I tried to talk to a wakesurfer for my story about the Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, that starts Friday.
But it turns out the athletes were out of the country and the publicist thought that if I sent email questions, they could get answers to me quicker. Unfortunately, the answers came too late for my story.
Wakesurfing will be an exhibition for the first time at this year's Masters, which begins tomorrow.
These answers are from Tommy Czeschin, 33, who is from Crowley Lake, Calif., which is part of Mammoth Lakes.
What is the history of wakesurfing? Who started it? Where?
People have been surfing wakes since the 60s behind big ocean boats. Only more recently (10 years) has wakesurfing taken shape as a sport where if you have a proper wake boat you can surf your local lake.
When did you start wakesurfing?
Eight years ago.
The wakesurfing competition is beginning like wakeboarding did. It was a demonstration sport and then became part of the Masters. Do you hope that one day it will be part of the Masters Water Ski, Wakeboard and Wakesurf Tournament?
Yes. It would be great to have wakesurfing in Masters. Right now wakesurfing has a couple different tours, the Nationals at Callaway Gardens in August and a World Championship at the end in September. I just got back from the AZ Wakesurf Open and got second.
What do you say to youngsters who want to try wakesurfing?
Ride on! Let go! It's a great sport anyone can do, young to old.
Like wakeboarding, wakesurfing seems to be for the very young. How long do you think you'll continue the sport? What's next after wakesurfing?
Wakesurfing is a sport anyone can do, young to old. It is low impact, you get up with the rope then throw the rope into the boat. You’re not strapped to the board with bindings and your only going 11 miles an hour. I will be wakesurfing as long as I can still stand up!
I was a pro snowboarder for 15-plus years. After all the high impact of snowboarding, wakesurfing is something I can do for a long, long time. It is so fun and it never gets old. There is always something new to try.
Is the equipment different?
Yes. A wakesurfer is similar to a surf board that one would ride in the ocean only smaller. It has a traction pad on the top of the board where you stand with your bare feet. My board is the TC Custom from Liquid Force. Check it out here: http://www.liquidforce.com/wakesurfers-tc.html
I'm old, so I'm sure I sound like your grandmother. I think wakeboarding can be very dangerous, how different is wakesurfing from that sport?
How old are you? You can wakesurf for sure! Wakesurfing is very mild and not dangerous, if you do it behind the right boats. The Nautique boats with the NSS (Nautique Surf System) are great; they have built their boats so you can surf them right out of the box (stock ballast) without needing to purchase extra things and then try to figure out how to get a good surf wave. Learn more at www.nautique.com/models/nautique-surf-system.
Do girls get involved in wakesurfing?
Girls love it. Girls shred too! Kids, Parents, Grandparents. Like I say, everyone can wakesurf. It's a great family sport.
Is there a future in this sport? Can you get endorsement deals?
Yes, there is a future and you can get endorsements. Wakesurfing is here to stay. It is so fun and it gets people "surfing." Wakesurfing is getting the surf lifestyle everywhere. You no longer need to live at the ocean.
What's your best trick?
Do you have one named for you yet?
Not yet. Working on a new trick I will get this summer.
Have you done any traditional surfing in the ocean? If you have, what's the difference? How do they differ?
I do ocean surf and it is awesome, I love it. I just don’t get to the ocean much. Ocean surfing takes a long time (many years) to learn. Knowing where to be to catch waves, learning how to paddle etc. Wakesurfing, most people can learn in a day to drop the rope and start surfing.
What should people expect to see at the Master's?
For Masters, people should expect a great demo onwakesurfing. They will be able to see and check out the best boats made for wakesurfing, Nautique boats with the NSS (Nautique Surf System). These boats put out a great wakesurf wave.
Tommy, thank you for your answers.
However, you should never ask a woman's age. I admitted I was old already!
The other thing is, I don't swim. Or I should say, I can't swim. It's not like I haven't taken swimming lessons. I just can't swim.
So you won't find me doing any water skiing, wakeboarding or wakesurfing. Ever.
But I'll watch from the shore.