Canada, despite being located somewhat in the nether regions of the northern hemisphere has managed to play a pretty significant role in the history of wakeboarding. Current names like Malinoski, Sharpe, Henshaw, Derome, and Rattray all call it home, but names from years’ past like Heer and Kovak helped influence and grow the sport from the beginning — and paved the way for Canadian rippers today. Considering how short summer lasts in Canada that is an impressive feat.
From the outside looking in one might wonder how Canada has played such an important role in wakeboarding, but when you get there it’s pretty evident. The country is chock full of awesome riding spots and when the summer months are in full swing water-loving Canadians can’t stay off of them. One region that has played a particularly large role in the growth of Canadian wakeboarding is Muskoka. You may have heard the term Muskoka Militia if you’ve been around the wakeboarding scene for a while. That term doesn’t represent a group of heavily armed guerilla militants, just a bunch of bros (and a few sis’s) from the lake-filled region two hours north of Toronto who love to ride.
StartSelection:0000000199 EndSelection:0000001477 When the O’Neill team took a trip north of the border and into one of Canada’s most versatile riding regions each guy made sure to make the most of it. Whether it was out behind the boat on Lake Muskoka, winching a couple gems shown to us by local riders, or just hanging out on a back deck overlooking some great views, the entire team on the trip knew the area was a special one. Heck, most of these guys travel all over the world to ride in some pretty exotic locations, so to be able to do so much in an area that is so pristine and so close to home is a welcome treat.
The entire week was a ton of fun and allowed everybody to hang out, watch each other ride and cheer each other on, and take in a bunch of the different things Muskoka has to offer. If you’re looking for a place to plan a wakeboard trip in the future, look no further than Muskoka, and if you need a group to get in touch with, just look up the folks at Pride of Muskoka marinas. As the best-selling Nautique dealer three of the last four years, they know a little bit about the area – and they are just another example of how Canada has played an important role in the growth of wakeboarding. Pretty cool, eh?
Collin Harrington is one of the most well-rounded riders in the sport. But on top of being able to ride almost anywhere on a wakeboard, he can also surf, sail, spearfish, and do pretty much anything else aqua related. No matter where he is on the planet or the water, Collin has always been a fan of grabbing tail.
Nick Taylor spent much of 2011 traveling the world in search of fun and the eternal shred. Little did he know Canada would offer so much of both.
Having grown up in the area Kyle Rattray was stoked to be back in Canada and showing everybody else the place he calls home. As the quasi-host he did what any smart wakeboarder would do: make sure his family is around to cook and entertain a bunch of derelicts like us.
Whether he's still pushing himself to ride better, encouraging the rest of the team to kill it, or helping to film, drive, cook, clean... Scott Byerly does it all and that's why he's still the man.
Canada is full of nature. Nick loves nature, so obviously he immediately became good friends with this baby turtle.
One afternoon the team stopped by Muskoka Woods, a summer camp that is sort of the Canadian version of Woodward. The place is insane, and full of kids running around getting stoked out of their gords.
The sunsets we were treated to up in the Muskoka area were all pretty incredible, but the one on Koshlong Lake the last night of the trip took the cake. With views like this from his family's cottage, it's easy to see while Kyle Rattray likes spending time up in the area.
Collin pulled double duty on the trip, when he wasn't riding he was filming everybody else along with O'Neill filmmaker SK. When he wasn't behind the camera though, Collin made sure he delivered the goods.