For eleventh-grader Casey Currin, 180 spins, rail grabs and cutbacks are not anything out of the ordinary. For the past two years, Currin has attended the World Wake Surfing Championship, which was located in Parker, Ariz. this year.
Similar to wake boarding, wake surfing is a water sport in which a surfer trails behind a boat on a wake board while holding a tow rope. The surfer then drops the rope and rides the boat’s wake in a similar surfing style.
Currin was introduced to wake surfing four years ago in Lake Placid, Fla. while at a friend’s house. He and his family wake surfed for the first time and immediately fell in love with the sport. “We found this sport that not many peopleknew about and suddenly we just started doing it more and more until it became a routine to wake surf,” Currin said. Currin currently surfs for Zap Skimboard’s Phase 5 Team, mentored by pro wake surfer Drew Danielo. “Every once in awhile, he [Danielo] comes out and helps us with our moves,” Currin said. “Overall he is just a really cool guy.”
In wake surfing, there are two ways to ride the board, either skim style or surf style. Skim style uses a board that is thinner with a small fin located on the bottom-rear, and is the type normally seen at the beach. Surf style boards are much thicker with large fins and a greater weight. There are also four divisions, each determined by the skill level of a surfer. Amateur is the beginning group that does simpler moves with small shove tricks on the board. Outlaw is the second which includes slightly new and tricker spins, while pro and masters are much more complex and have intense moves.
On Oct. 17, Currin and his family flew to Parker, Ariz. for their second World Wake Surfing Championship. The first day of the competition is the preliminary first round. Surfers are brought into the water holding on to a rope connected to a boat. They compete against all of those in their division until the top five are separated from the rest based on the difficulty, intensity, variety and execution of the tricks they do. Out of the thirteen contestants that attempted to move on to day two, Currin was chosen as one of the best five. The next day, final judgment is recorded and surfers compete to have a spot on the podium. This year, Currin was an outlaw surfer, but because placed first and was named the World Wake Surfing Champion for his division in skim, he is now a pro. Last year, Currin placed first in mens amateur skim. “It was a great experience and definitely something that I will never forget.”
Currin practices regularly with his team and leaves to Lake Placid every weekend with his family. “We usually begin wake surfing early morning until lunch, and then lunch to dark,” Currin said. His step-sister, Sammie Cline, also brings her boyfriend and Currin’s good friend, Mike La Macchia. “Because we live in Florida, we can always wake surf with the constant warm weather,” Currin said. “It’s nice that we don’t ever have to wait for frozen lakes or rivers to melt.”
In the future, Currin hopes to continue his wake surfing career throughout high school and college in the pro skim division. During his free time, he plans to also regularly wake surf with his family and friends throughout Florida. “It’s one of the few hobbies of mine that I can actually say I’m passionate about,” he said.