We all have that happy place, a favourite thing to do and a favourite place to be. I am Caro Villeneuve, I am a wakesurf addict and my happy place is behind a boat.

Not to be confused with wakeboarding, wakesurfing is a water sport in which riders surf the wake behind a boat unsupported, using a towrope only to get to their feet before releasing it as they ride freely on the endless wake created by the vessel. I’ve seen this sport progress exponentially over the past ten years. It’s amazing to see the improvement in the boats, the equipment and definitely in the riders’ skills. The first step to a having a positive wakesurf experience is to have the proper tools. Starting with a good wake, the proper equipment and when possible, good instruction.

The Wake: The better the wake, the easier it will be for you to learn. Each boat is different, but they all have an optimal wake for its capacity. Knowing how to set your wake including the components to consider will make your experience much better. Depending on the make and model of the boat, you can adjust the wake by playing with the trim tab, the repartition of the weight, the CATS fin, the “Quick Surf” tabs or other similar options. If taking lessons, you have the choice of using the school’s boat, which will likely offer more powerful and adjustable surf, or request they come onto your boat, helping you make the best wake possiblewith the tools you have!

The Equipment: First and foremost, the most important piece of equipment is a lifejacket. You never know what is going to happen, so wear one at all times.

In the competitive world, wakesurf boards are split into two main categories: Surf and Skim. The surf style board has good flotation and big fins, which create a lot of traction and make it feel a little more like riding the ocean. When thinking of “surf style,” we think of big slashes, bottom turns, huge air and aerial tricks. It doesn’t mean you can’t do tricks like shuv-it or big spins, but several factors will make those tricks harder to execute. The skim style board, which is smaller and has smaller fins (or no fin) is designed to perform more technical tricks. You still can enjoy some good turns and slashes, but you won’t get the amplitude you would get with a surf style board.

Good Instruction: Clients we’ve had the pleasure of teaching have said that they’ve tried wakesurfing several times before but couldn’t do it and that they were amazed to see how quick and simple it actually was with the right instruction.

A Challenge: After realizing that there wasn’t a Canadian event in the World Series of WakeSurfing (WSOWS), we sought out the help of a few local enthusiasts and together were able to form the Rocky Mountain WakeSurfing Association (RMWA), a nonprofit organization designed to help promote wakesurfing in our communities. Soon after, we organized the first Canadian event as part of the WSOWS, named The Koocanusa WakeSurf Challenge (KWC). The KWC has since become a favourite summer event, providing an opportunity for people of our community to either compete, or simply watch. All ages and skill levels are invited to compete, with several divisions to choose from. You don’t have to be a pro to compete.

The 2017 Koocanusa Wakesurf Challengeis at Sunshine Houseboats, July 28 and 29. Visit rmwa.ca for more information. If you’re looking for a fun activity this summer, check out h2oschoolbc.com, call 250-278-SURF(7873) or email info@h2oschoolbc.com.