The rain was still coming down in Salisbury on Friday when the first text message arrived.
Short and to the point, it read “Let’s go.”
That was promptly augmented by a follow-up report, “Water is slick.”
That phrase in Rowan County is rendered “Surf’s Up.” The same rains that dampened the crowds taking part in the Friday Night Out activities also emptied many of the creeks and coves on High Rock Lake of boat traffic. When the boats leave and the wind quiets down, the surface of the lake becomes smooth as glass. These are the conditions for which water sports enthusiasts bide their time.
The 15-minute drive down to Poole Road soon reveals 18-year-olds Davis Spencer and Cameron Thomas on the banks of Second Creek with two red tubes and $20 of gas in a 19-foot runabout. The $20 buys one hour of adrenaline-charged upper-body workout as the pair of recent East Rowan High School graduates are pulled out onto the playing surface.
With a blaring “Go,” the boat begins its serpentine movements across the lagoon. The tubers swing wide across the slick surface and reach the pinnacle of movement almost perpendicular to the driver. The boat turns and the tubers slingshot back to where they came from, gaining speed with the boat’s wake as the target. Speed, coupled with the watery sloped launching pad, allows a mixed bag of tricks to arise. Barrel rolls, jumps, leaping off the tube at the peak of a jump (bailing out) — these make for an exceptional way to spend a Friday evening.
The rain in the area proved to be little deterrent to the young men who spend many hours on High Rock Lake. Proudly calling themselves “The Rock Boys,” this group of lake dwellers hit the waters in the early spring when the water temperatures are still just below 50 degrees. How is a little rain going to slow their action? It appears that the surf’s up and the water is slick.
Jon Lakey is a photographer at the Salisbury Post.