Wakesurfing gaining popularity in Arizona

Wakesurfing, a sport that is much different than traditional water sports, is now riding the wave of popularity.

Gone are the days of having to travel to the ocean to shred the waves, as the sport is proving to be a hit at lakes in Arizona.

"When we started wakesurfing seven years ago, we'd be the only wakesurf boat on the lake," said Angie Viland. "Now, they're everywhere."

In wakesurfing, the participant ride the boat's wake without being directly pulled by the boat. In addition, unlike wakeboarding, surfers stand on the board, rather than being strapped onto it.

"How you start is with a wake surf rope, very similar to a water ski rope although it's a lot smaller in length. You're going to start very similar to your traditional wake board. The boats going to be going about 11 miles per hour and it's an endless wave you'll actually be riding the wave without a rope," said Mike Escorza, who has been wakesurfing for about five years.

The sport, along with Escorza's talent, has grown over the years.

"Everyday, there's new tricks being learned, new tricks being landed," said Escorza. "Your common trick that anyone who's familiar with wake surfing is the inevitable 360. If you can nail the 360, that's an awesome trick to learn."

"You can go from cruising in the wave to very advanced tricks," said Viland. "You can take it anywhere you want to go with it."     

Escorza said competitions in wakesurfing are becoming more competitive.

There's full organizations, there's wake surfing championships, which is a very huge thing," said Escorza. "There's events being held is Russia, Brazil, France, Japan, Korea. It really is spreading all over the world."

The competitions may be getting intense, but wakesurfing is not only for pros.

"The greatest thing about it is everyone is capable of doing it," said Escorza. "From the kids, to myself, to mothers and fathers as far as grandfathers. It truly is a sport for everyone."

"We've taught people as young as five, as old as 65," said Viland. "I didn't learn how to surf until I was about 40, and now I compete professionally, and most of the girls I compete against are teenage girls."

There are reportedly boats being built specifically for the sport.


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