Local teen Keegan Hodgson, 13, took to the waves this year and began competing in surfing competitions and had a successful first year.
Keegan only began surfing in 2016 after his family decided to buy a boat. That gave him the opportunity to try new water sports.
“We bought a boat. I tried it and I loved it,” he said.
This year, Keegan chose to get a start in the competitive scene and became a member of the Alberta Wake Surf Team.
Keegan surfed in many competitions throughout the summer, one of which was the water ski and wakeboard Alberta WSWA provincials at Chestermere Lake, where he placed second.
He competes in the men’s amateur surf division which has participants ranging from ages 13 to 44.
“It’s kind of a funny thing, that age group. The first competition we went to there were married guys and guys with kids and full beards and he’s like, ‘I’m competing with the bearded guy over there,’” Karmen Hodgson, father of Keegan said.
Competing against people that much older can be intimidating and Keegan found that to be the case initially.
“I was pretty intimidated with those guys because they had kids my age and I was competing against them,” he said.
Keegan finished the season second in points for Water Ski and Wakeboard Alberta, fifth in Canada and currently 16th in the world.
“Whenever we’d go out and surf I just really loved it and I was pretty good at it, so I thought maybe there’s some place I can start competing for this,” Keegan said.
One of the highlights of the season for Keegan was landing a body aerial at Canadian Nationals, where he placed fifth.
Other sports that Keegan participates in are hockey, baseball and snowboarding. He believes they’ve helped surfing come more easily to him.
Although summer is coming to an end, Keegan still wants to keep surfing. He hopes to attend the Parker, Arizona Fall Classic in November and the Lake Pleasant, Arizona Spring Classic in April. He also has ambitions for next season.
“My goals for next season are to win Worlds (World Big Surf Championship) or make it to Worlds next season.”
In order to achieve this, he plans to practise as much as he can and watch professionals in action.