A Kelowna wakesurfer brought home some trophy silverware after competing in the Centurion World Wakesurf Championships held last weekend in Ogden, Utah.
Carly Newell, 43, took second in the Master Women’s Skim Division, and also received second place ranking for the International Riders award presented the Boat Bling World Ranking System for accumulation of world ranking points at wakesurf events this past summer.
It was the second time Newell has competed in the world wakesurf finals, the first time being when Kelowna hosted the championships last year where she finished third in her masters category.
Newell, a teacher at Dorothea Walker Elementary School, said wakesurfing has become a safer extension of her past experience in wakeboarding competitions.
After playing for the women’s basketball team at Simon Fraser University during her university years, Newell took up an interest in wakeboarding to feed her drive for sports competition.
“I competed on a national level for about six years but I ended up with about five knee surgeries so basically I thought I should try to do something else without hurting myself,” she said.
That led her to wakesurfing, another water sport which takes place at a much slower speed than wakeboarding.
“When you fall into the water you just splash as opposed to wakeboarding where it feels like hitting cement when you are going really fast.”
Wakesurfing riders trail behind a boat, riding the boat’s wake without directly being pulled by the boat. After getting up on the wake, typically by use of a tow rope, the wakesurfers will drop the rope, and ride the steep face below the wave’s peak in a similar fashion to surfing.
Wakesurfers perform a variety of trick moves in a race layout divided by 45 second heats in two different directions between buoy markers.
Newell practices about four times a week on Okanagan Lake and competes at wakesurfing races during the summer to earn enough qualifying points for the world finals. She also attracted the support of corporate sponsor Kanuk Board Co. based out of Chilliwack.
“It’s something that I used to always do for fun, but when I heard the worlds were coming to Kelowna last year, I started looking at how you can qualify to compete. I competed at some competitions and did really well to get invited, and I began to realize there was more to the sport that I had thought,” she said.
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