Wakesurfing Is the New Wave at Orono High School

In recent years, Lake Minnetonka has become the new hotspot for the popular activity called wakesurfing, where unlike wakeboarding, it allows riders to surf the waves of the boat’s wake rather than being pulled.

In the last few years, boat owners have watched this watersport grow dramatically on the lake. Chris Bank, who works with many of wakesurfing’s top brands, said “As an industry, the wakesurf companies are growing very quickly. Wakesurfing year over year right now grows at about 30 or 35 percent, and that’s on a per-unit basis”.

Due to the love for wakesurfing, many students have resorted to using any of their free time to shred waves. Some have gone as far as to get up before school to take advantage of the open bays. Determined Orono students will wake up at the crack of dawn, put on wetsuits, and still make it to their 7:50 am class one way or another.

Some Orono students have even turned this hobby into a career. Senior Orono student Morgan Cole explained how her family hobby turned into so much more. “Wakesurfing has become me and my families getaway during the summer! It has become a social event in Minnesota and something that you can enjoy with your friends. During covid, it was something that you could do safely with your friends so my friend Alana Hutton and I decided to get everyone in on the fun!! We came up with Indy surf school!! We were able to bring people out on lake independence and teach them how to surf! It was rewarding to see people light up as they got up and were able to even drop the rope!! Wakesurfing has completely changed my family and my life!” Since then, she has given many lessons to those just starting out and has expanded her social media for the company.

Many students have created closer friendships through the sport due to spending time on the lake together and learning how to control a difficult board. “My friends and I spend almost every day on the lake together learning new tricks like completing my 360, as well as just enjoying each other’s company,” said Jordan Pugh.

One former student was even able to take his passion for wakesurfing and move across the world to continue the sport. “Wakesurfing has been a huge part of my life growing up and has taught me so much about putting in the time and effort in order to succeed! This has helped me with so much more in life than just wakesurfing and has taught me you can do anything you want if you are willing to work for it! With this mindset, I was able to continue chasing my dreams and even move to Costa Rica!” Said Cam Januik, a well-known wake surfing competitor who originally lived on Lake Minnetonka and attended Orono High School.

Although wakesurfing is a widely enjoyed watersport at Orono, it has recently come with some backlash due to harming the environment and disrupting quieter lake activities. “There’s no other boat on the lake that affects other people like wake surf boats,” said Michelle Morey, who lives on the lake in Orono. Some argue that it is too much of a nuisance and should be regulated to certain areas of the lake. Although some families have spoken harshly about the effects of wakesurfing, the vast majority of lake homeowners enjoy partaking in the watersport and see no reason for it to be restricted.

If it is not already abundantly clear, this easygoing sport has created endless possibilities for many Orono students and will only continue to grow in popularity across the state of 10,000 lakes, making this the perfect summer activity for your friends and family.