The Valdosta Daily Times
In college, many dream of their future career paths and, while some may seem far fetched, some people are able to make theirs a reality. Luke Tilt and Quinn Silvernale were able to do just that.
At only 26 years old, while most recent college graduates are still scrambling to figure out what to do with their lives, Tilt and Silvernale have already been running their own business since July 2012. While both are originally from the Atlanta area, they didn’t meet until becoming roommates at Valdosta State University. Both wakeboarders, they noticed a lack of that culture in this area.
“Down here there was really no way to do it, so we ended up doing a lot of ‘wenching’, it’s like a gas motor that you can hook up to the back of your car that pulls you at 23 mph pull a rope out and it pulls you back in,” explains Silvernale. “We always talked about how cool it would be to open up a park.” Sitting around and writing out ideas for their dream park, it still always felt like more a fantasy idea than something that would one day become real.
However, after graduating from VSU and a bit of waiting, they were finally able to get the right people on board and get the funding to open their business. While they could have returned to their Atlanta homes or attempted to try their business in a bigger city, they opted to stay in Valdosta to help locals escape from the blistering southern heat. With the college and military base and little for young people to do outdoors, hitting the water seemed like the perfect answer.
Snagging a prime location down the road from Wild Adventures and near I-75, they are also able to draw in travelers just passing through. Using their 10 acres to the fullest extent, the Valdosta Wake Compound offers something for everyone to enjoy. Cables allow for beginners to learn at whatever pace they feel comfortable with while also giving pros the excitement they crave. Contrary to popular belief, any skill level can enjoy learning the sport.
“We’ve had everything from five year olds to 70 year olds,” says Silvernale. All gear can be rented there and all of it is top of the line to spoil their guests.
They are still trying to help locals overcome their fears of trying something new. “I can’t even tell you how many times people get out here and say ‘Oh I’d kill myself trying that’, but we’ve never had anyone die so that’s not true,” laughs Silvernale.
The Valdosta Wake Compound will only continue to grow as years progress and hope to turn it into a social hotspot and to cover all action sports. Recently purchasing 30 more acres, plans are in motion for the future of the compound, which will include another circular lake for 8 or 9 people to be able to ride at the same time. Talks of a drive-in theater are also on the table along with a skate park. “It’ll be the only one of its kind in the US,” says Silvernale.
For more information about upcoming events or about spending the day at the Valdosta Wake Compound, call (229) 375-3060. Some of their upcoming events include a contest taking place May 24 and 25 with skateboarding and wakeboarding and Summer Shred Camps starting in June.