We got the chance this week to catch up with David Deep, Founder of Wake For Warriors, to see what kind of plans he has in the works for the upcoming summer season. If you don’t already know, David and his amazing team take veterans out for a day on the water with their friends and family to relieve stress and create lifelong memories. With events planned all year long, we at Nautique couldn’t be prouder to help support Wake For Warriors and give back to these heroes.
What exactly is Wake For Warriors?
Wake For Warriors is a non-for-profit organization that hosts multi-day watersports camps in several locations across the USA. Our mission is to connect with injured military veterans by sharing our passion for all things wake.
What has been the goal of the program since you started it?
Our goal has been to provide an opportunity for these riders to get on the water after experiencing life-changing injuries. Many of our veterans are learning to wakeboard or surf for the first time ever. Often they are a little apprehensive at first but that doesn’t last long. What motivated us to start Wake For Warriors was the special feeling that they get when riding behind the boat. In the wake, they find a challenge to self, a sense of accomplishment, and a peace that is hard to find in other parts of their lives.
Has that vision or mission changed at all after you began putting on events?
It has. Initially, we were more focused on the mechanics of getting people up and riding and making sure everyone had a good time on the water. However, our mission has evolved into building relationships that last beyond the 3-day event. While we still have a great time at our events, we’ve found that building community and being involved in other parts of our riders’ lives is of greater importance.
What are your plans for 2018?
Right now we have 14 events planned for 2018. We will also be attending the Masters at Callaway Gardens and a few other Nautique-sponsored events. Our events list and details are on our website (wakeforwarriors.org)
Which pro athletes will be in attendance?
We are extremely fortunate to have Jodi Grassman, Drew Danielo, Shawn Watson, Danny Harf and Austin Keen as part of the Wake For Warriors family. We’re hoping to get Mike Dowdy, J.D. Webb and Shaun Murray out to some of our events this year. It’s been really awesome to see these pro athletes show up at our events and jump right in. They not only share their expertise but they’re also great people to hang out with for a few days.
What boats will you have?
The Wake For Warriors team has a Super Air Nautique 230 . Thanks to our partnership with Nautique, we are excited to be adding a Super Air Nautique G23 this year. We will also be partnering with several Nautique dealers across the country to coordinate volunteers and provide boats for our events.
What have been some of the most memorable moments so far?
There have been so many great memories over the years that it’s hard to pick out a few. The Minnesota Wakesurf Championship when Doug (with some encouragement from Drew Danielo ) hit his first transfer during his competition run. Everyone in the boat and on shore went crazy. Tony (our first double amputee participant) riding wakeboard doubles with Shawn Watson was really cool to watch. The expression on the face of Julio the first time he got up on a surfboard after an entire day of falling. Seeing Stefan nail a 360 and then watching him surf standing up on his brand new prosthetics a few months later. When Matt presented me with his Purple Heart medal and thanked me for helping him feel normal again.
Any future plans or ways you want to grow Wake For Warriors in the future?
We are looking for ways to expand without compromising the family atmosphere at our events. We talk about having a facility that we could run our camps out of but no one has hit the lottery yet. We are also opening up slots to non-veterans when we have capacity.
How could someone get involved or donate to Wake For Warriors?
Veteran participants can sign up at wakeforwarriors.org. If someone is interested in hosting an event or volunteering they can send us a message on the website, via Facebook or Instagram. Tax deductible donations can be made on wakeforwarriors.org
Apr 27-30, 2018
Lake Olympia, Florida 34761, USA
May 3-6, 2018
Lake Austin, Texas, USA
Wake For Warriors Partners with Get Wet With a Vet and One More Wave
May 17-20, 2018
Navy Recreation Facility Lake Allatoona with MarineMax Atlanta
Jun 7-10, 2018
Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, Hosted by: Bill’s Marine Service.
Jun 20 - 25, 2018
Lake Harding, GA
In partnership with Team Semper Fi.
Jun 27 - 29, 2018
Lake Norman, North Carolina
In partnership with Pass The Handle
Jul 18 - 22, 2018
Lake Minnetonka, MN
Wake For Warriors teams up with MarineMax on Lake Minnetonka, Wiggle Your Toes and the Minnesota Wakesurf Championship
Jul 26 - 29, 2018
Skaneateles, NY 13152
Aug 16 - 19, 2018
Table Rock Lake, MO
The Team at MarineMax will host their first Wake for Warriors event on Table Rock Lake
Aug 23 - 26, 2018
Lake Harding, GA
In partnership with the EOD Warrior Foundation
Sep 12 - 13, 2018
San Vicente Reservoir, 13500 Moreno Ave, Lakeside, CA 92040, USA
Wake For Warriors heads west to shred with M2O Marine
Sep 20 - 23, 2018
Lake Oconee, Georgia, USA
Oct 4 - 7, 2018
Phoenix, AZ, USA location TBDTweet