by Sean Giggy
Within the last 10 years, surfing has become a sport that has broken free of coastal beaches and made its way to small town lakes. One of the sport's pioneers, Dave Briscoe, brings his skills and professional wakeboarding experience to the Minocqua area this week. He's hosting a clinic on the fundamentals of wakeboarding and wakesurfing.
For years, people have traveled to the Northwoods for a variety of watersports, from jetskiing and tubing, to wakeboarding and now….surfing.
Thanks to Stengl Marine and Skier's choice, professional wakeboarder Dave Briscoe spent three days in Minocqua teaching water sport enthusiasts the basics of wakeboarding and inland surfing, a sport he and some friends created nearly a decade ago.
"It was basically a bunch of us wakeboarders trying to have fun in between sets," Briscoe said. "The cool thing was we actually took a wakeboard out, and we actually took plywood at one point, and we tried to see if we could curl the wake on the boat big enough that we could surf on it without a rope, so inland surfing has really taken off now."
"I got my first surfboard two years ago and it took me a while to figure out the right setup on the boat, but once we did and once we got it down, it's so much fun and I could surf for hours if I could," said Patrick Boltz, who was visiting the clinic from Dallas, Texas.
Many participants at Briscoe's clinics came into it familiar with wakeboarding, but took advantage of the opportunity to learn from a pro and improve their own skills.
"I probably wouldn't have been able to do it without his help," said 10-year-old participant Chris Boltz. "But he just basically told me to lean my hip forward a lot more."
"It's so much different than waterskiing," Briscoe said. "The traditional sport of waterskiing has always been forward and backward, whereas wakeboarding gives that side element, such as surfing behind a boat."
Briscoe's teaching style has paid off too. Nearly 80 percent of the professional wakeboarders on tour are taught by him and he says anyone with little to no experience can learn to wakeboard in a matter of minutes.
"I've always had the motto that we guarantee people they'll learn how to ride or they don't have to pay for it," Briscoe said. "In 23 years, I've never had anybody who didn't get up, so typically takes somebody anywhere from five minutes to 20 minutes to actually learn how to wakeboard."
One of the quickest learners Briscoe has taught in his career is his own son, Chad, who holds the Guinness World Record for youngest person to ever waterski, doing so when he was only 6 months and 28 days old.
Online Reporter: Sean Giggy