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Lure of the Lake

Three area boat owners share their special relationship with their boats and the lake they love.

No one argues that taking the boat out for a spin around Lake Norman is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Some area boaters however, connect with the lake in more than a recreational way forming a deeper and more personal relationship that transcends a lazy afternoon on the water.

Here are three Lake Norman boat owners whose extra-special bond with their boats and the lake demonstrate a unique and magical calling.

Elevated spirit

For Jason Hinklin, 28, Lake Norman’s clarion call helped him greave the loss of his mother, Judy, who passed away in June of 2013 from ovarian cancer.

“In May of 2014 I bought a 2007, 21 ft. Malibu Wakesetter, in remembrance of my mom,” said Hinklin, who keeps his boat at a friend’s dock near Stumpy Creek Landing. “I felt her spirit and presence on the lake, how she loved life. I felt her telling me to get a boat and enjoy it.”

Hinklin said being out on Lake Norman brings back fond family memories of growing up on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. When he saw the bright orange boat for sale at a dealer, he felt another connection to his mom. “Orange was her favorite color; it all came into place, I had to have this boat.”

Named “Elevate,” Hinklin’s boat is specifically set-up for wake-surfing, a fast growing sport he enjoys with his father, Darrell, 68, as often as they can. The boat has a special seven foot tower for towing, allowing greater leverage and more air time for wake-surfing. The boat’s swim platform is also modified making a larger wake and greater opportunity for tricks.

“Lake Norman is simply a great place to enjoy life out on the boat,” said Hinklin.

Curious & empowered

It was her milestone 50th birthday that convinced Karen Dobbs she needed to satisfy her growing curiosity with the water, buy a sailboat, and unleash the joy that mastering the art of sailing offers.

Looking to share her love of the open water and the life lessons from sailing with others, Dobbs, 64, founded “Lake Norman Women Sailors” three years ago and revels in helping women realize their sailing goals.

“I loved everything about learning how to sail,” said Dobbs, whose boat is a 26 foot, ’98 Hunter 260 she keeps at WaterStreet Seaport Marina in Cornelius. “I find navigating and the thought process behind capturing the wind exhilarating. It’s a feeling I enjoy sharing. I created my business to provide women an environment where they’d be comfortable.”

Dobbs rigged her boat, “High C’s,” so she can sail it by herself. She says it’s well suited for instruction. “The boat has and easy step through, a high boom and a comfortable downstairs salon where I hold chalk talks and after sail reviews with students,” said Dobbs. “I tell my students, ‘Come curious, leave empowered.’ Learning how to sail really has a powerful effect on people.”

Boat as work truck

Founder of happenings website LKNFun.com, Nate Davis’s time on the Lake Norman Marine Commission was all about finding common ground amongst responsible boaters who share a love of the lake.

Dubbed by some a ‘party liaison,’ Davis, 40, served several past roles on the Commission including president. “Responsible boating and partying on the lake requires respect and etiquette from those on the water and surrounding homeowners,” he said.

Davis is skipper of the oft seen ‘LKNFun boat,’ a Baja Islander 242 that the manufacturer customized with a red, white and blue color scheme. Davis equipped the boat with two separate amplifiers, six speakers, two sub-woofers and vibration board to showcase his handpicked set lists for his lake outings.

Happenings on Lake Norman are more than just recreation for Davis, reporting on them is his business.

“I take a lot photos out on the lake and needed an easy way to get from boat to boat,” said Davis. “So together with a buddy we motorized a paddle boat and attached it to my boat. It’s a fun way to go boat hopping. My boat is my work truck; I call it my F-250 on the water.”

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