Photos by Nick Johnson / 144 Visuals
The third annual Minnesota Wakesurf Championship [MNWSC] was most certainly the biggest of the three years and possibly the most well-attended wakesuring event ever. Partnered with a local city gathering called the Spirit of the Lakes Festival, thousands of people gravitated to the beach to see what was going on. “Why were so many boats parked out in the bay … what is playing on the Jumbrotron,” they asked. The climax of the event occurred when the first rider in the Adaptive Division jumped in the water. As the 2016 MNWSC was first event to add an Adaptive Division, seeing a an amputee wakesurf was new to most of the spectators. Event organizer Andy Weigman told us that it took three years, but the event is finally what he envisioned – Lake Minnetonka combined with a “normal” wakesurfing event. Besides the three years of hype, it helped that the weather finally corporated.
Lake Minnetonka is one of the national wakesurfing strongholds. Some of the most well-known wakesurfers out there can be seen surfing out there on most summer days. Wakesurfing is the most popular water sport on the lake which has led to increased attendance at the MNWSC. Conditions are not always ideal on the lake, however. This was the case for the pro divisions at the 2016 MWNSC. Winds of 15 MPH+ and boat wakes created by boats flocking to tie up and watch the action made it tough on the riders. This is all part of the MNWSC vibe, Weigman said. Part of the challenge of the MNWSC is dealing with the conditions and knowing you can’t pull off the run you planned. Seeing the pros navigate the rollers and waves was quite the site and very entertaining. Most of the riders actually enjoyed it, he said.
Weigman says that the feedback from the riders, spectators, riders and adaptive community has been very positive. Because there are no prizes (just cool trophies) or cash on the line, riders have a lot more fun and the vibe is more of a grassroots feel. He has already started planning for 2017. We can’t wait to see it all go down again next summer!