Three Sylvan Lake wakesurfers made the trip to the world championship last weekend.
The local athletes were in Odgen Valley, Utah Sept. 5-7 for the invite-only 2019 Centurion World Wake Surfing Championship.
Sara Tallon, 17, made her fourth trip to the competition, while Derian Halsey, 21, and Hayden Becker, 12, made their first appearance at the world championship.
Becker says the experience was “really cool” and that she was the only girl competing with all the boys.
She finished the event seventh in the junior division with goal of returning to the event to finish on podium.
Halsey, who competed in the men’s amateur division, placed just shy of the podium in fourth.
“It was what I was working for for the last three years, so it was really good to finally get there and compete,” said Halsey.
“For me it was just making it to the finals in my first year, I didn’t podium, but I made it to the finals so it was as close as I could get to the goal that I had,” he added.
Halsey says returning to worlds is also his goal, but will be more difficult to achieve as he has moved up a division.
Despite this being her fourth trip to worlds, Tallon also experienced a first as she competed in the pro division.
“I got second so it was pretty good for me in my first year,” said Tallon, who explained pro is the highest level you can get in wakesurfing and that prize money is added into the mix.
Landing on the top of the podium and finishing first next year is the goal, said Tallon.
Tallon said the experience was stressful until after the competition was over, but she was able to spend the week leading up to worlds hanging out on her sponsor’s boat.
Halsey said the pressure of the competition level got to him.
“I did not perform my best because of it I think, but it was still like a lit of fun, but even though it was a familiar feeling it’s still a little more daunting I guess,” said Halsey.
On the other hand, Becker wasn’t nervous for the competition.
“I just knew I had to go there and have fun after being told that so many times because I’m very hard on myself about it so mom and dad always tell me ‘have fun,’” said Becker.
The Sylvan Lakers train together during the summer months, but each have their own off season regiments.
Becker skateboards and Halsey snowboards, while Tallon heads south of the border to get in the water a few times during the winter.
Moreover, the three agree the best part about wakesurfing is the people and how it is like a giant family.
“I think my best part about it was getting to meet so many people from around the world,” said Becker.
“You meet so many people that you can just go travel to their house or to a different country, like this year I’m going to Japan and Europe,” agreed Tallon.
Halsey added even direct competitors are friends and they’ll give lessons to each other.
“It’s definitely different than most sports in that way,” he said.
The group says anyone who is interested in the sport should start doing it if they want to as there are opportunities around Central Alberta to compete locally.
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