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13 of the Sickest Spots to Wakeboard in the US

Surfing Outdoor
by Alex Scola Jun 16, 2015

1. Lake Powell (Utah/Arizona)

Spanning 186 miles along the Utah/Arizona border (though mostly on the Utah-side of the Colorado River), Lake Powell is the second largest man-made lake in the country.

Though Lake Powell sees roughy 2 million visitors a year (mostly in the summer months), the lake itself is so large that you’ll have no problem finding a smooth spot, regardless of how busy it is that day.

2. Lake Shasta (California)

Ten miles north of Redding, CA,  Lake Shasta is one of NorCal’s premiere watersports destinations (don’t believe me? Check out Shasta’s own Wakeboarding Academy or this sick feature from Wakeboarding Magazine).

Avid Shasta regulars recommend waiting until just after 6 PM, when all the daytrippers leave and the water returns to optimal, glassy surf conditions.

3. Lake Havasu (Arizona)

Personally, I’ve found that there’s nothing quite like the sandstone reds of the Arizona hills to contrast the blues of the lakes and rivers running throughout the state — and Lake Havasu might just be the best place to witness this for yourself.

For some riders, Havasu gets a bad rep for being a smaller and shallower lake, making it considerably less-than-ideal on busy or windy days. Furthermore, it has gotten so popular recently that there have been some growing pains — and a number of the most popular spots to make some wake are in jeopardy. For more information, or to find out how you can #savethespot, check out the petition here.

4. Blue Lake (Florida)

A couple years ago, “Blue Lake” in Florida was the featured backdrop for X Games Gold Medalist Danny Harf’s wakeboarding video, “Defy.” Ever since then, wakeboarders from all over the country have been trying to shred those same waters. The only problem is: the location is both a secret, and also possibly on privately owned land.

Some locals suspect it might be one of the several smaller lakes in Clermont, FL, and a few have even busted covert missions to find out for themselves. If you do go looking for Blue Lake, ride at your own risk… and take lots of pictures for the rest of us!

5. Wailua River (Hawaii)

Let’s be honest, having Hawaii be the setting for an epic day on the river is pretty much a watersports enthusiast’s wet dream (no pun intended). The Wailua River is a 20-mile stretch of water on the east coast of Kauai, the oldest of the main Hawaiian islands. As the only river in the whole of Hawaii that can be easily navigated, Wailua is a main draw for river rats and tourists alike (and is currently Tripadvisor’s #2 activity for the region).

Bonus: you can take regular breaks from your day of wakeboarding and hit up the awesome 100-foot Secret Falls, a pool with a rope swing, a wildlife refuge, and Kamokila Hawaiian Village (all of which are along the river).

6. Lake Tahoe (California/Nevada)

On the Carson Range of the Sierra Nevadas (on the Carson City side the border of between California and Nevada), Lake Tahoe exists as the largest freshwater alpine lake in the whole of North America. In its heyday, Lake Tahoe saw roughly 3 million annual visitors… but unfortunately due to the severe drought situation in California, Lake Tahoe is currently on its way to an all-time low.

So if you’re thinking about making waves in the ever-dwindling waters there, you should probably pencil it in for sooner rather than later.

7. Canyon Lake (California)

Not to be confused with Canyon Lake in Texas or Arizona (both of which are sick spots in their own right), the Californian Canyon Lake is a small community-encircled lake in the SoCal area of Riverside. Since it was incorporated formally in 1990, the City of Canyon Lake has been rife with contention between those who would like to use the lake for pleasure boating and watersports, and those who own the expensive lakefront properties and don’t want hooligans using the lake for fun.

To-date, this battle has resulted in myriad regulations restricting certain forms and types of watercraft on the lake, but thankfully the ability to wakeboard there has been preserved. At least, for now.

8. Table Rock Lake (Missouri)

An artificial lake in the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake rocks a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence as one of Missouri’s most-visited watersports and fishing destinations (and has even been a host of the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboarding competition several years running).

Hugely popular on Wakeboarding forums across the internet, hardcore wakeboarders will make the special trip to Table Rock for the wetsuit-less boarding in the temperate,  70-something-degree summer months.

9. Lake Austin (Texas)

If you follow the Colorado River all the way south to Texas, you’ll eventually hit Lake Austin: where Austinites go to beat the heat and get their shred on.

Sure, it may be a little more laid-back and party-centric than other spots in North Austin — but if you find the vibe there isn’t your cup of tea you can always take a 20 minute drive north to Lake Travis (where there are fewer boaters and the vibe is said to be a little more business… provided you view “wakeboarding” as “business”).

10. Lake Allatoona (Georgia)

As another regular stop for Pro Wakeboarding Tours, Lake Allatoona (aka “Toona”) in Georgia is a bucket-list-worthy destination for any self-respecting wakeboarder (pro and amateur alike). 35 miles northwest of Atlanta, Allatoona is also one of the few spots in the country where nearly every wakeboarding school in the area is owned and operated by world-class professional wakeboarders (like Georgia Wakeboarding Lessons, for example).

This past weekend, Supra hosted a massive Pro-level competition at Lake Allatoona, which broke area records for the largest cash prize payouts in the two-decade history of the tour.

11. Dale Hollow Lake (Kentucky/Tennessee)

Another border-straddler (between the south of Kentucky and northern Tennessee), Dale Hollow Lake is touted as being “one of the cleanest lakes in the U.S.” (which is good, because if you’re going to get a mouth-full of lake water, it might as well be clean).

The main recommendation echoed by lake regulars for maximizing your trip to Dale Hollow is: grab a house boat, relax, and gun ’til you find some glass.

12. Suwannee River (Florida/Georgia)

A several-year host of the Rockstar Wakeskate Pro Tour, the waters of the Suwannee are ridden by some of the biggest names in wakeboarding and wakeskating the world over. In fact, the exact venue used for the Suwannee Pro is basically in the backyard of hometown hero and reigning champ Nick Taylor’s permanent residence.

But don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself why Wakeboard Magazine described the course and the area as a “wakeskate dreamland”:

13. Chain of Wakes (Florida)

Virtually smack-dab in the center of the state of Florida (an hour drive east of Tampa) Chain of Wakes is one part lake to two parts full-service wakeboarding company. And while many companies have tried and failed to nail the “perfect wakeboarding experience” for their patrons, the reviews are in for Chain of Wakes in Winter Haven… and they’re bulletproof.

Ideal for folks who just want to ride and have everything else taken care of (such as lodging, boat rental, gear, etc.), CoW delivers — so you can focus on one thing: hitting the water. 

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