Since 1999, The Boarder Line has provided an opportunity for people to learn wakeboarding, improve their skills and maybe more importantly meet new friends. For the last eighteen summers our staff has had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of people and creating lasting memories for all involved. At The Boarder Line, we have had our share of memorable experiences with customers, but the story of Payton O’Brien has particularly touched our lives.
Payton began riding with us at the age of six, along with his sisters, brothers and parents. After the winter, Payton’s father Brian came into the shop for opening weekend, as is the custom for so many, to say hello, see the new gear and set up some lessons to get the season under way. I asked him the same question I ask everyone, “How was your winter?” That is when I learned that Payton had begun his battle against cancer and in the process had to have one of his legs amputated at the knee. My heart sank as I went out to the car to talk to Payton. Stickers for his crutches were all I had to offer.
The following season Coach Pat and I had the amazing experience of working with Payton out on the water to get him back on his board and riding again. Coaching is a job for us, but our big reward is that look on the face of a student when they accomplish a personal goal. Payton had that look. The same look from years before when he first began wakeboarding with us. It was truly one of my coolest memories and I will never forget it.
When you witness someone like Payton fight through the challenge of relearning how to wakeboard, it puts your own challenges into perspective. Payton was a powerful young man that fought through some extreme challenges. He touched our lives here at the shop and many of yours here at Sister Lakes. He reminds us to keep trying and to overcome obstacles.
In honor of Payton O’Brien, our annual wakeboard event will now be known as the Payton Power Classic. The Payton Power Classic is a chance for everyone to be powerful, to ride hard and cheer harder. I hope everyone enjoys this day and every day on the water!
Our annual wakeboard contest, The Payton Power Classic, is an all ages/all levels contest out in front of the shop. The families of Round Lake allow us to use the East side of the lake one Saturday morning each summer to let the riders of Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana showcase their skills. It is a great time and all are welcome to come out and enjoy music, riding, sun, fun and a raffle that benefits Lurie Children’s Tribute Program to honor Payton. Hope to see you there!