how to get things done).
There’s no such thing as ‘too many questions when making a big purchase.
It was nearly dark by the time we finally trailered the boat to a nearby lake for water testing. I recognized that the boat was in what’s called limp mode. This prevents the boat from accelerating beyond a certain RPM. If there was a big issue, we would not be able to make the purchase. The thought of driving all that way and leaving empty handed made my heart race, putting me in immediate prayer mode.
My prayers were quickly answered when a mechanic who happened to be close by came to the rescue. In less than five minutes, he diagnosed the problem, briefly did an override for us to water test, and assured us that other than a small part we needed, that the boat was in perfect working condition. Sometimes life requires a leap of faith. That’s exactly what we did. We purchased the boat for an amazing price, ordered, and later installed the part the mechanic suggested, which worked perfectly by the way.
Sometimes life requires a leap of faith.
The race was on then to get my parents to Florida on time for their social event. It was 9pm by the time we closed the deal and hit the road again. I sat in the truck exhausted to my core from everything that had happened, relieved to see manifestation of what we were praying and believing God for, for so long.
For some reason, when God is in the middle of doing something big and awesome is when we start facing challenges. This trip was not without its challenges as we battled flu symptoms, storms, fatigue, a flat tire in the rain, a missing bolt from the boat tower and more. I praise God for endurance to keep going and pressing in, not letting hindrances deter me from His promises.
There was nothing better than arriving in Ft. Myers, Florida safely. Once the new part was installed, the boat ran like a champ. It’s so healthy. Wakeboarding on the Caloosahatchee River is a personal dream come true. I’m able to wakeboard for miles on its straight, deep, and wind protected waterway. It’s an incredible feeling and an experience I’m excited to share with my wakeboard school students.
Wakeboarding on the Caloosahatchee River is a personal dream come true.
Reflecting back, it blows me away realizing all the pieces that had to fit together to arrive where we are now. God has confirmed and re-confirmed within me that He loves us, roots for us, and always has our best interests in mind. All those times that I got into worry, doubt, and fear it didn’t do me any good. They just stole from my present reality. When I truly gave the situation COMPLETELY over to God and started praising Him was when we started to see breakthrough. This goes to show that God’s always got our back. I am so thankful to serve a loving God that makes situations like this possible. Through faith anything is possible. I am looking forward to experiencing many more breakthroughs like this on this journey of expanding our wakeboard school in Fort Myers.
I want to sincerely thank Barry White and 5 Star Masonry for the abundant gift they sowed into our business. I don’t even have words…Sydney and I am forever grateful and humbled by your generosity.
I’d also like to thank my parents for always being there to help me accomplish my dreams no matter what. You go above and beyond. I love you guys.
Lastly, I want to thank Rusty Rahm and Wake Effects for supporting our dream of becoming a highly sought after wakeboarding school.