Wakeboarding, or surfboarding as my Grandmother likes to call it, is not only what led me to meet Emilio, it is also the backbone of everything at Crossed Feet Sports Camps! Emilio has been wakeboarding and coaching now for over 9 years and is a true advocate for all things wake! He is a phenomenal coach, and a phenomenal rider and has been trying to teach one of the most stubborn human beings on the planet (me) the tricks that I have always dreamt of doing.
When we travel, or when we move, there are two things we look for in order to settle ourselves! A CrossFit box and a wakeboard school! Emilio has worked at a number of top schools, and we have also wakeboarded in many great schools in Europe and in the US.
We have previously made a list of CrossFit boxes that we have trained in together and we wanted to make a similar list of the wakeboard schools that we have visited. Enjoy the read and make sure to let us know of any schools we are missing out on! Hopefully see you out on the water!
Wakeboarding Schools in Florida
Florida is the mecca of wakeboarding, with fantastic year-round weather and limitless lakes, it is home to some of the world’s best schools.
· LTS Wake is a wakeboard school located in Pompano Beach just 40 minutes North of Miami. Owned and run by 6-time world champion Dean Lavelle, LTS caters to everyone from the first timers to pro level wakeboarders and wake surfers. Dean has a never ending technical knowledge and has developed some super innovative teaching techniques. This is an amazing school and is in fact where Emilio and I met! Dean and Katie are good friends and great people, we cannot recommend it more! <3
· O’town is a wakeboard school right in the heart of Orlando. Coach and owner Glen Fletcher is one of the most accomplished wakeboard coaches in the industry. Glen has an extremely unique touch to his coaching, and an amazing ability to make all his riders feel energised and motivated. Fortunately, I lived very close by and was lucky enough to call O’town my home for a couple of years! Glen and his wife Melissa welcomed me with arms wide open as a part of the O’town family!
· Chain of Wakes brings a touch of English humour to the Florida lakes! A top notch wakeboard and wake surf school in Winter Haven Florida (about an hour drive from Orlando International Airport). UK Team Coach Stew Mackie and Pro Rider Sam Carne (along with the lovely pup Daisy) make a fantastic team, and cater to all levels of riders from the complete beginner to the competition level pro. I was introduced to Florida at Chain of Wakes and absolutely love this school. Expect great advice, lots of fun, off the water training and puppy love!
· Freedom Wake School is owned and run by wakeboard icons Tarah and Cobe Micacich. Tarah brings a female touch to her coaching which I have thoroughly enjoyed in the past. Set on their private lake, Freedom is a beautiful school that caters to all levels of wakeboarders and wake surfers!
· Above the Wake is a fantastic non-profit who I was luckily enough to do some work with in Florida. Their mission is: to create positive experiences on the water for children with Autism and cognitive delays, breaking down stigmas and unleashing potential for greatness through individual teachable moments. They are based in Michigan and run several events throughout the year in Florida. Be sure to check them out and the fantastic work they are doing!
Wakeboard Schools in the UK
· Princes Club unfortunately closed its doors in 2012 but I could not make this list without mentioning it! I learnt how to wakeboard and ski here, I spent many summers here as a kid playing hide and seek in the willow trees and trying to ride the owners Great Danes like horses! This was a fantastic club and due to a tragic accident, it had to shut down.
· JB SKI is a superb water ski and wakeboard school only 40 minutes away from London. The wakeboard school at JB is run by top rider and coach Lee Debuse. Lee is a great coach and rider and often takes students over to Chain of Wakes to ride in warmer waters with Stew and Sam!
Wakeboard Schools in Greece
· Kampos Beach Watersports on the beautiful island of Patmos is owned and run by old friend and coach Andreas Kokkonis. I love this place and when the wind is down there really is no better place to ride!
· The Lake Water Ski Club Loutraki we recently discovered this fantastic school, just over an hour drive from the centre of Athens! This unique location features an enclosed lake on the sea.
· Drepani is a stunning school based opposite the island of Poros. The family who own and run the school are all extremely high-level skiers and have countless trophies amongst them. The school is set in a lagoon and boasts fantastic conditions. They have six slalom boats and a Malibu VLX for the wakeboarders out there!
· Moraitis Beach in Schinias, minutes from the historic Marathon is a stunning beach bar home to a California style wakeboard and water ski school on the beach! Make sure to have the Matcha Ninja Warrior after you ride! 😊 For the windsurfers and triathletes this school is a true sports lover’s paradise.
Shark Water Sports in Varkiza is a family run school at Yabanaki beach in Varkiza, just 45 minutes from the centre of Athens. This is a fantastic spot for riders of all levels as they have both a wakeboard and a ski boat.
Wakeboarding Schools in Switzerland
· Ski Nautique Club Neuchâtel located on the superb lac Neuchâtel and home to three beautiful Malibu boats catering for water skiers, wakeboarders and wake surfers! There is a great little bar and the club shares its dock with a lovely restaurant. Emilio worked at SNCN last summer as their head coach.
Wakeboarding Schools in Italy
Now I’m handing over the mic to Emilio!
Well, I guess it is my turn to talk about the wakeboard schools in my homeland.
· Crotto del Misto In summer of 2016 I worked in Lake Como, specifically in a little village called Lezzeno for Morgan Ski School. Morgan is a school owned by Molinari Family, whom have a long history in waterskiing, barefooting and wakeboarding in Italy. Coach Enzo, has been an internationally renowned athlete in the barefoot world and he also forged some of the top wakeboard athletes (Massimiliano Piffaretti). Technical introduction apart, this place and the Molinari family have been fantastic with me, with us and if you are searching for good food, a gorgeous place and top water sports coaching, Crotto del Misto and Morgan Ski School are there waiting for you.
· La Baietta La Baietta, situated on Lago Poma in Partinico (Sicily), is the first lake that I've been wakeboarding on. The town near by the lake isn't pretty, but the lake itself is a time bubble, and despite being a dam it has undeniable charm. The boat is an Air Nautique 210 (the mid-engined one) so the wake isn't gigantic but it is super fun and the place offers a cosy, familiar environment and very good food when the bbq is on. Capisc'???!!
· The Bee Riding at The Bee, is like teleporting to a river somewhere in South America: green water, mangroves and river tide. Impressive. The nice things about riding on a river are enhanced buoyancy (more pop) and super flat water. The environment is nice and familiar, and they have a horned-bow Mastercraft X2 which suits a big range of riders and tastes.
· CNVS is an extremely significant place for me, and shaped an important chunk of my being. Lago Del Salto is a beautiful lake near Rieti, an hour and a half from Rome. The school, other than having an amazing pool of friendly clients, has the best offer in terms of riding choice: G21, Super Air Nautique 210, Prostar, an Airon Marine and a System 2.0 cable. There I met the most important friends I have a had a great time, and I recommend it to everyone.