Making a splash

Meadow Lake’s Zachary Zacharias performs a wakeboarding trick during a recent competition. Zacharias, 16, won two gold medals in the sport earlier this summer.

Meadow Lake’s Zachary Zacharias performs a wakeboarding trick during a recent competition. Zacharias, 16, won two gold medals in the sport earlier this summer.

by Phil Ambroziak

Zachary Zacharias is making waves in the sport of wakeboarding.

Zacharias earned gold medals at two important wakeboarding competitions earlier this summer during what ultimately proved to be a standout debut season for the 16-year-old Meadow Lake resident.

“This was my first summer as a competitor and my first event was the Flying Beaver Big Air Pro-Am at Kipabiskau Regional Park near Tisdale July 26-27,” Zacharias explained. “There were probably more than 30 riders in that one and I competed in the Junior Men’s category. It was my first win, so it was very exciting. I felt all the effort I’d put into wakeboarding had really paid off.”

Meanwhile, Zacharias’ second gold medal came Aug. 23 when he competed in the Water Ski and Wakeboard Alberta (WSWA) provincials.

“That one was extra special because I was there with two of my friends,” Zacharias added. “My friend, Adam Benson, of Lloydminster placed second while my other friend, Scott McKay of Meadow Lake, was fourth. It was pretty cool having both of them there – they cheered me on a lot.”

To earn gold at both events, Zacharias had to successfully complete a number of wakeboarding tricks including a tantrum, scarecrow, back roll, backside 360 and more. They were skills he mastered after years of practice, as well as through one-on-one training with professional wakeboarder Nick Dorsey of Ardrossan, AB.

“He comes out to our cabin during the summer and coaches me,” Zacharias continued. “He was a really big part of the success I had this year. I’ve been riding for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until last year I started to do all the flips and other tricks. I wanted to compete ever since and am happy I did because everyone involved with the sport is awesome – they really like to help each other out and you can learn so many new things.”

While the 2014 wakeboarding season has wrapped up as far as Zacharias is concerned, he plans to stick with the sport in the future with a goal for next year of making the Sask First Wakeboarding team and competing nationally.
Wakeboarding is a surface water sport which involves riding a wakeboard over the surface of a body of water. It was developed from a combination of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing techniques.

“It isn’t a very big sport around this part of the province, but there are a few really good riders from Saskatchewan,” Zacharias said. “I love it because it’s a chance to be amongst friends and because there’s no greater feeling than when you land a new trick. That’s what keeps me going.”

Meanwhile, on the home front, Zacharias continues to receive support from friends and family. His grandmother, Lorraine Zacharias, said she’s especially proud of everything he’s accomplished this summer.

“I’m very happy for him and am rooting for him all the way,” she said. “It’s a joy to watch him do his tricks.”

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