Canada's Lesser Known Wakeboarding Hotspot
Article by: Ashley Leugner
Date: May 14 2007
One of the most underrated
provinces in Canada is starting to make their mark in the map in the
wakeboard scene. Saskatchewan, home of Rusty “The
Bonecrusher” Malinoski, is beginning to prove that there is
room for more than one pro wakeboarder within its borders. Props go out
to Rusty for putting us on the map and showing us that it is possible
for a small town kid to make it big.
For most of us, including Rusty, it started the same way.
Here’s the story of how it all began. I was walking
down the street one day when this grey Chevy van with smoked out
windows pulled up beside me. The man inside rolled down the
window and said, “Hey kid, you want some candy?”
“Heck yah! I love candy” I replied and slid open
the creepy van door to get my delicious treats. I was
surprised to find it filled with kids just like me who wanted
candy. The driver of the van told us his name was Mike
Lieffers and that we all had a lot more in common than our love for
candy. Mike, false teeth and all sped away with all of us
inside. In the back of the van sat the largest of us all,
Rusty, two younger kids, Mark and Craig McMorris a curly haired boy,
Adam Burwell, Anthony Hollick who we originally had mistaken
for Derek Zoolander (must have been the hair), a smaller stalky quiet
guy, Braden Stumborg, the human ox, Dylan Millar, a squinty eyed guy
with the weirdest accent you’ll ever hear, Roach aka Riley
Ness and a girl, me. Because of our short attention spans we
forgot about the promise for candy and just started wakeboarding
together, which I guess was Mike’s plan all along.
Years later Mike sold his van and got married.
Recently, the prodigy Mike pushed into motion has kicked into high
gear. Needless to explain in detail Rusty is killing it.
We’ve all spent time here and there in Florida dabbling in a
little off season riding, but this year we decided to get
serious. Anthony who was already in Florida found a place
just down the road from Rusty for us to rent for the winter.
Dylan, Braden, Adam, Adam’s dad, and I drove 60 hours with
snowstorms, extreme cold fronts, McDonald’s breakfasts, Mrs.
Burwell’s cookies, uncomfortable sleeps and truck stops in
Adam’s F150 pulling a VLX. Braden, a long time
coach at O-Town Watersports was returning to his duties for the winter
while the rest of us continued to our new home, a shanty yellow
bungalow on lake Minnehaha. At first sight it was an awesome house for
us, except for the other roommates like, wolf spiders, cockroaches and
fire ants. Ants, ants everywhere!!! A couple
exterminator visits later and we felt like we could sleep through the
night without a little creature crawling across our faces and open our
drawers without finding something already eating our lunch.
We also have two pet vultures that eat lunch and supper everyday out on
our dock they are pretty messy eaters and never clean up after
themselves. Between the vultures, bugs, sea monsters and bush
creatures around our house we do the occasional wakeboard thing,
training and competing. Everyone in the household has the
common goal of qualifying for the Pro Tour and we do have an awesome
chance of getting some Saskatchewanites on the tour this year.
We are really lucky to have the crew we have to push each
other past our limits. Saskatchewan had a really successful
year last year, winning the most medals ever won by a province at a
national championship. In everyone’s eyes
wakeboarding is an individual sport, but that’s what sets us
apart, Saskatchewan treats wakeboarding as a team sport. We
all ride together, we all fall together, we all live together, we all
win together and I can guarantee you that we will all be on the Pro
- Congrats to Braden Stumborg for his two shots in the June 2007 issue
- Check out Anthony Hollick’s interview in SBC
Wake’s next issue.