UT student with Nacogdoches ties poses for epic graduation photos

(Source: Kaylin Balderrama Photography)
(Source: Kaylin Balderrama Photography)

AUSTIN, TX (KTRE) - A University of Texas student with family ties to Nacogdoches posed for some epic graduation photos while she was balanced on a wakeboard.

The initial post has since gone viral, and news and websites all over the Austin area and Texas have picked up the story.

Carly Morris, the subject of the graduation photos, is the granddaughter of Dr. Ed Furniss, of Nacogdoches. Dr. Eddy Furniss, also of Nacogdoches is her uncle. In addition, Morris was the grand duchess of the 2013 Nacogdoches Heritage Festival.

"It was freezing outside the day we went!" Morris said. "We got on the lake around 9 a.m., and it was 55 degrees, super windy, and cloudy. The water was 65 degrees, so it actually felt warm compared to the air."

Morris said she was pretty nervous on the boat ride to the 360 Bridge in Austin.

"I knew it was going to be difficult," Morris said. "I didn't want to fall in and get everything wet before we got the shot, but it all worked out. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds just as I got my cap and gown on, and I couldn't stop smiling!"

After the first run, Jacob Cope, the boat's driver, helped Morris surf back onto the platform, so she wouldn't get wet. Then they went back for a second run.

"The second time around, I was much more relaxed, and that's when Kaylin Balderrama, the photographer, got the best shots! It was surreal. After surfing for a while and soaking the moment in, I fell into the water, overjoyed and relieved!"

Morris said getting her robe on was the hardest part because she had to twist her body to get her arms in it while she was still holding onto the surf rope.

"With the wind blowing everywhere, I had to maneuver carefully without losing my balance or falling out of the wave," Morris said. "You can definitely see how focused I was in the pictures and videos of me putting the regalia on."

Morris came up with the idea for the graduation photo shoot when she was reflecting on her years at the University of Texas.

"Some of my best days were spent on the lake surfing and wakeboarding with Texas Wake, the wakeboarding surfing club at UT," Morris said. "I'm so glad we were able to pull it off, and I will cherish these pictures forever!"

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