As we approach this year's World Wake Surfing Championships, we remember how it started years back and pioneers like Jeff Page who helped pave its foundation. Nearly a year ago Jeff was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award for Wake Surfing. In our recent September print issue Jeff talks about how it all started:
"It all started with my grandparents and winters in Hawaii. I would go over there and pretend I was a surfer and when I would come back to Seattle area I would dream about being a surfer. And it really wasn’t until we saw people surfing in Bruce Brown’s movie, the Endless Summer, that we thought about wakesurfing. That’s when we tried to recreate that lifestyle of being on a surfboard behind our first boat, a ProStar 190 and five foot thick board called the Hot Butter. Then in the early 2000s I saw an opportunity along with the rise of the sport to start shaping boards. That’s also when we heard of some boys in Texas who were throwing an event behind a six foot wave and it turned out to be Rick Lee and Tim Lopes of Centurion boats.”
"I wanted to introduce the sport called wakesurfing to the watersports world. Between Rick Lee and myself, we set out on a mission to educate everyone about the new sport and in the early 2000s on the shores of Lake Samnamish I started Inland Surfer.”
The name Inland Surfer itself is timeless. It is a name that has defined the sport of wake surfing and wake surfers inland; a new niche and exciting market that has blossomed into an icon today. The feeling of surfing could now be experienced on lakes and rivers. Boat technology started evolving and so did Jeff’s boards starting off with his first board called the Green Room and other compression molded shapes. "What I couldn’t do with compression was get the edges that I wanted,” says Jeff, so my goal was to hunt down a manufacturer to produce our boards and I found them at Surf Expo via the Cobra Factory.”
Jeff’s boards were ahead of his time; the Red Chubby for instance, was the first squared off nose board to hit the market place and now standard for a lot of surf style boards. Starting off primarily as a surf style company, Jeff introduced his “Fore-Skim” line in 2004 with boards like the Red Rocket, Swallow and Squirt. Inland Surfer was also the first company with a wood board, called the Wood Lock and the first with carbon board technology. Today, these carbon skimboards are dedicated pro models for World Champ Keenan Flegel, James Walker and Sean Cummings. Other team riders include Caroline Villaneueve and up and comer Taylor Dorey.
The biggest moment for Inland Surfer, Jeff admits, "would have to be last year at the World Wake Surfing Championship ceremony when we got recognized as the lead company in the wake surf market and I was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award.”
by Tyler Marshall