For Clifford Galloway, the sport of wakeboarding caught him in a trance almost instantaneously.
About seven years ago, he was at Bonnyville Beach with a friend and an interest in the sport grabbed him and it hasn't let go since.
"Me and a buddy had a little aluminium fishing boat and we happened to see a wakeboard in the shed," Galloway said. "We decided to try it out and I've been in love with the sport ever since."
It were those small steps on Bonnyville Beach that led to Galloway's most recent accomplishment - placing first in the advanced division for all amateur riders at the WakeRide event on July 10 in Saskatoon.
With thousands of people watching his every move, Galloway said it was an intense experience.
"It was really surreal to be stepping up to the dock, your heart is pumping, there's radio coverage and people are lined up all across the river and in the stands," he said.
Athletes performed at the Rotary Park and River Landing in Saskatoon and passed through a number of the city's old bridges during runs. Riders were asked to land four tricks on one pass and Galloway was very pleased with how his run turned out.
"They give you two passes, from bridge to bridge and you have to be pretty dialled in and really have to plan your run before you go," he said. "To get four tricks in on one pass is really good. You don't want to do the same trick and it's got to be fluid. It all has to come together and you need to show your style, that's what we're judged on."
According to Galloway, during his ride he hit everything he needed and it ensured his championship.
"I did a tantrum (back flip), followed by a scarecrow (front flip 180), then an air railie (stretch out) and ended it off with a toe side back roll (back flip and grab the toe of the board)."
Success in his sport is nothing new to Galloway as he won a provincial title in 2005 and finished seventh in the national competition in 2006.
However, in recent years he has slowed down his participation as college and a more stable career at GenMec ACL has kept him away from the water. But Galloway wanted to point out how supportive his company has been with keeping his dream alive.
"They've really been helping me a lot this year," Galloway said. "They've given me gas money, help with entry fees and allowing me time off to compete. It's really nice to have a local company help out a local rider."
Next up for Galloway will be the nationals, which take place in Edmonton at the end of August.