Minnesota group strives to bring more diversity to wake surfing

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With the Minnesota Wake Surf Championship underway on Lake Minnetonka this weekend, one group is hoping to bring new faces to the sport.

“Wake surfing is so much fun,” said Shawn Taher of Inner City Surf. “Going out on the lake and out of town. It is very pleasant sometimes.”

That’s why Shawn Taher started Inner City Surf to bring more diversity to wake surfing and other water sports in general. So far, his non-profit organization has run two clinics on Lake Minnetonka for children from underserved communities, where they can learn how to catch a wave pulled 25 to 30 feet behind a boat.

“I think the kids can go out and do something they’re not used to doing normally and they can see if there’s a sport they like,” Taher said.

Taher says he came up with the idea about a year ago when more and more Minnesotans started hitting the water as one of the few things they could do during quarantine. He says he noticed a gap in diversity because not everyone has the opportunity to participate in the sport.

“It’s an access issue,” Taher said. “A problem with perspective. There is a problem with socializing about being uncomfortable around water and we need to fix it. We need to bring our community together.”

At first, the children go surfing with a coach to see if they can get back on their feet. However, the ultimate goal is for them to let go of the rope and make a splash by doing an activity that they could enjoy for the rest of their life.

“Our rule, as you well know at Inner City Surf, is that everyone rides a wave,” concluded Taher.


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