Garrett Leight

The Central Coast Association of Wakeboarders is an organization dedicated to its sport, the lake lifestyle and teaching members throughout the Central Coast how to ride.

CCAW, pronounced “Ca-Caw!,” has become one of the largest wakeboarding clubs in the nation with over 120 members in just two weeks of existence.

Club founder and President Ryan Andrews said that he and 10 of his friends have been motivated to form something that pushes the sport on the Central Coast.

“Our new club is really trying to get back to the roots of what the old club used to be about,” Andrews said. “Some of those things are riding, hanging out, events, tournaments, demos and introducing new wakeboarders to the sport and giving veteran riders an opportunity to help the sport grow.”

The old Cal Poly wakeboarding club fizzled out last winter when it lost sight of some of these goals and became what many called, “the drinkers’ club.”

“The old club’s entire draw was drinking,” Andrews said. “We’re trying to build a loyal member base… We are all college students, so of course partying always happens, but we don’t advertise it and we don’t buy alcohol for members that are underage.” Ninety percent of CCAW members are Cal Poly students and all 10 board members are students as well.

“We are open to the community, alumni and whoever wants to join and learn how to ride, but our demographic will continue to be Cal Poly students,” Andrews said.

CCAW is also completely self-funded by the 10 board members who all wrote personal checks to start the club.

“This is basically a small business and there’s a lot of capital in starting a business like this,” Andrews said. “The great part is that we can do whatever we want. We are not associated with Cal Poly and we don’t plan to be; we are working on becoming a non-profit organization or something of that nature.”

Andrews, a business major with a concentration in finance, said that managing this club has been perfect for him.

Andrews, who started riding at age 11, became a qualified instructor while working at West Coast Camps last summer for 13 weeks and living on a houseboat. He coached over 170 campers and quickly became a head coach.

“I learned so much in my time there working with the best professionals in the world,” Andrews said. “I made great connections, gained sponsorships for myself and for the club. It’s really helped CCAW gain legitimacy.”

On top of being a successful club, CCAW had even more success two weekends ago at the Long Beach Boardfest, where it tied for second with Arizona State University.

Andrews said that ASU is one of the most nationally renowned wakeboarding schools and also has one of the longest running, successful clubs in the country.

Andrews placed seventh in the men’s competition against some of the top professional college riders in the country. In the women’s competition, Cal Poly’s Julie Martinson took first place while Katie Peters took third. Martinson was named best newcomer of the tournament as the West Coast beat the East Coast 5-4.

Andrews said he is excited about all the quick success the club has seen and knows how hard it can be for those wishing to ride to find a boat and get out to the lake. CCAW has four boats owned by officers and frequently makes trips to Lake Nacimiento, Lake San Antonio and Lopez Lake.

Last weekend, CCAW took 60 members out to the lake for “Learn To Ride Day” and taught 10 people to stand up who had never ridden before. “It was so successful and everyone had so much fun,” Andrews said.

Membership costs $20 per quarter and a $10 gas fee for trips to the lake. All members get a “members only” T-shirt, di-cut stickers, 10 percent off at Copeland’s and discounts from 209 Boardshop in Manteca.

The next CCAW day trip will be Saturday at Lake Nacimiento. CCAW plans on pulling a boat in the homecoming parade on Nov. 5, followed by a trip to Lake Elsinore for their next tournament hosted by USC on Nov. 6.

Those interested in joining the club can contact Ryan Andrews at ryan@ccawakeboarders.com or attend the next meeting on Oct. 25 upstairs in the UU. CCAW is also on the Web at ccawakeboarders.com.

“This area is so rich with wakeboarders and people that want to ride,” Andrews said. “I’d love to stay here for a few more years and continue to push the sport in this area.”

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