« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Published July 08 2007

10,000 Wakes

PLYMOUTH, Minn. – Becky Cabak stood on a dock at Medicine Lake in Plymouth one morning last month. Her kids were putting on life preservers. The boat was almost ready to go. The sun shone brightly and the water was calm. It was a perfect day for wakeboarding camp. There was only one tiny hurdle she and a visitor were navigating: wakeboarding camp?

Is this the type of summer camp the previous generation remembers? “No,” she said with a laugh. “But that’s why it’s here, right?”

Indeed, the kids of today seem to be ready for such a thing – and a company called 10,000 Wakes (or 10KWakes) is filling the void. Owned and operated by Kris and Andrea Jedda, a husband and wife living in Coon Rapids, 10,000 Wakes has expanded its business this year to include summer camps.

With the help of several skilled instructors, kids are learning the extreme sport of wakeboarding – akin to snowboarding on water with the help of a tow rope and a specialty boat. The first camp began this week at Medicine Lake; other two- and four-day camps are scheduled throughout the summer at metro lakes through partnerships with local parks and recreation departments.

The Jeddas started 10,000 Wakes a few years ago as a side project focusing primarily on wakeboard clinics and private parties. Though both still have full-time jobs elsewhere – Kris, 32, works at Valspar, while Andrea, 27, works in human resources for a home health care firm – they decided to pitch the idea of summer camps this year.

“The parks and rec departments got excited to do something new and different,” said Andrea, adding that a few cities approached them after word of the camps spread. “Kris and I worked all winter to get this set up how we wanted it to be.”

Jon, 10, and Melissa, 13, are Becky Cabak’s kids and the camp guinea pigs. They are in the morning session of the first camp; and though they have snowboarding experience, they are wakeboarding novices. They appear, however, to be quick learners.

“I learned how to cross the wake,” Jon said with a smile.

That was covered as part of learning fundamentals – safety tips, what not to do, how to get going, how to position ones heels and toes, etc. After that, they’ll learn how to jump over the wake. By the end of the week, they should be doing insane tricks like the ones their instructor, Jade Whirley, demonstrated Tuesday morning. Right?

Melissa giggled and shook her head. But she did manage to stay on the board for a lengthy ride Tuesday, which is the objective at this point.

“We wanted to create a chance for everyone to ride,” Kris said, “even if they don’t have a boat.”

That’s the boat the Cabaks fall into – though perhaps not for long. After only one day of camp, Jon and Melissa already were checking out prices for their own wakeboards and setting even loftier goals.

“Now they want a boat,” Becky Cabak said. “Go figure.”

Jon and Melissa should consider themselves lucky. They are the only two students in the boat at this camp. At other camps, there will be five kids per boat, and many camps will expand to a second boat in order to accommodate more students.

More pupils means better business and an increased chance for the Jeddas to expose others to their love of wakeboarding. Kris grew up around water and has been in love with the concept of wakeboarding for two decades. It has enjoyed the same upward arc in popularity as many other alternative sports, as evidenced by the existence of things like the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour. Young wakeboarders might be just as likely to know Darin Shapiro – an expert who is scheduled to appear at the 10,000 Wakes camp in July at Breezy Point Resort – as they are Barry Bonds.

Kris said he hopes to eventually make 10,000 Wakes his only job. With a cloudless sky, warm sun and occasional spray from the lake brought about this question for him: Are you sure you’d rather do this than work in an office? He looked back and grinned.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “This is my passion.”