Sara Tallon, 15, of Sylvan Lake placed first and second in two divisions a the 2017 Centurion World Wake Surf Championships in Kelowna, BC. during the Sept. 21 – 23 event. Tallon placed first in the Amateur Women’s Skim division and placed second in the Amateur Women’s Surf division.
“It was awesome,”said Tallon of the experience. Tallon has been wake surfing for the past four years. “It feels like something I’m good at,” she said.
When Tallon’s family first purchased a boat, she decided to try wake surfing. After trying the sport once and then taking a lesson, she fell in love with the sport. She acknowledged she’s had to practice a lot and it hasn’t always been easy.
This year was tough for Tallon practice-wise because her family’s boat hit the rocks during the big windstorm and then a couple weeks later got struck by lightening. “So [the boat] was out for the whole year and I had to go out and pawn off rides from everyone,” she said.
Sara entered her first competition last July at Lake Koocanusa, BC. She placed first in her event there and became hooked on the competitions. By the end of last year Sara was ranked 11th in the world in the Women’s Amateur Skim Division.
To place in a division you have to podium at more than one event and finish in the top 10 in the Competitive Wake Surf Association (CWSA) world ranking system. According to the CWSA official website competitors at the age of 13 are ranked based on their abilities and then asked to move up into the divisions of Amateur, Outlaw, or Pro. The Amateur division is the entry level division for those intending to try out their wakesurf abilities competitively.
“You have to get enough points to be considered top ten in the world and I placed first out of everybody all year and then I got first. So I got first in the world and in the competition,” Tallon said.
This year Sara was selected for the first ever Team Alberta Wake Surf team. She competed in grassroots competitions in Wizard Lake, Pine Lake and at Lake Chestermere to help promote the sport. She also competed in six CWSA events including Lake Chestermere, where she placed first at the Nautique Canadian Wakesurf Championships and in Pine Mountain, Georgia where she also placed first at the Nautique USA National Wakesurf Championship.
This was second year Tallon competed in the championships so she was familiar with many of the people at the event and felt in her element. She rides both skim and surf. Tallon explained the difference simply, “Skim is with no fins and surf is with two fins.” Her favourite style is skim because she is able to do more tricks like shoves and spins.
Tallon’s parents have been supportive of her in many ways. “Her dad takes her out on the water every morning early and every night late when the boats are off the lake,” said Paula Tallon. They’ve also taken her to many events this year. “It really is an international event and attracts people from all over the world,” Paula said.
Sara plans to move into the Outlaw (semi-professional) division next season with her long term goal to gain professional status in the wake surf world. She is following in the footsteps of her coach, Julie Vasselin, also from Sylvan Lake, who won the Amateur division in 2014 and the Outlaw division in 2016.