CORNELIUS – For 23-year-old Carter Cornelius, there's nothing quite like the anticipation that builds as he prepares for a day of snowboarding. His best friend, Jamie Morton, calls it his "life hobby."
"When you're on the top of that mountain, it's just you, the mountain, and the line that you pick out," Cornelius said. "And each and every time you do it, there's a creative expression about it. It's fun and just freedom. That's the word I'm going to go with."
A resident of Lake Norman since he was 3, Cornelius has lived in Davidson, Huntersville and Cornelius throughout his life.
But on the campus of Appalachian State University, he jokes he majored in snowboarding.
"I went up there – changed majors five times – and realized that it was time to stop wasting my parent's money. I came back home to figure out what I wanted to do," he said.
Spending afternoons wakeboarding under the sun on glistening Lake Norman and braving frigid temperatures to snowboard in Boone kept Cornelius feeling active while in school.
"There's a feeling that comes with strapping on your boots. Reality kind of disappears when you get on the board," he said. "When I was in Boone, I came to the realization that I had lived a pretty fortunate lifestyle. So I kind of took that humility I'd gained from my parenting and how I'd been raised and thought, 'There's probably quite a few kids out there that don't get to experience this.'"
At the tail end of December, he launched a website for his limited liability corporation, Liquid Movement. Its purpose is to "spread the shred" by selling sport-related products and using 100 percent of the proceeds to send underprivileged children in the area to snow and wakeboarding camps.
Two T-shirts designed by local artists called "Bashing Sea" and "Home Brew" are on sale for $25. Cornelius wants to extend the product line to include hats by March.
"I hadn't expected it to do so well until the spring and summer months came around," he said. "Actually, we've done surprisingly well. It's been a lot of fun signing onto the website and seeing the traffic."
With the aid of Morton, who studied economics at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, Cornelius plans to turn Liquid Movement into a nonprofit in 2014.
"Carter's been my best friend since I was 3 years old. We've been through a lot together. He's my current roommate," Morton said. "We've taken similar life paths, and I think we've both grown up being interested in extreme sports. I grew up where my parents could afford to get me a wakeboard, which is not a cheap commodity. I think we have a lot of passion for giving back to the community."
Liquid Movement has begun talking to IcyWakes Surf Shop in Cornelius to plan a wakeboarding day camp this summer in Lake Norman for kids from The Ada Jenkins Center or The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Charlotte.
Morton volunteered at Ada Jenkins through the Boy Scouts as a youth, while Cornelius helped Davidson Elementary students with math homework as part of community service projects at North Mecklenburg High School.
Liquid Movement's vision is to eventually offer wakeboarding camps in Boone and extend summer activities to places up and down the eastern seaboard like Jibtopia Wake Park in Semora, N.C.
"We want the kids to get out there, let off steam and experience what they've never been able to do before," Morton said.