6 May, 2021 @ 10:00
2 mins read

Discover the thrill of wakeboarding at Cordoba’s Xtreme Gene Watersports—and the benefits of lake water in hydrating and steaming out the sinuses

Cristina Hodgson, waterskiing at Xtreme Gene, Cordoba

BEING sport mad as I am, any opportunity to try new, exciting and thrill-seeking sport is a must on my bucket list, even if I’ve never heard of the full throttle tubing experience I’d signed up for—the more adventurous the better, or so I boast.

But on the wrong side of 40 and with a keener sense of danger since motherhood forms part of who I am, I was somewhat nervous on my drive to Almodovar del Rio in Cordoba, where Xtreme Gene Watersports are located.

3 Xtreme Gene Sunset
Stunning view of Embalse de la Breña II in Almodovar del Rio. Location: Xtreme Gene Watersports.

However, as soon as I set foot on Europe’s most popular wakeboard, wakesurf and waterski camp, the shimmering green alkaline lake that could be seen in the distance, together with the rustling, restful woodlands around, swallowed up any pre-nervous in an instant—that together with the four-legged welcome committee who had come to greet me, wagging tails, which I was later infomed, belonged to Snoop, Choco, Lambsy and Loca.

Then, before I knew it, after a quick chat and coffee with Debbie Kelly, co-owner of Xtreme Gene Watersports, I had a life jacket strapped to me and was about to experience first hand what wakesurf—the newest craze in watersports—was all about.

4 Xtreme Gene The Boats
Embalse de la Breña II and Xtreme Gene Watersport’s wooden jetty area.

But first a demo exhibition by the current European Wakesurf Champion, Jordan Elizondo-Darwin, also wakeboard and wakesurf head coach at Xtreme Gene.

5 Jordan
Jordan Elizondo -Darwin: Wakeboard & Wakesurf Head Coach. Previous Spanish Wakeboard Champion and current European Wakesurf Champion.

With the fresh air on my face and the wind playing with my hair, for an instant I fancied myself to Jackie O in her prime on the Christina, with the advantage that I got to watch Jordan in action.

Cristina Hodgson enjoying a morning out on the boat with the Xtreme Gene crew in Cordoba.

Though I’m sure all the flips, spins and aerial somersaults he performed have a technical name, for the sake of simplicity, I’ll just abbreviate them as ‘all freaking impressive’ and I was given the best masterclass I could have wished for.

Not that anything of what I had just seen was remotely feasible for me to pull off of course, getting out of the water on the skis, without swallowing a gallon of lake water would be rated as success in my books.

Jordan Elizondo -Darwin in action on the water.

And so then it was my turn, I carefully listened to the instructions given to me by ski coach Matthew Southam, co-owner of Xtreme Gene with wife Debbie, formally ranked in the top 10 in the world in waterskiing, but for the life of me—and I blame it on the throttle of the speedboat’s motor and not my age—I couldn’t hear a word of what he shouted at me.

Something about knees bent, arms stretched… Vroom, Vroom, Vroom! And I was off!!

Miraculously I did get out of the water on the skis without swallowing a gallon of lake water!

Cristina Hodgson, waterskiing at Xtreme Gene, Cordoba
First-time waterskier Cristina Hodgson at Xtreme Gene in Cordoba.

The water came later, and it was like an intense hydrating and steaming out of the sinuses as my knees wobbled, legs buckled and I tumbled into the lake, where the fresh water sprayed up my nose and I do believe out through my ears again.

Cristina Waterskiing
Cristina Hodgson water skiing at Xtreme Gene, Cordoba.

I effectively got the best of both worlds, an intense spar session mixed with the personal satisfaction that I can now say I walked on water—if only for a split second.

Mission accomplished and a huge thanks to the Xtreme Gene team for such a fun day out! (And the towel).

2 Xtreme Gene Final

For more information:[email protected]


Cristina Hodgson

Half English, half Spanish animal person. Cristina loves writing about all things fitness, travel and culture, she is also a script writer and novelist. When she's not typing away, you can find her enjoying outdoor sports somewhere off the beaten track in Andalucia. If you have a story get in touch! [email protected]

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