Frigid lake temperatures were no match for the wakeboarding event that took place on Sylvan Lake last Sunday (Aug. 16).
Many wakeboarders from the Central Alberta area participated at all different skill levels in the Alberta Wake Tour.
The event went smoothly, due to many volunteers working to make it an overall success, said Water Ski and Wakeboard Alberta board member Jeremy Howsam.
With chillier weather, the boat traffic remained low, giving the wakeboarders a good chance to prove their riding abilities.
About five riders were from Sylvan Lake, including Levi Wynnyk, who received first place in the Outlaw Division, and Solomon Wynnyk, who placed first in the Beginner Division.
“There were some kids who were out there as well,” Howsam said. “There was lots of local support for the riders, so it was pretty good.”
Howsam said this event could be an ice breaker for growing the sport’s popularity, as he hopes to make it into a bigger stop and bring in some professionals who constantly ride in professional tours.
He said next year’s event will be bigger, as riders will be wakeboarding and surfing.
“I am hoping to make it into one of the larger stops in Canada eventually, because Sylvan Lake has a great atmosphere, and that’s where we’re hoping to go with it.”
He added he wants to show the town that the people involved with the sport are not just there to party, and that they are there to have fun.
Howsam said that when people typically see wakeboarding contests, their impression is that it is only for people who are proficient at the sport, but he assured that that isn’t the case. Rather, he explained, wakeboarding contests are family-friendly events that have included children as young as five years old and adults as old as 60.
“We just hang out and have a good time. We give out lots of prizes and keep the sport slowly growing and thriving.”
Bringing the tour to Sylvan Lake has allowed the sport to have more interaction with the community, subsequently allowing the tour’s riders to form a relationship with the town, Howsam said.
“The plan was to get more exposure in Sylvan Lake to show people that this is just a fun event and it’s nothing too intimidating, and everybody should be able to come out and ride.”