Julie Vasselin – a semi-pro wake-surfer from Sylvan Lake – has had an amazing year on the water.
Vasselin is leading a new generation of female wake-surfers and is now ranked number one in the world for the semi-pro division after winning the World Championship over the weekend. The achievement comes after a summer of unfathomable success where she previously won both Canadian and American Nationals. Vasselin will move into the pro division next year because of her success – something that wasn’t even on her radar a few years ago.
“It was about four years ago and I was just on a friend’s boat, they handed me a wake surfboard and threw me behind the boat to try,” Vasselin said. “I was hooked from that point and now most of my summers are spent either at work or out on the boat.”
Vasselin would immediately go on to win in the amateur division in 2014, which would push her up to the semi-pro division where she dominated this year.
“I just wanted to do something more adventurous behind the boat and it wasn’t supposed to get this big,” she said. “I’m glad it did. I have a lot of fun with it and I get to meet a lot of people – I get a lot of enjoyment out of it.”
Not only is Vasselin excelling on her own, she is also passing on her skills through coaching. This year, the 25-year-old coached two young female athletes, including 14-year-old Sara Tallon who competed in the worlds at the amateur level this year and finished fifth. Tallon was invited to Worlds after winning the Canadian Amateur Championships.
“It is a growing sport and it has been neat to see how many boats have people surfing behind them, rather than wakeboarding or water skiing,” Vasselin said. “It is a sport that is taking over and there are now provincial stops. It’s growing and I hope it continues to grow.”
She added that its great to train other girls and she hopes more girls get into the sport as the division could use more competition.