Third annual Rock the Wake is filled with fun and surprises for everyone
The Hyperlite wakeboarding team’s Super Air Nautique G23 boat tows Aaron Aubrey into the waters of Emerson Lake. Photo by Maddie Musante
July 2 — Hundreds of Lassen County residents flocked to the shores of Emerson Lake in Susanville to watch professional wake boarders show off their skills on the water Saturday, June 22.
The event wowed spectators with wild stunts, an impressive wakeboarding boat and a few surprises, namely when event organizer, Nick McBride, stopped in the middle of wakeboarding and proposed to his girlfriend, Wendy Billett.
McBride made the proposal a surprise for everyone. He told the event’s announcer his plan right before heading onto the water for a wakeboarding session. In the middle of wakeboarding, McBride feigned a knee injury to get the driver to stop and take him to shore where Billett was sitting. “I got out of the water and was holding my knee,” McBride said, which is how he got Billett to come over to him.
McBride began planning the proposal two months ago when he bought Billett’s engagement ring at Leslie’s Jewelry in Susanville. According to McBride, the couple began dating at last year’s Rock the Wake, so the setting was fitting. He enlisted his friend and brother-in-law to stand on the shore near Billett with the ring, so he wouldn’t have to risk wakeboarding with it. Billett was overwhelmed with tears of joy as she accepted his proposal and received an outpouring of congratulatory sentiments from friends, family and onlookers.
The event drew a larger crowd than last year and succeeded in raising funds that will go to several local charities and organizations, including the Lassen High School welding shop, Lassen County Farm Bureau scholarships and the Susanville Area Bicycle Association. According to McBride, the event saw approximately 600 people throughout the day, which is more than last year.
Spectators enjoyed watching the crew of professional wakeboarders, including members of the Hyperlite team, show off their skills on the water, as well as watching Mountain Lifeflight fly into the golf course before the event began. Food and beverages were also available, provided by the Susanville Area Bicycle Association and Lassen Ale Works.
Spectors weren’t the only ones having a good time, however. According to McBride, Rock the Wake is one of the most fun events for the wakeboaders who participate in it.
“The riders go crazy about it,” McBride said, “they said it’s the best hospitality they’ve had at any event.”
Unlike other professional wakeboarding events, Rock the Wake allows wakeboarders to be put in the spotlight in front of adoring fans, but without the stress of competition. They can come, have a good time wakeboarding, relax, meet people and not have to worry about anything. After the event, the wakeboarders went to Lassen Ale Works for dinner and drinks then headed to Diamond Mountain Casino where they were staying.
The question of whether Rock the Wake will have a fourth year still hangs in the air and most likely will until next spring. According to McBride, it all depends on the weather and the water. The water at Emerson Lake is used for irrigation, so there is always the chance there won’t be enough water in the lake to wakeboard. According to McBride, the event organizers are never really able to start planning until two months before. For now, McBride is just hoping for a good winter with lots of snow and rain.