13-year-old Stewart wins junior national championship
13-year-old Whitley Stewart of Cartersville took her first wakesurf lesson a little over a year ago and in August of 2017 captured the Junior USA Wakesurf National Championship. The 2017 National Championship was held August 17-20 at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia.
Winning a national title in such a short span of time is obviously an amazing feat, but it was made even more impressive by the fact it was only her third competition ever.
Stewart also took first in her division at the Lake Anna Wakesurf Open in Virginia and the Rocky Mountain Wakesurf Open in Utah.
Eleven junior riders competed in the National Championship event which also included divisions for women and men amateurs and professionals. A team competition was also part of the championships.
In wakesurfing, the rider is pulled by a boat via a tow rope to get started on the wave. Once a wakesurfer is up and on the wake, they drop the rope and ride freely on the wave, much like ocean surfing.
Wakesurfing is popular with surfers because the wave does not just end and wash the rider up on the shore after a few exhilarating moments. An ocean wave usually lasts for between 5 and 30 seconds, then the surfer has to paddle back out to catch the next one. A wakesurfer can ride for as long as the boat keeps providing the wave, or as long as they can stay up.
Stewart began wakesurfing in 2016 and continues to train in the sport locally with Allatoona Adventures. She is the daughter of Robbie and Deena Stewart.