Wake up: national champion of new wakesport from Saanich

Wakeskating works anywhere and is ready to “blow up”
- Taylor Hanley

Taylor Hanley flips his board while wakeskating on Elk Lake this summer. The Saanichite won the national wakeskating pro championship in Kamloops last week.

Taylor Hanley flips his board while wakeskating on Elk Lake this summer. The Saanichite won the national wakeskating pro championship in Kamloops last week.

If it’s a body of water, Taylor Hanley can ride it.

From roadside ponds to Elk Lake, the flexibility of wakeskating means even a flooded culvert is ideal for the new sport.

Wakeskating is a cross between wakeboarding and skateboarding. The “skater” is pulled by a boat, Sea-Doo or even a 30-metre winch, and skims the surface of the water on a board that doesn’t have bindings.

Wakeskaters even wear ordinary sneakers.

“The better they drain, the better they’ll work,” said 19-year-old Hanley. “Nike makes some mesh shoes but if there’s nothing else, Van’s classics will do.”

In August, Hanley flipped his way to a national championship at the 2011 Canadian Wake Championship on the Thompson River in Kamloops. Most events involved wakeboarding as wakeskating has yet to “blow up,” Hanley said.

“Wakeskating has grown rapidly over the last five years but its still under the wakeboarding (category),” said Kim McNight, executive director of Water Ski and Wakeboard B.C.

“Wakeboarding is still growing, but wakeskating is growing faster.”

McNight and the committee oversee towed watersports in B.C. and are based in Esquimalt on Admirals Road.

McNight figures about 15 per cent of wakeboarders are actually wakeskating.

Taylor Hanley and Hayley Zedel

“The B.C. contingent of riders is very well represented with national champions (like Hanley) coming from Shawnigan and Sproat lakes.”

In fact, the sport has actually been around since the late ’90s but is mostly big in Florida and the U.S., the home of pro wakesports.

The opportunity to do more tricks on a wakeskate, like spinning the board underfoot while in mid-air, is what attracted Hanley to the sport four years ago.

“I wakeboarded a lot but there’s just so much more freedom on a wakeskate, I never went back.”

Still, despite being national champion and with a few sponsors already, the money isn’t enough to keep the Claremont grad afloat. Hanley is apprenticing as an electrician and hopes to make it to Florida next year, where pro wakeboarders like Saanich’s Kevin Henshaw have a permanent residence.

Fortunately for Hanley, he won’t have to practise alone. Three years ago he convinced his girlfriend to take up the sport.

Hayley Zedel had no board riding experience when Hanley insisted she try wakeskating.

“I couldn’t stand up,” said Zedel, who is going to the University of Victoria this fall after graduating from Stelly’s in June.

“Eventually we had to put me on a wakeboard until I got the hang of the muscle memory out there. Then I switched back and it’s been wakeskating ever since.”

Zedel tied for second of the four girls who competed in wakeskating at the championships in Kamloops, and she won the provincials in Deep Cove earlier this summer.

The two will continue riding the warmer waters of the fall, but will need neoprene socks and gloves as they continue into the colder months. Most often they wakeskate behind a Sea-Doo on Elk Lake but they try to make as many trips to Sproat Lake as possible.

And now that Hanley has a winch, he can turn any old bog into a water park.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rebecca Lang of Any Thyme Gardening installed a seed exchange library in front of her home on Beechwood Avenue. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Victoria gardeners scramble to create local seed exchanges

Fairfield resident’s seed exchange an instant hit

On Feb. 27, a construction vehicle remained on the site of the former encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue as part a clean-up effort. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Encampment between Pat Bay Highway, McKenzie Avenue cleared, all residents relocated

Efforts to disband encampment resumed after January fire

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich council opts to wait until amalgamation study can take place safely in-person

Victoria council, province must weigh-in on next steps for citizens’ assembly

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. B.C.’s approved rapid tests also use a nasal swab, with a machine to scan for COVID-19 antibodies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s rapid COVID-19 tests have produced only two positive results

Tests deployed for exposures in schools, outbreaks in care homes, jails

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed that a call was received just before 10 a.m. Ground paramedics, as well as an air ambulance, are on the way to the area. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BREAKING: Helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

The Nanaimo bar display at the Nanaimo Museum. (City of Nanaimo Instagram)
City of Nanaimo points to correct recipe after New York Times botches batch of bars

City addresses ‘controversy’ around dessert square’s layers

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

Most Read