Riding the ultimate wave


Courtesy of Natalia Alarcon

NC Junior Esteban Alarcon flies through the air on his Chaos Surf Co. board. A high caliber trick in the sport includes getting big air, a skill he works at daily. “Even though it may not be the most technical trick, getting air is such an exhilarating feeling, it’s just you and the board chilling in mid-air. I love this sport and it gives me a satisfying rush every time I ride the wave,” Alarcon said.

Isabella Keaton, Reporter, Photographer

The idea of someone riding a wave generated by a boat with nothing more than a bootless board may sound impossible, but NC Junior, Esteban Alarcon, defies the odds. Wakesurfing requires balance, focus, and a determined mind, all qualities that he possesses. He practices five times a week, spending an average of 2 hours minimum on the water. Alarcon maintains his skills with hard work and long nights on Lake Allatoona.

“When I finally figured out how to manipulate my body and board to extract speed from the curl, it was out of this world; it was gnarly. I reached a realm of peace and happiness that I had never really experienced,” said Alarcon.

After competitively surfing for two years now, surfing company Chaos Surf co. sponsored him six months ago and currently supplies him with boards and other equipment. Wakesurfing competitions allow surfers to showcase their skills within a 45-60 second run.

Alarcon recently returned from the USA Wakesurf Championship and received second place after nailing his “180 shove-it:” a technical trick where the rider executes a 180 degree spin on their board in the air.

“This is the first competition that I went into calmly and confidently. That allowed my performance to be of a higher caliber,” said Alarcon.

Alarcon spends his training time with his family,friends, and mentors, who encourage him every step of the way. Natalia and Juan Alarcon, his parents, support him in every way possible. Mr. Alarcon provides him with the ultimate surfing boat, Axis T23, for his training. They both enjoy watching him ride the wave and occasionally ride it themselves as well.

“I love to see his passion when he is in the water and how excited he gets when he is able to complete a trick. It makes me very proud because I grew up being a water skier and I love that one of my kids has that passion,” said Mrs. Alarcon.

When he first began surfing, he confided in his family friend, Robert Lee, for his expertise and guidance. Lee started ocean surfing at age twenty and only began wakesurfing in 2012.

“The sport was still relatively new and the community was small. The boats were not optimised for wakesurfing like they are today and the sport has advanced so much, for the better, in the last five years,” said Lee.

Lee loves coaching and studying the movements of the water athletes as they grow their skills. When he coached Alarcon, Lee found that Alarcon would overthink the tricks, much like he himself would. They began training together constantly, and Lee saw more of himself in Esteban as time went on. Lee makes practice and training important in Esteban’s schedule, resulting in better outcomes in his competitions.

“Surfing is a vibe, and when you can connect with it, it is awesome. I saw Esteban drawn to the same feeling I had with surfing and knew he had the drive and willingness to become better,” said Lee.

Alarcon looks up to Robert as a mentor and tries to give back to his fellow surfing friends by becoming one himself. Sammy Rose, eighth grader at Awtrey Middle School, recently returned from the USA Wakesurf Championship, same as Esteban. Esteban took Robert’s role for Sammy and gave him the encouragement he needed to make his first competition an amazing experience.

Esteban is a great role model for this new and upcoming sport. His enthusiasm is contagious about surfing. He has a deep love for the sport of wakesurfing and it shows on and off the lake. He understands the beginner level and knows how to encourage [others] in the right direction for new surfers, hence why Sammy has been inspired by Esteban in his training. This was Sammy’s first competition but he has been surfing for a couple of years. Esteban’s guidance taught Sammy many wakesurfing tricks and about how the competition works,” Sammy’s mom, Michelle Rose, said.

The more Alarcon surfed, the more he influenced his close friends to hop on the wave and give it a shot. Senior Chase Seufert, junior Kaden Barfield, and junior Blake Williams all gave wakesurfing a try and loved it. It took them time to acquire the skill, but they now ride the wave along with Esteban when they tag along on his boat.

“When your best friend takes up an an amazing sport and is unreal at it, it makes you want to see if you can do what he does. Obviously, it’s like any sport, you can’t just go out and be good at it. Esteban has really put in the time and work to get to the point where he is at and I have to give him props. Any time we are out on the lake and surfing, if it’s me or anyone, Esteban is always really passionate about getting you up on the first time and getting you comfortable with the sport,” said Williams.

Esteban looks forward to more competitions and cannot wait for the day he takes home first place. With all the training and preparation that occurs in his schedule, that day may come faster than expected. He encourages all curious people to try wakesurfing and experience the rush he feels every day.

“I’ve come to realize that wakesurfing has become a part of my identity and an integral part of my youthhood. This sport allows me to be the best that I can be and spread happiness to those who experience it as well,” Alarcon said.