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Wakefest: Inaugural event showcases Gull Lake surf

Surf's up at Cragun's on Gull Lake Saturday for Wakefest. Wakefest is the brainchild of Cody Breitbach at Sound Connection Inc., and will run from 9 a.m. to around 5 or 6 p.m., with awards following the competition. The inaugural wakesurfing comp...

Cody Breitbach gets some air off of a wave on his wake surf board on upper Gull Lake. (Contributed photo)
Cody Breitbach gets some air off of a wave on his wake surf board on upper Gull Lake. (Contributed photo)

Surf's up at Cragun's on Gull Lake Saturday for Wakefest.

Wakefest is the brainchild of Cody Breitbach at Sound Connection Inc., and will run from 9 a.m. to around 5 or 6 p.m., with awards following the competition.

The inaugural wakesurfing competition will feature 11 different classes for a wide variety of skill levels, Breitbach said. They are:

  • Masters
  • Women's amateur surf
  • Women's amateur skim
  • Men's amateur skim
  • Men's amateur surf
  • Juniors
  • Men's outlaw skim
  • Women's pro surf
  • Women's pro skim
  • Men's pro surf
  • Men's pro skim

There are different classes for men and women riders, as well as amateurs, professionals and semi-professionals, dubbed "outlaw." The different surf and skim classes have to do with the type of board that's ridden, Breitbach said.
Surf-style is done on a smaller version of an ocean surfboard, Breitbach said, and more closely resembles ocean wave surfing. Skim-style is done on a small skimboard, and involves performing tricks similar to those done on a skateboard.

"There's different style tricks and everything you can do," Breitbach said.

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Each rider will get two 50-second runs down and back, Breitbach said, if both runs are completed without falling. Each rider is allowed a maximum of four falls for their runs.

Runs will be scored by three judges on the boat pulling the riders, Breitbach said, with Minnesota Inboard Watersports serving as the boat sponsor.

"Everybody will be riding behind the same boat that Minnesota Inboard has provided," Breitbach said.

Breitbach also owns Wake Life, which specializes in wakeboarding and wakesurfing instruction as well as boat rental. He competes in events all over Minnesota, and was looking to bring an event to the Brainerd lakes area.

There was a lot of legwork involved in getting Wakefest off the ground, as Breitbach had to persuade Sound Connection to sponsor the event, as well as a boat sponsor. Then, he had to use his contacts to find riders for the event, to make sure enough would show up. Wakesurfing companies also donated boards, ropes and life jackets to provide them with an incentive.

"There's a lot of work that goes in behind it," Breitbach said.

There's still a few slots open in different classes, Breitbach said, so riders will still be able to register on the day of the event.

The 24-year-old Breitbach has been wakesurfing for about five years, and it's a more laid-back, low-impact sport than wakeboarding or waterskiing, he said. Through his business, he's taught people from age 7 to 50 or 60 how to wakesurf. The boat also travels at a slower speed, so falls don't hurt as much.

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"It appeals to all ages," Breitbach said.

Wakesurfing also works well as a spectator sport, Breitbach said, as attendees will be able to see the riders from the beach. There will also be buoys set up for those with boats who want a place to watch from the water.

SPENSER BICKETT may be reached at 218-855-5859 or spenser.bickett@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/spenserbickett .

Cody Breitbach carves a wave on his wake surf board on upper Gull Lake. (Contributed photo)
Cody Breitbach carves a wave on his wake surf board on upper Gull Lake. (Contributed photo)

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