Dukes brothers riding high on Alabama INT TourPublished 10:27pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013
With school out, and summer in full swing, families are flocking to the lake to enjoy time together.
The Dukes family will be one of those, but don’t expect them to be lounging on the dock.
Nate, 14, and Parker, 13, Dukes compete on the Alabama INT Tour in the wakeboarding division. The Alabama INT Tour kicked off this past weekend at Ft. Rucker, and Nate swept the weekend in his age division.
The INT League provides competitive events in slalom skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, and wakeskating. INT provides a venue that encourages participation for first-time contestants, as well as seasoned tournament competitors. INT League provides an atmosphere where families can ski, wakeboard or kneeboard and play and be together for individual and weekend events.
INT League Divisions are based on ability, providing a competitive setting for those at the same skill level.
The duo got hooked on the extreme water sport while hanging out with friend Colton Meeks, and riding wit him at Gantt Lake near Andalusia. While not a mainstream sport yet, Nate said the event is growing.
“It is getting quite big in Alabama,” Nate said. “We see a lot of the same folks at the events, but there are new riders showing up all the time.
While Nate was busy winning last weekend, younger brother Parker had to watch from the bank, unable to compete while mending an ankle injury.
The younger of the two brothers, Parker said that he owes quite a bit to his older sibling.
“He has been doing it longer than I have, and it is great to be able to bounce ideas of him,” said Parker. “He is always there to help me out.”
The tour will visit three more lakes around the state over the summer, Smith Lake near Jasper, Beeswax Park on Lay Lake in Columbiana and Wheeler Lake near Decatur.
Nate swept the weekend at Lake Tholocco in the season’s first event, giving him a leg up on the competition in the race for a tour title.
Despite the strong run early, Nate doesn’t let it effect him.
“I try to take it one day, or one run at a time,” said Nate. “You can’t think about stuff far off.”
Stephen, Nate and Parker’s dad, said that the families and competitors in the “wake scene” are just like those in travel baseball and other sports.
“We all pull for each other,” Stephen said. “We see a lot of the same folks all summer, and get to know each other well. The kids grow up with each other and develop friendships.”