Displacing water

What age were you when you first stepped on a wake surfboard? And how did you get introduced to the sport?
I first went wakesurfing in 2012 when I got an invite by a friend, Bri Chmel who was at the top of the women’s wake surfing scene. It was a pretty natural transition from skimboarding in the ocean, so I took to it pretty quickly.

Where do you call home and do you spend much time there?
I live in Santa Cruz, Ca. full time. I spend most of my time here, working, with the occasional surf trip out of the country 2-3 times a year.

Wake surfing has gained a lot of momentum the last few years. What is your view on the contest scene and do you see it continuing to grow?
It is incredible to see how quickly the sport has grown since I started both competitively and recreationally. I think the competitive side of wake surfing will continue to grow in size. I feel like progression in wakesurfing happens fairly quickly and with minimal risk of being injured compared to other watersports. With that being said, I think people will inherently gravitate towards competition to test their skill as they progress.

Cole putting the “Pop Top” to the test

Do you do much ocean surfing?
I surf as much as I can here in Santa Cruz. This place has a super diverse selection of waves and if you’re willing to search, you can always find something super fun and rippable.

Do you have a favorite lake or somewhere that brings good vibes when you wake surf?
The closest lake to Santa Cruz is about an hour out, it’s called Calero Reservior, It’s extremely small, look it up, you’ll actually laugh. It’s the closest place for me to splash a boat or meet up with friends that have boats close by. It’s always a good time, I enjoy getting people out on the lake that typically don’t go.

How did you link up with Victoria and what model board do you prefer?
I started skim boarding for Victoria in 2009 and spent a bunch of time in Laguna Beach skimming with friends. The first time I wake surfed I used the board I skim on in the ocean and it worked perfectly. I have developed a board with Victoria over the years that we call the “Pop Top”. It’s more similar to an ocean skim board in that the outline is more drawn out and it has less curve than a typical skim style wake surf board. I found that an outline with less curve produces more forward drive and speed.

All smiles on a boat

What is your ideal boat and wave set up?
I’ve never had a bad time with a Nautique G23 loaded to the gills with extra weight. I’ve been riding with Sean Cummings behind his new Centurion, he gets that thing throwing a ridiculous wave.

If you could change one thing about wake surfing what would it be?
Hmmmm, loaded question. I would say the barriers to entry of this sport or wake sports in general are pretty high. If it was not for me linking up with friends that own boats, I would have never started. It appears that companies are producing entry level boats that produce good wakes which is exciting. I would just be stoked if more people got the opportunity to try  watersports. Other than that, there is nothing I would change.

Cole putting an open house on the side

How would you rate the progression of the sport from when you started to where it’s at today?
The progression in the last two years is insane, it almost makes me want to quit all together! The runs I’ve seen the Flegel’s, Jake Akerman, Aaron Witherell, Parker Payne, Jodi Grassman, and Drew Danielo put together are ridiculous. I’m truly unsure of where it can go from here, I feel like it could peak at any minute, with tricks and the level of consistency everyone rides at now is crazy.

Paint us a picture of your perfect day on the water…
The perfect days are never planned for me. I love a last minute invite where a few of my friends from home can tag along. I enjoy getting people out on boats that don’t typically get to go often, it fires me up to get other people stoked on lake days.

Spin to win


Photos: Mahallia Budds

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