Endless Wave | John Akerman
Check out our Endless Wave section from the July 2018 Issue with John Akerman!
What’s up John? Tell us a little about yourself… where did you grow up and where do you reside? Hey y’all! I’m excited to share my story with everyone. I was born in Orlando, FL and I currently reside on the south east coast of Florida in Boynton Beach where I can ocean surf and wakesurf.
So you have been surrounded by water your whole life? What motivated you to try wake surfing and how did you get started? My parents separated when I was young so I spent my week days in Indian Rocks Beach on the gulf coast with my mom and weekends in Clermont on the lake with my Father. Hard life right? During the week after school I would spend my time skimboarding on the beach and surfing when there was swell. During the weekends my dad would pull me around the lake on my skimboard “skurfing” before I even knew what wakesurfing was. Little did I know the combination of all this would turn me into the wakesurfer I am today.
You skimboard professionally as well? Do you compete against Austin Keen? Yes, I’ve been skimboarding professionally for about 7 years now. Austin Keen and I have competed together lots of times but the last time I was up against AK, it was gnarly. A 10 minute heat in Newport Beach, Keen and I head to head with live scoring. I’d be stoked to compete against him again this year!
Do you feel that skimboarding has helped your wakesurfing progress and vice versa? Yes, skimboarding has helped my wakesurfing since day one. Almost every trick I do on the wake, I mastered skimboarding at the beach before I wakesurfed. Also, I ride the same skimboard behind the boat as I do on the beach. I’ve noticed my wakesurf recovery out of a trick is really good since I’m used to pumping out of imperfect surf sections in the ocean. Sometimes after I wakesurf for a long time, I get back to the beach and feel like I’ve gotten better at surfing/skimboarding.
What’s your preferred boat, board and set-up? I can’t say I have a preferred boat. I like any boat that has a sick wave to surf. But, I like the Nautique G23 with its curl for airs and consistency, Malibu is great for skim tricks and can create a massive wave and you can’t go wrong surfing a Pavati! Board set up is my signature board by Phase 5 called the MVP. It’s a 53” skimboard with a unique full deck pad I designed and I like to ride it finless.
Any contests coming up? What are your plans for the rest of the season? I stay pretty busy during the summer with contests. This year I joined the Supra Pro Wakesurf tour. I recently placed 2nd at stop #2 and my next contest is stop #3 in Moorsville, NC. The event I’m looking forward to most is the Nautique USA National Wakesurf Championship in Waco, TX. Is it hard to juggle wake surf contests with skim contests? And trying to fit in surfing when there are waves? Yeah, these last few years have been hard to choose which events I want to go to or not. This year I am doing more wake events than skim events but I’m still going to a few skim events that are too good to miss! Luckily for me, summer is mostly flat in Florida so I get to ocean surf all winter in the off season.
Where do you see the progression of wakesurfing 5 years from now and do you see yourself still competing? I see the progression of wakesurfing in 5 years getting the recognition it deserves with sponsors, bigger events/contests, and more affordable surfable boats for more people to get into the sport. I also think the boats are going to get bigger. One thing I do know is that the tricks are still being created and the possibilities are endless. I will definitely still be competing in 5 years. Whether I’m winning contests or just competing in a few events for fun, I will still be a big impact to the sport.
Other than wake surfing, skimboarding and surfing, what occupies your days? When I’m not surfing myself, I am at Lavelle Training School coaching wakesurfing and on my free time, I may be offshore fishing with my good friends.
A 6-foot day with the side wave working or a 85 degree glassy day on the lake? I would have to choose a 6-foot day at the beach over the lake on this one. The 85 degree days on the lake are the best but they will always be there. The ocean is so unpredictable and the excitement you get from catching waves when they are firing is like nothing else.
Photos: Max Smetts