A Red Deer athlete rode the waves to the top of the podium at the World Wake Surfing Championship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. over the weekend.
Julie Vasselin, 25, placed first in the Outlaw Women Skim division, beating out seven of the world’s best.
Coming off a successful year, in which she won Canadian and U.S. Nationals while being ranked second overall in the division, expectations were high for Vasselin.
After struggling in the semifinal and barely reaching the final, Vasselin stormed back with a ride of a lifetime.
“It was pretty exciting. I felt like I had a lot of pressure to win the contest and after my first day run and doing horrible, I didn’t know whether I was actually going to make it onto the podium at all let alone on top,” said Vasselin.
“It was quite rewarding.”
With the win, Vasselin moves up into professional riding for the 2017 season.
“It’s crazy to think I am now a professional. I am so excited for how much it is going to push me to train and become better,” said Vasselin.
She has only competed for four years and faces women who train all year. It’s a luxury she doesn’t have because of the weather in Alberta, but she sees it as an advantage.
“It’s relaxing in the winter. I get some time away from the sport and get to refresh my mind for the next season. I go hard almost every day during the summer and by the end of the season I get warn out,” said Vasselin.
This year has been a year to remember for Vasselin and her experience at the championships is something she will never forget.
“It was nice to meet so many people from around the world who share that love for the sport and who are passionate about the same things I am,” said Vasselin.
Sara Tallon, 14, out of Sylvan Lake also competed at the World Wake Surfing Championship in the Amateur Women Skim division and placed fifth.