A Local wakeboarder proved he is worthy of his lifelong dream of going professional after he placed second at Nationals on Aug. 26 in Toronto, Ont.
“It was so surreal just to be alongside riders with such amazing talent,” said Chestermere wakeboarder Joey Gurr.
“Going in I definitely didn’t have high expectations,” Gurr added, “I was stoked to make it past the qualifying round.
“I was so happy that I got second in the finals. I definitely exceeded my personal predications and everyone else’s,” Gurr said.
All of Gurr’s hard work and dedication during the season shined through when he landed his final run at Nationals.
“I rode harder and longer than I ever have before. My tricks were solid,” he added, “It’s certainly the best contest run of my life.”
Before Gurr competed in Nationals he wasn’t feeling mentally strong or positive about the upcoming competition because of the mistakes he had made during his runs throughout the season.
“When I was told that I got second, I was in utter disbelief, then my immediate reaction was to call my father and aunt who were the ones that did everything for me to get there.”
Joey’s father Darren Gurr said, “He lives to be on the water.”
Darren added, Joey’s work ethic, focus, and attention to detail are the reasons he has come so far in his wakeboarding journey.
Joey is determined, and he is passionate about any sport he has ever participated in, Darren said.
Darren added, he has always been told that Joey competes from the heart while putting fun at the top of his priority list.
“He isn’t shy about surrounding himself with mentors. Those that went before him. He is in constant contact with a team of coaches, professional riders and anyone with experience,” Darren said.
During the wakeboarding season, the Gurr’s household consists of early mornings, and many trips to lakes around Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana either to compete, or train with coaches and other riders.
“He gets on the water in April and rides until the lake is emptied. In the summer he rides until its dark,” Darren said.
He added, “In the winter he trains hard in the gym to increase his strength and does yoga year-round.
“His mental preparation is just as important. He visualizes every day whether he is on the water or not. I think it was his mental strength that put him in a place to do so well at nationals.”
However, Joey’s wakeboarding career has not come without some hurdles to overcome, such as injuries.
Throughout the years of competing, Joey has suffered from multiple concussions, a broken ankle, and a broken vertebra in his back.
“This is the first year he has not missed substantial time because of injuries,” Darren said.
“When it comes to the injuries. He has learned that training his mental strength as well as working hard on rehab prepares him to come back even stronger or take on any challenge in life,” he added.
“Any sport builds character. He always tells me that what he does for a sport is what other people do for holidays,” Darren added, “He is very grateful for any opportunity to be on the water.”
Although young, Joey has had to learn how to be independent throughout this wake boarding career, Darren added.
“He has been traveling on his own a lot. Whether it’s to Orlando or other lakes. He will get on the bus with his wakeboard if he needs to,” he said.
“The wake boarding and boating community is amazing. Other parents and family members have been incredible,” Darren said.
Joey said, “I would really just like to thank my dad so much for all the time and support he puts into help me achieve this. Also, to my sponsor John Kittler from the Chestermere landing, without him my training time would be cut in half.”
Joey said his next goals are to compete across the continent, to spend more time training in Orlando during the winter, compete internationally, and apply for the Canadian team.