Chattanooga’s extreme sport, Wakeboarding

By Lauren McFall

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC) — Being a beautiful outdoor city, Chattanooga has something for everyone, including those adrenaline junkies who are always looking for a new kick. The Chattanooga Wakeboarding scene is a small one but grows in strength and popularity every year.

Most of the riders in Chattanooga are “home-grown”, local riders who have been enjoying the sport before it was even called Wakeboarding. Some of the first wakeboards were hybrids of surfboards and a slalom ski, affectionately named, the Skurfer.

Trying to find good water in Chattanooga is a skill, and a best kept secret. Many riders choose to get a pull on the lake, but the veterans know where to find the good water, or “butter”. Location, time of day and the amount of boats in the water is key.

For both veteran and potential riders, having the right gear, board and bindings is everything. Top companies like Liquid Force, CWB, Hyperlite, and Byerly produce cutting edge products every season.

Local rider, Stephen Snyder prefers a specific company, “ I love Liquid Force’s stuff, they consistently have the best boards, I ride a 136 Shane with 2009 Watson Bindings.”

Besides having the right gear you of course need a boat. Knoxville, Tenn. is the headquarters for one of the biggest boating companies in the world. MasterCraft Boat Company is also is the sponsor of the Pro Wakeboard Tour.

The MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour is a five-stop series across the U.S. in which the world’s top professional riders compete for cash prizes and the coveted position of Pro Wakeboard Tour Champion.

Team Billabong sports some of the best in the business.

This year in 2009 is an exciting year for the PWT. Since the first tour in 1992, the PWT has made the same five stops across the U.S. This year the tour will make its debut in three new cities. This year the tour returns to visit Fort Worth, Texas and Reno/Sparks, Nev., along with new stops in Knoxville, Tenn., Louisville, Ky., and Pleasant Prairie, Wis. In the Wakeboarding business there can be a promising future, wakeboard and boat companies sponsor both men and women on a professional level.

Typically if a rider is accomplished enough to be professional, companies will sponsor riders as a means of marketing and advertising. Having a company give you a $70,000 boat for free isn’t bad for doing something you love, is it? Besides tearing up the water, many wakeboard enthusiasts engross themselves in all aspects of the sport. Traditionally, every season a Wakeboarding film is released and the big front-runner for the 2009 season is Billabong’s first wake film,  Out of the Pond.

Wakeboarding films are made to inspire, and boy this one does not disappoint. Billabong thought out of the box and out of the U.S. Exotic backgrounds such as the Philippines, Tahiti and the United Kingdom are just a few of the amazing locations featured in the video.Team Billabong also sports some of the best riders in the business, riders who always go big and have a style all their own. Shawn Watson, a 13-year veteran, known for his “sty-lee” and smooth riding, is just one of the professionals front-lining the video.

Other riders of Team Billabong consist of, 2000 Pro Wakeboard Tour winner Chad Shape, 2002 World Wakeboard Champion Erik Ruck, two-time Wakeskate WWA Champion Brian Grubb, 2005 Junior Men’s Pro Tour Champion Kevin Henshaw, and last but not least, four-time Pro Wakeboard Tour Champion, Danny Harf.

The video is set to be released in the spring of 2009. Only certain venues will show the film but you can count on Orlando, FL. the U.S. capitol of Wakeboarding to have several venues featuring the state of the art film.

Pro Wakboard Tour Champion, Shawn Watson.

Pro Wakeboard Tour Champion, Shawn Watson.

Now you know what gear you need, you’re inspired, what’s next? Chattanooga offers several ways for you to find local riders and even schools that can get you out on the water in no time.

Websites like, and offer forums for local riders to find other riders, gear and boats for sale, and general discussions about the sport they love. Chattanooga also has its own Wakeboarding school, Wakeup Boarding School will be starting its fourth season this May.

These websites are also great for finding local competitions, B&B Marina is hosting its yearly event on June 20th, and for the first time ever, the Pro Wakeboard Tour will have one of its five stops in Knoxville, Tenn.

Other websites connect riders across the nation and globe. Websites like Boarding Space, and Wakeboard Magazine are communication networks like Myspace or Facebook, connecting riders from California to the United Kingdom.

Sound Off: 2009 graduates, it’s time to think ahead

By Lauren McFall

CHATTANOOGA (UTC)—Students graduating during the year 2009 are rethinking their career goals after college. Maybe grad school or moving back home isn’t such a bad idea. This year, 1.5 million students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree and will be competing for a job in a market that already has 1.8 million unemployed degree holders.

With the average salary down 2.2% compared to last year, The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports that the typical senior who was once promised a salary of $49,624 will now receive a lower income of $48,515.

Not all majors are seeing a decrease in salary. Majors that require credentials such as Engineering, Accounting and Finance are seeing an increase as high as 2.3%

Graduates are doing all they can to either further their education, find an internship, or use networking to ensure they have a good start in this slow economy.

Natalie Roy, a UTC senior believes that networking will come into play more than just having good work experience, “I’m trying to talk to people, it seems like now it’s not what you know or how well you have done, it’s who you know and what they can do for you.”

Words of encouragement and good advice are worth their weight in gold for the soon to be graduates. Chris Gardner a self-made entrepreneur and philanthropist who inspired the autobiography and feature

Gardner gives hope for soon to be graduates.

Gardner gives hope for soon to be graduates.

film, “Pursuit of Happyness,” will speak at UC Berkeley on Friday, May 22.

“Hopefully, I can impress upon them that this is a time of opportunity, if they follow their passions and are uncompromising in their commitment to hard work and what truly matters”

Katie Gloster, a UTC senior, also gives insight, “I’ve heard from teachers that it’s good to get the work experience before grad school because the company you end up with can help you pay for grad school.”

UTC placement office offers students ways to communicate potential employers.

UTC placement office offers students ways to communicate potential employers.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, like many other colleges, has a placement office that provides a free job posting service for the convenience of students, graduates and employers. Using this important outlet can help students get jobs in their surrounding area.

UTC students can look for local jobs online at, The Times Free Press, and For students looking for jobs in the state of Tennessee, websites like and are also helpful.


What do you think about the current job market? Leave your comments in the space available after this article. Tell us what’s going in your pursuit of work or furthering your studies.

Saving the environment and listening to good music, does it get any better?

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.-Being more “environmentally friendly” is not just a cool thing to do, it can also pay off. Something as simple as turning off your lights, or doing volunteer work may mean that you have a free concert in your future.

On Saturday March 28, at 8:30 p.m., Chattanooga and many other cities around the world are urged to turn off their lights for one hour. Earth Hour, which has become a global sustainability movement, includes over 100 million people, in 35 different countries.

In 2007, Earth Hour started in Sydney Australia with 2.2 million homes turning off their lights for one whole hour. Now in 2009, people are using Earth Hour as an awareness plea to world leaders, to take action on climate change.

Australia’s city of Canberra before and during earth hour.

Australia’s city of Canberra before and during earth hour.

Locally, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, “would like to call on individuals and businesses within Hamilton County to join together to make a statement within our own community.”

If you would like to donate more of your time to the cause, volunteering your time for the Earth Day Network can be both beneficial to you, and the environment.

On March 23, 2009, the Green Apple Festival and Earth Day Network released a line up for the free “Green Apple Thank You Concerts,” concerts for those who volunteered their time in designated cities around the country, focusing on climate change solutions.

The artist line-up consists of Galactic, Travis Tritt, Soulville and Friends, Cracker,  and The Blue Scholars, which are all performers of the no admission festival.

Country singer Travis Tritt is scheduled to perform in Austin, TX. On April 20, 2009.

Country singer Travis Tritt is scheduled to perform in Austin, TX. On April 20, 2009.

The closest designated city to the Chattanooga area, is Atlanta, GA. Projects in designated areas will consist of working in parks, beaches, schools and forests  and will focus on climate change solutions like tree planting, energy efficiency retrofits, water protection, urban gardens and forest restorations.

Galactic and Friends, a leading funk and jazz instrumental band from New Orleans, LA. will be playing with opener Victoria George at the Variety Playhouse.

The projects are suitable for all ages, including children and families. Earth Day Network sponsors these activities to encourage active lifestyles while connecting volunteers with green products and solutions.

Earth Day can be celebrated every year, by doing what you can to raise awareness and help clean up the environment. In the Chattanooga area, tree planting, recycling and education programs have been held in the past to help the cause.

Joining the Chattanooga Green Committee, Take the Mayors Environmental Pledge and the Take Root program are just a few ways to get involved and make a difference in the environment.

Local Music in the Chattanooga Area


A favorite local Chattanooga pub.

A favorite local Chattanooga pub.

By Lauren McFall

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/Mocs News) — Local music in Chattanooga Tenn. is rich with diversity and easy to find. Many places such as The Local, Market St. Tavern and Tremont Tavern offer artists a chance to be heard.


Local artist, Tim Cofield plays at Tremont Tavern open mic night every Tuesday. ““Great venue for local artists to come out and try a new song.” Cofield moved to Chattanooga from Minneapolis but was originally from our northern neighbors, Canada.


Cofield plays with a unique and inspiring sound.

Cofield plays with a unique and inspiring sound.

Drawing inspirations from Blue Grass and Folk music like the Carpenters, Cofield made the sound his own, adding in a little bit of Rock and Roll. Cofield has his own myspace page where you can listen to his unique sound.


Tremont Tavern located at 1203 Hixson Pike, known for having a great band and cozy atmosphere is a Chattanooga local favorite. The website also offers a calendar of events, photos, and even a way for local artists to contact the Tavern for possible gigs.


Chattanooga offers many ways for local artist to be heard. is a great way to get in contact with local bars and clubs to set up gigs. The site offers a calendar, forums, and a list of bands who play in the area.

UTC’s Multi-Million Dollar Recreational Center

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC) — The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is getting ready for the grand opening of its new $25 million  Student Recreation Center located on campus across from Mackenzie Arena.

In spring of 1996, SGA president Marty Bell began the project, surveying 1400 students asking whether or not they would be willing to fund a new campus recreation building. In 2002 the building fund fee charged students $50 per semester to pay for the building.

The project was originally set to be finished in spring 2008, but was postponed due to lack of money and the rise of building material costs. Students re-voted and accepted the raise to charge students $90 per semester for the building fund.

The Recreational Center is a multi-million dollar project, built to enrich student life on campus and, according to Ron Nelson director of campus recreation, “ for retention and recruitment of students at UTC.”

Students and alum who were enrolled at UTC between 2002 and 2009 and paid the building fund fee, will have access to the facility. Students have free access to the building for as many years as they paid the fee.

Students have access to facilities such as basketball courts that can be converted into soccer courts, 42 foot climbing tower, 1/8 of a mile indoor track with 360 view of the UTC Community and 14,000 sq ft of exercise space for state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

In spring of 2010, UTC will finish the last phase of the recreation center, an aquatic facility that includes; a lazy river with kayak plunge pool and 30 person bubble bench, five lap line swim area with 30 person hot tub, a two story high water slide, and water basketball and volleyball courts.

Current students can expect to get involved with the building as soon as this summer. Jobs to run the facility will be available and will be assigned through the student recreation office.

To get a first inside look, students can see the building by attending the March 28th opening day party. Students will get a chance to tour the building, meet alumni and examine blueprints for the final phase of the project

Once finished the recreational center will be open 96 hours a week. The only time it will be closed is outside the designated hours and when the University is closed for scheduled holidays.

Michael Phelps Apologizes to Chinese Fans


BEIJING (AP) — Olympic multiple gold medal winner, Michael Phelps apologized to Chinese fans for what he called his “regrettable behavior” after being photographed using a marijuana pipe,



Michael Phelps before the Olympic Games.

Michael Phelps before the Olympic Games.

Phelps, 23, and his representatives have not disputed the photo’s accuracy. Phelps has issued a public apology, acknowledging “regrettable” behavior and “bad judgment” after the photo appeared. USA Swimming has suspended Phelps for three months and the Kellogg Co. has cut ties with him, although other sponsors are sticking with the swimmer


Phelps spoke via the Internet on a video that appeared on Chinese-language Web sites. Phelps recorded the Internet video for automaker Mazda. Mazda is reported to be paying Phelps more than $1 million to endorse the car brand in China.

Last month Phelps was back in Beijing —where he won all of his eight gold medals — to do commercials and endorsements for the automaker Mazda.

Like most of his major sponsors, Mazda is apparently sticking with Phelps as a spokesman. However, the Kellogg Co. has cut ties with Phelps, saying it had made a business decision not to extend his endorsement contract. The cereal and snack maker said Phelps’ behavior was “not consistent with the image of Kellogg.”


Michael Phelps is one of the most decorated athletes in Olympic history.

Michael Phelps is one of the most decorated athletes in Olympic history.

Chinese papers have followed the Phelps controversy closely, dubbing it “marijuana gate.”


Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.


Motocross rider Jeremy Lusk dies from head injury

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — Jeremy Lusk, a freestyle motocross rider, died from his head injuries he received from an attempted back flip on his bike that went wrong. Lusk was only 24.

Jorge Ramirez, chief of the intensive care unit at Calderon Hospital, where Lusk was taken, said the motocross racer suffered severe brain damage and a possible spinal cord injury. He died Tuesday.

Lusk won a gold medal at the 2008 X Games. He was injured Saturday night when he failed to complete a full rotation while attempting a Hart Attack backflip and slammed headfirst into the dirt. Lusk crashed in almost identical fashion in the freestyle semifinals at the 2007 X Games but was not hurt.

He had a successful 2008 season, winning Freestyle gold at the X Games and silver in Best Trick when he landed the first double-grab Hart Attack backflip. A video was made in his tribute;




He won a bronze helmet in Freestyle at the Moto X World Championships in his hometown of San Diego.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Man Killed By Tree While Minding Own Business in Camper

ATHENS, Tenn. (AP) — A local man and his wife were sleeping in their camper when a large tree smashed on top of the vehicle on Sunday. 

The camper was parked under the tree, and the two-foot trunk fell directly onto the sleeping area of the camper.

The camper was parked under the tree, and the two-foot trunk fell directly onto the sleeping area of the camper.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports 51 year-old Terry Rasmus was killed. The couple was camping at a campground on Interstate 75. His wife, Anita Rasmus, escaped serious injury. 

Anita Rasmus told police she was awakened at around 4 a.m. by the sound of the tree collapsing on top of the camper. She told police it took her more than an hour to free herself from the debris.

Terry Rasmus was taken to Athens Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The newspaper reports Mrs. Rasmus is recovering from her injuries.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.