As I ascended down two thousand feet of narrow highway, I could see Lake Elsinore at the bottom of the mountain. I was here in sunny southern California to cover the first ever Synthetic Swell event. As I arrived into the parking lot of my destination I could see rows and rows of burly trucks with empty trailers, the boats were already out in the water. The sun was out and the weather was a comfortable seventy five degrees, a perfect day for wake surfing. I made my way over to the booth area where you could find companies like Body Glove, Liquid Force, Soulcraft, Walker, Jet Pilot, Hyperlite and Wake Sports pushing their new boards and upcoming gear for the New Year. Both reps and riders were there hanging out, showing off their new boards and boats and giving away trick tips to up and coming riders. I snapped a few pictures and made my way down to the boat dock to hop on the first boat heading out.
Pro riders Chris Wolter from Mendonesia surf and Emily Agate from Soulcraft Boarding were there on the boat along with Emily’s mom and a few others for a bit of fun. We all spent the next few hours on the boat riding, laughing and learning. The great thing about an event like this is that you can hang with the pros and learn from them at no charge. Whether you have zero experience or just a little, this event created a platform for all levels of riders to have a good time and shredding the endless wave. I personally saw both Chris Wolter and Emily Agate helping an up and coming rider with getting his airs down, an opportunity other events don’t always allow for. “Lift your arms straight up when you are trying to get air,” says Chris, “if you want to go up, your arms must lead the way.” A great tip from the third ranked surf style rider in the world.
When I asked Chris what he thought of the event he said this.“It’s always fun riding new boats and trying all the new systems that every new boat has. Teaching people that are getting more involved in the sport and helping it grow, it’s about shredding on the boats and having fun!”
Once we were all wet, sun burnt and hungry, we made our way back to the dock for lunch. Everyone from the pros to the groms, and families all got together to share food. Once water and fuel was back in our bodies and gas tanks, boards and boats were swapped and everyone was eager to get back out on the water. I spent the second part of the day with a different group and different boat, this time enjoying the stylish skills of Mendonesia Surf shaper, Todd Johnson. “There’s no pressure, just coming out and surfing events like this are super fun, you’re out here with the surf community just riding,” says Todd. Once the sun began to set and temperature started cooling, we packed up and made our way back towards the coast.
Day two was scheduled to take place at Pepper Park on the coast of San Diego. I arrived early and was super stoked to see wake surfing take place in the ocean. After test riding the new Carver skateboards and mingling with riders and reps, I made my way onto a boat with Todd and Chris. We were blessed with more amazing weather, something you just get used to down in San Diego, as if it’s almost expected.
It was amazing seeing the color of blues and greens that this wave of a wake produced in the ocean, especially when these guys are destroying every trick. Everyone was in awe as both Mendonesia riders produced flawless airs, three sixties, shove it’s and the occasional wake to wake transfer. Behind them in the background sat enormous navy vessels, ready to embark at a minutes’ notice. I tried my best to keep my camera in focus and ready as every few seconds Chris and Todd were blowing our minds. After a few hours of being out on the bay, we all returned back to the boat dock a bit more salty and sun scorched. With new friendships formed, new tricks learned and smiles all around, the event was a huge success. Huge thanks to all the sponsors that helped make this event happen, as well as Marco Thompson for putting it all together.
Photos and article by: Dylan Bellingan – Follow him on his surf journey with is van “Pearl” at www.thessimplelife.tumblr.com - Instagram: @myamericandreamtour