Extreme summer flooding kept Reece Hawthorne from normal wakeboard training on Okanagan Lake.
The Grade 12 Fulton student did manage to get enough work in to be ready for the 2017 Wakeboard Worlds, presented by Nautique, Aug. 24-27, at Ontario Place West Channel in Toronto.
“This year has been a struggle due to the high waters,” said Hawthorne, who turns 17 in September. “We got the boat in around April 10 but had to take it out as soon as May came around. We finally got the boat back in the water one week prior to my first competition down in Abbotsford at Albert Dyck Lake.”
Hawthorne, who worked as a gas jockey on Okanagan Lake this summer, rode in the men’s advance wakeboard division and struck gold.
“I was super happy with my riding and was stoked to come out on top of the podium. In the system 2.0 cable competition, I placed fourth in the junior boys division after placing second in the qualifiers. I had a tough fall right off the start of my first run in finals, which set me back. However, I was still happy with my final results in both cable and boat. I plan on heading down to Toronto knowing the competition will be tight and I’ll have to ride good.”
Hawthorne stepped up training the last few weeks with boats allowed on local waters. He practised with his father, Rex, a local dentist who will compete in the Adaptive Division at the worlds.
“He’ll probably do better than me,” chuckled Reece, of his 48-year-old father.
Reece competes on the Thursday and Friday, while Rex hits the water Saturday and Sunday.
“Special thanks to my sponsors that have helped me out this year, Boardsports Canada and Ronix wakeboards. I’d also like to thank my coaches; Dusty O’Ferrall, Keaton Roper and Trevor Hansen.”
Reece struck silver in the 2016 B.C. Summer Games Under 18 boys wakeboard competition at Hatzic Lake near Abbotsford.
He took a bronze medal in 10-13 years wakeskate at the 2014 Games in Nanaimo.
The 5-foot-8, 140-pounder plans to compete and train in Florida next spring break. Hawthorne also excels in hoops.