Flip Side Watersports reopens for the summer

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Flip Side Watersports faced significant damage earlier this year when an EF3 tornado ripped through Pelham.

Jeremy Talbot and his wife Kristen co-own the business that has become a recurring source of summer entertainment at Oak Mountain State Park for many in the Shelby County area.

Talbot said earlier this year that the storms destroyed his entire vessel fleet with many of the boats being scattered throughout the woods or totally damaged.

However, after months of working and help from a GoFundMe campaign, Talbot has reopened to begin offering programming just in time for the summer months.

“For us the storms were a lot like COVID but in a different way,” Talbot said. “We basically had just reopned for the season. We had put all the final touches on everything and gotten the first week out of the way. We had our reopening and made modifications based on what we wanted to do the rest of the season. Then out of nowhere my wife and I watched the storms unfold on the news. We got out to the park later and realized how bad everything was.”

As for many others affected by the storms, things were bad.

Talbot said that he lost all of his boats and during the cleanup was finding them blown out in the woods or damaged beyond repair. All of the features at the park were destroyed or damaged including their aqua park and their cable control room.

“After the storms passed the county and the state got a lot of their heavy equipment and their best guys and spent a month straight hauling off downed trees,” Talbot said. “We got all of the features back in and started doing repairs which took nearly two months. We got our new building in place for our aqua park and are cable control room was repaired and reroofed. It had shifted off its anchors, but luckily it was not destroyed.”

The process was a grueling one, but Flip Side was able to reopen in time for Memorial Day weekend. Talbot said that he felt compelled to restore the park and reopen to the best of his ability because of the support from the community.

“We are relieved and refreshed to be open,” Talbot explained. “We initially spent a lot of money getting ready for 2021, so we were devastated when everything was damaged. Once we got the recovery money from the donations we felt a lot of pressure to get things back up and running. I felt like we had to move twice as fast.”

While there is still a lot more to do Talbot said that guests will be able to enjoy most of their favorite things that the park offers right now, with the exception of the boat’s rentals being moved to the other side of the park for now.

He said that he was optimistic for what lies ahead this year. Noting that the Flip Side is planning their Mountain Wake Games for Aug. 6-8.

More information about their offerings throughout the season can be found on the Flip Side Watersports Facebook page.