One of the cooler things about the newest wave of social media is that sports fans can now connect with their favorite stars on a much more personal level. Sure, it feels a little voyeuristic, but there’s just something fun about knowing what these guys are up  to.

Example? Just last week I followed along as Lance Armstrong held an impromptu “Twitter Time Trial” in Hawaii, discovered what the Olympic halfpipe rider Louie Vito really thought of the pipe conditions in Vancouver, and discovered that the Jet Pilot crew was rooting hard for Julia Mancuso in the downhill.

Yes, as a journalist I recognize this “self-reporting” of some news has some serious potential flaws. Are we getting the real story, or just the athlete’s carefully controlled version of it? All in all, however, I see it as just harmless fun for the followers, and a huge bonus in exposure for the higher-profile types letting us get a little closer.

Don’t think the watersports crowd hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon. Also last week, wakeboard star Shawn Watson went public with State of Wake, his personal blog. He’s done a nice job on the site, and it’s currently filled with some info on what he’s been up to, some videos, even a sweet contest link.

Fellow wakeboarder Chad Sharpe has been blogging for a while now. FunWhenWet includes a lot of great behind-the-scenes video of the sport’s stars working on their tricks. It also lets Sharpe have a platform for when he has something important to say, like this post several months back about the dangers of riding without a lifevest.

A few more high-profile type who also tweet or blog are Andrew Adkison, Parks Bonifay, and Phil Soven. Obviously there are a lot more. One of the easiest ways to find them is to Google the name, along with “blog” or “Twitter.” You never know who you’ll find…or more to the point, what you’ll find out about them.