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Big Blue Crush

Carrie Richards/Sun News ServiceDanny Witty of Incline Village surfs a wave produced by a Centurion Avalanche on Lake Tahoe.
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Who says you can’t surf Lake Tahoe?

Well, after a morning with Bob Witty in his Centurion Avalanche, I won’t be saying that ever again.

After adding more than 2,500 pounds of water weight to the left side of the boat, the Centurion created a stable 2- to 3-foot wave ” perfect for surfing. Bob went first and showed me just how easy it was. Once you get up, which is similar to wakeboarding, you find the “sweet spot” in the wave and throw the rope back into the boat.



It was amazing how you could ride this wave right behind the boat and not just get pushed out. Surfing Lake Tahoe was not so hard. After Frank Tarantino went, impressing us with his 360s before Bob’s son Danny took a run, it was my turn.

I hopped in the water, which was warmer than I suspected, and immediately was instructed about how easy it was to get up. Turns out it was.



“Lean back, put your feet on the board (with no straps) and the boat will pull you up,” Witty said.

Sounds like the first words of every father who tried teaching his kids to do any watersport, which in my family usually ended in tears. Well, he was right. I popped right up.

After a few face plants and a lot of water up my nose, I got up again and noticed that someone was pulling the rope away from me. Hesitantly, I let go, and I was surfing.

If you haven’t tried this sport, it’s worth every face plant and every embarrassing fall. It was electrifying to be surfing on the lake.

I can definitely say I will do this again, as it was one of the most fun times I have ever had behind a boat. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves watersports.

The best part of the trip was Bob telling me he would take me again. Yay.

Wakesurfing was one of the first sports invented “behind a speed boat,” actually starting before wakeboarding. Originally, a wakesurf board was only a 9-inch board behind an aluminum “john-boat.”

The wakesurfers couldn’t let go of the rope for longer than a couple of seconds to surf the wake. Nowadays, riders can let go of the rope for longer, and use it to help them do all sorts of tricks. You don’t need perfectly still water for wakesurfing.

All you need is some fat ballast and a few wakeboarding buddies to enjoy the fun.

There are many different models of wakesurf boards available on the market, but there are two general styles of boards available. These two types are skimboard style and conventional style. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and each wakesurfer must decide for himself which type is right for him. The skimboard is easy for beginners to stand up on and is easier to spin.

Shifting weight onto the rear foot and leaning the body back over the rear foot will help to slow down the board. To increase speed, shift your weight forward over the front foot. Pumping the front foot on the board is helpful for maintaining speed.

Carrie Richards is a photographer for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, the Sun’s sister paper in Incline Village.


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