Forget about surfing on the ocean, try it on Kalamalka Lake.
A new wakesurfing company is open on the lake and one of the owners aims to empower women to try new things after overcoming her own fear of the water.
Jennifer Maximuik, co-owner and surf instructor at Kal Lake Wakesurf, uses wakesurfing to manage her fear.
“I was in Alberta, there were no lakes and nobody took any swimming lessons,” she said.
When she moved to Kelowna, she became the boat driver for her husband Dallas Maximuik, who enjoys water sports, and was so afraid of the water she wouldn’t go to the back of the back of the boat for fear of being pushed overboard.
But after watching Dallas and his friends having fun, she thought she wanted to try it for herself.
“I was tired of having all the guys out there having a good time… That’s been my passion, empowering girls because I know for me it was so uncomfortable,” she said.
Wake surfing is similar to wakeboarding, but the surfer uses the wake created from a slow-moving boat to propel themselves forward, she said.
“So I’m watching everybody surf and I thought ‘gee whiz, this looks like so much fun if I could just figure out how to get past my fear, and the way that I learned was basically like how to teach a toddler. I would just be in the water behind the boat and I would just blow bubbles in the water,” Jennifer said.
Once she got the hang of surfing, she thought “If I can do this with my ridiculous fear or water, I know that I can teach every one of my girlfriends to surf.”
The Kelowna couple began teaching their friends, and this year they decided to step into a new venture with the company.
The goal is to let go of the rope. You start with a rope and gradually learn where to put your weight, which is on your toes, she said.
“It’s basically mimicking ocean-style surfing except the waves aren’t that big,” Jennifer said.
But mastering the sport depends on your skill set, she said. “It’s quite a rewarding sport because it does come quite quickly.”
The boards are wider and rounder than a wakeboard, yet smaller than a surfboard.
The trick is to overcome the fear, Jennifer said.
“Having had a fear of water, I find a lot of people have fears, but they’re too uncomfortable to say it,” she said. “I don’t think you every 100 per cent get over it, but you learn how to manage that.”
The surfing company is all ages, as they’ve taught kids as young as eight and adults as old as 75.
“If you fall the boat is going so slow…. it’s not as intimidating as other water sports,” Jennifer said.
The surfing company based out of Oyama, but can pick up anyone on the lake with a dock. The main meeting point for surfers without docks is the Kekuli Bay Boat Launch in Vernon.
To find out more information on Kal Lake Wakesurf visit http://www.kallakewakesurf.ca/.