Wake Mag featured a story on The Wakebabes in one of their recent issues! Read the full article here:
Women’s wakeskating pioneer Jen GilanFarr has been instrumental in progressing the sport in the US and around the world… here’s her story:
Over three years ago I got a surprise phone call from Silas Thurman, he was getting ready to launch what would quickly become the one of the most progressive contest series in wake – The Wakeskate Tour. He knew I would be showing up at every stop to compete against the guys, so he called to see if I was interested in having a women’s division and if I wanted to take the lead on making it happen. If I could get 6 girls to each stop we would have a women’s division with prize money, a first for women’s wakeskating in the states. We begged the last several years for a women’s division at the only core wakeskate event, the Toe Jam, and were left with no choice but to compete against the guys. This time we didn’t even have to beg. It was a dream come true, and it would become the catalyst that would progress women’s wakeskating for the next several years.
I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task to rally 6 girls, at the time there were really only a few of us with a solid base of tricks. The biggest challenge was the format of The Wakeskate Tour, every stop was set-up like a skate spot with a pool gap pulled by a winch. Most of the girls had never even ridden behind a winch, let alone hit a drop. By some miracle we managed to pull together 7 girls for the first stop of the tour. The gap ended up being massive and we were sending girls down that could barely make the ollie out. That first year was tough. It was scary at times, but we charged it and that’s all that matters – that’s how we got to where we are now.
The second year we talked some foreigners into flying over and checking out The Wakeskate Tour. Strangely enough some of the best female wakeskaters at the time were scattered across the world, hiding in Slovakia, the Philippines and Sweden. Tynna Rosero was in the Philippines winning contests against the boys. It was a dream of hers to ride with other girls and push the sport. She saw how much fun we were having on tour and bought a flight to the US, she’s been here ever since. We also saw this girl Zuzana Vrablova who was killing it in Europe and we finally talked her into coming to the last stop of the tour that year. Zuzana ended up winning her first stop and has been hooked ever since. She has flown to several more stops all the way from Slovakia to join in on the fun. Zuzana and Tynna have both been granted athlete visas and now live in Florida full-time so they can ride with the rest of the ladies and compete on the tour.
This crew of girls that ride together on the tour are now known as The Wakebabes. The name started as a joke, and we took it too far and suddenly it wasn’t a joke anymore. The Wakeskate Tour didn’t promote the women’s division, so we created an outlet to promote ourselves as The Wakebabes. We launched a website, a Facebook page, and an Instagram – and the whole thing just kind of took off. Several women’s crews and groups started popping up in wake, as if we helped start a movement. Our goal as The Wakebabes is not only to progress the sport and push each other on tour, but also to encourage participation in the sport from the ground up through Girls Ride Days and Clinics.
Outside of the tour we recently launched the first women’s specific wakeskate company – Wandr Co. Only one or two of the girls were riding for board companies so we started our own as a foundation to support ourselves. We hope to generate some income with Wandr Co. to help support the dreams of The Wakebabes – from taking trips and filming to throwing more grassroots events.
The tour brought us together as a pack, it gave us a reason to ride harder and push ourselves. Even though at the end of the day it’s a contest, we aim to keep it as casual and fun as possible. Women’s wakeskating is too small to be super competitive. We need to work together to grow together. We try to keep the vibe as positive and encouraging as possible. We teach each other our tricks and secrets because that’s what we have to do to progress the sport. Year one on tour an ollie down a drop could land you a spot on the podium in the women’s division. Now it takes a heavy rail hit, a big spin variation, or big clean style. It’s been fun watching the progression from stop to stop, and year to year. New faces keep popping up on tour, and The Wakebabes family continues to grow. Women’s wakeskating is on the rise and we are loving every moment of it. Follow us on our adventures, and join us along the way! The future is bright.