Kipabiskau Water Sports Club (KWSC) is winning big on the national stage.
Daniel Gray, president of KWSC and vice-president of Sports for All with Water Ski Wakeboard Saskatchewan (WSWS), is giving accolades to a long list of KWSC athletes who recently won nationals held a Deas Island Regional Park in Delta, B.C. Aug. 18-20.
KWSC athletes who attended were: Jacob Clunie, 11, Clavet; Mason Wempe-Monz, 10, Saskatoon; Marin Wempe-Monz, 13, Saskatoon; Krista Wempe-Monz, 42, Saskatoon; Troy Monz, 42, Saskatoon. Additional Saskatchewan athletes included: Hunter Stumborg, 14, Humboldt; Braden Stumborg, 39, Humboldt; and Ashley Leugner, 38, Regina
Marin Wempe-Monz won nationals back-to-back and is now headed to The Nautique World Wakeboard Association Wakeboard World Championship which is presented by GM Marine Engine Technology and is being held at Castelo De Bode in Ferreira do Zezere, Portugal, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3.
Wempe-Monz is 13 years old and started water sports and wakeboarding when he was five years old. His mother, Krista Wempe-Monz, said he has a passion for several sports but most of all wakeboarding. His passion for water sports started at a Kipabiskau rip and ride clinic. After starting on two skis, he progressed to one ski and then took up wakeboarding. He also plays AAA Hockey in Saskatoon and Spring Academy football/ fall KFL football. The Wempe-Monz family is from Saskatoon but lives primarily at Kipabiskau Lake over the summer months to train.
Wempe-Monz is a member of the Wake Saskatchewan High Performance team and as a result, his coaches, Ashley Leugner and Taylor Fiesel, come to Kipabiskau to run training clinics with Marin and his Kipabiskau Watersports teammates.
The Wempe-Monz family and some of his teammates travel to Florida for training both behind a boat and riding at a cable park. Next season the cable park in Saskatoon should be up and running and they look forward to ripping it up. Wakeboarding is a family passion, with Marin’s dad, Troy, having quite a history in the sport. His mom, Krista, who also rides, and brother Mason is a fellow team member. Most recently the entire family competed at Nationals in Delta, B.C., where Marin brought home the gold for the second year in a row and his mom brought home a silver.
Braden Stumborg of Humboldt also placed first in his age category at Nationals in Deas Island. Stumberg came out of retirement to partake in Provincials and Nationals. Braden is a local watersports enthusiast and former competitive wakeboarder. He was a former travelling clinic coach for Water Ski Wakeboard Sask. and is currently keeping the sport alive through his volunteer efforts teaching watersports to kids in and around Humboldt.
Ashley Leugner turned professional in 2007 and is one of the most decorated female wakeboard athletes in Canada, including being the 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013 and 2015 National Wakeboard Champion, 2009 silver medalist at the IWWF Worlds in Korea, and the 2009 wakeboarder of the year. She recently returned to the sport after dealing with a host of knee surgeries and is targeting a spot on Team Canada for their run at the upcoming Pan Amercian Games.
Gray said this was the largest cohort to go to Wake Nationals for Saskatchewan for quite some time. Last year Team Sask. had two competitors, but years prior SK was absent on the scene. “WSWS is working with Wake Canada to host Wake Nationals in the coming years, once we have successfully established our 2-tower cable park that is being installed in Saskatoon's North Industrial area.”
Gray said, “We are incredibly proud of our athletes at KWSC and WSWS. Saskatchewan has tremendous watersports talents throughout the province and spanning all disciplines, including waterski, jump, trick, wakeboard, wakesurf, and adaptive programming. There is mainstay of volunteers who have kept watersports alive and a growing group of volunteers who are helping to evolve watersports in Saskatchewan.”
Various business and organizations and businesses, such as Backside Boardshop, Novlan Brothers Ford, Saskatoon Water Sports, Martin Motor Sports Marine, and Robertson Motor Sports and Marine, also support the sport.
“We cannot thank everyone enough for their continued support and efforts in keeping watersports going and in developing high performance watersports athletes in Saskatchewan,” said Gray.
KWSC has been an active club since 1984, coming on 40 years next year. Gray said they are the largest water sports club operating on public water in Saskatchewan.
“Our club is built on a legacy of volunteerism and passion for watersports and is an active contributor to the vibrancy of Kipabiskau Regional Park,” said Gray.
Over the years, said Gray, they have maintained a legacy in developing high-performance watersport athletes and are proud to be home to athletes such as Jim Clunie, who was a member of the national team and competed at many prestigious international tournaments, including several world championships and Pan American games and championships. Clunie helped team Canada to four team world championship medals including gold in 1991 and 1993, won an individual bronze in jump at the 1993 and 1997 worlds, and posted fourth place finishes at both the 1995 and 1999 Pan Am Games.
He also cited Brooke Curry (Smith) a former national water ski jump champion who obtained a scholarship to attend the University of Lafayette in Louisiana, where she joined the Ragin Cajuns on their quest toward national championships.
Gray also said, “KWSC hosts an annual water sports clinic following the August long weekend, where we teach folks how to live life on the water by enjoying water sports. Each year we see anywhere from 20-50 participants and rely on a complement of coaches, tournament tow boats and drivers to provide the support necessary to deliver such programming.”
For more information on KWSC and its clinic, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wakeboarding competitions are judged on the following criteria: the rider gets two passes where they perform a certain number of tricks. The passes are judged based on the amplitude of tricks, difficulty of tricks, and style and clean landings. There are usually three judges in the boat, a professional driver and a rope management person. The boat and amplitude of wake is the same for all riders. However, riders choose their speed and rope length.
Nicole Goldsworthy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SASKTODAY.ca