Wakesurfing has exploded over the past 13 years. In 2003 when I was asked by Phase 5 to go to the World Wakesurf Championships I thought yeah, that sounds fun. About 50 people were there to compete and maybe another 30 to watch and cheer on their family and friends. From there they attached the championship to Boardstock out in California putting the sport in front of more people. With bigger crowds on hand for the whole weekend it started feeling more like a “World Championship.” Back then it was basically one or two companies involved. Fast forward 12 years and we now have 21 qualifying stops on the World Series of Wakesurfing with over 500 people competing to get to the top level of the sport. Big name brands are now a part of the sport more than ever before, and wakesurfing continues to grow by leaps and bounds every year. When Nautique first pulled the U.S. National Championships two years ago, a major shift in the sport was recognized. It was the first time for some to experience the G23 and Nautique Surf System. I for one was as excited as ever, not only for the opportunity to compete behind this awesome boat, but for what it meant to our sport.
The real growth in wakesurfing is not at the contest level though. The sport has taken over the lakes and rivers of the world. It isn’t mom and dad pulling their sons and daughters anymore. Now mom and dad are out behind the boat enjoying it as much as the kids. Ten years ago if you were wakesurfing, every boat that drove by you would look at you with that “what the heck are they doing? ” look. Now it is not uncommon to see numerous boats out on the water all wakesurfing.
This sport is growing rapidly and I think where it is heading is a great place. The number of people riding is increasing every year and more and more companies are getting involved. I hope that it doesn’t get too serious and people don’t lose focus on what this sport is all about. Contests and all that jazz are fun but I think everyone needs to remember the reason they started surfing. It is just a great time with friends and family all having fun.
Wakesurfing events are popping up everywhere. Contests are an absolute blast. All the competitors and friends gather in one place for a long weekend and do what we enjoy doing. The contest scene has come a long way. With guys like Scott Culp helping organize and start the Competitive Wake Surf Assoc. (CWSA). The CWSA has been working hard on judging criteria, providing a standard for smaller grass roots events and helping to shape our sport for the future. Personally I have a love / hate relationship with contests. Some people get a little too wrapped up in the contest thing and it can bring out the worst in them. This is the down side for me with contests. On the flip side I am an extremely competitive person and I love the rush of competing. The level of competition has gone through the roof and there are some really talented kids out there. If I go out and ride my best then I’m happy no matter what.
This year has a record number of qualifying events with Nautique providing the towboat for a large number of them. THIS IS HUGE. You might ask why this is such a big deal. Well first off to have a company of Nautique’s caliber fully involved in our sport is good for everyone. Everything they attach their name to, you can assure is done to the highest quality. With events like the Canadian and U.S. Nationals, Wakestock, the AZ Open, Russian Wakesurf Open and the 10K Lakes Open it is easy to see that they are a part of the premier events on the schedule.
Nautique has not only made a commitment to events, but they have made some big commitments to the sport with product development starting with their Super Air Nautique Series boats. The 210, 230 and G-Series have all proven to be the best boats in wakeboarding, and they have created the most versatile and best surf waves in the industry as well with the Nautique Surf System (NSS). This allows you to weight the boat level; yes no more riding sideways all day, and with the push of a button you can switch from the regular to goofy wave in about 3 seconds. This is huge for contests. Now we will be able to use the transfer system in events. Last year at the Nautique U.S. Nationals I took advantage of this and was riding some regular side and then just floated over to ride on the goofy wave that was equally well shaped. From steep to mellow, long to short, just a push of a button and you can adjust this wave to your liking.
Signing with Nautique this year was a total dream come true for me. I have always thought of Nautique as the Top Dog in wake boat companies. From the quality of their boats, to the people running their company and their team full of legends and up coming riders it was a real honor to attach my name to Nautique. To see my name next to guys like Shaun Murray, Scott Byerly, JD Webb and Shawn Watson is still sinking in. I strive daily to be the best athlete and person I can be on and off the water. I have always been very selective about who I represent, and I want to make sure it is a company that reflects who I am and what I am about. Nautique couldn’t be a better fit for me. I am stoked to work very closely with Nautique to continue creating the best wave possible behind a boat.
Wakesurfing is not going away. More contests, more companies involved, and more and more riders showing up to the lakes. It is like a wildfire spreading fast and Nautique is fueling that fire with the amazing products they are making. 2015 is set to be a record year for our sport. I am excited to watch and help our fun sport continue to grow. If you haven’t been out to a wake surf event, look up the nearest Nautique event to you and go check it out. You will be impressed. If you haven’t wake surfed at all, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Get out there and have the time of your life and I encourage all you wakesurfers to teach some one new every chance you get. Remember IT IS ALL ABOUT HAVING FUN! -Drew Danielo-