Shredding waves in Babson Park, these two sisters are making names for themselves in the world of wakeboarding.
She sits on the edge of the dock, looks down at her sweaty palms, and brushes a loose piece of hair out of her face. Next to her side, her friend, her competitor, her sister. The announcer calls the names of the girls who are to perform in the next heat. They both hear their names and give each other a crooked grin, a fist bump, and off they go to load the boat. The bond between sportsmen is a strong one, but it does not compare to the bond between sisters. As they line up on the dock, waiting their turn, they know the girl next to them feels the same love for this sport as they do. They feel the same sense of pride for their upcoming run as anyone else, from beginner, to professional. All the hard work, all the early practices, all the determination comes down to this moment. No coaches, no parents, just you, your board, the rope, three judges, and hopes of a good run.
Two passes are what they are allowed. With the hopes of no falls, but being allowed one, each trick is only counted once.
So what exactly does learning a heelside and a toeside wake to wake, 180s, an Ollie back 180, and inverts all entail? For these two girls, a lot of early practice, support from family, and friends and coaches.
Sarah Deary, 12, and sister Sydney Deary, 9, are two hometown wakeboarders who live for this sport. They are following in the footsteps of their father, Mark Deary, who has been a wakeboarder since the sport was known as “skurfing” about 25 years ago.
“I knew the sport was up and coming when I first saw it. Scotty Hollywood, one of the godfathers of wakeboarding, needed a boat and we needed some inspiration,” said father Deary. When he decided to teach the girls to wakeboard he knew the biggest thing to him would be the time that he was able to spend with Sydney and Sarah, and passing something on to his daughters that they could be passionate about.
In 2013 Sarah placed second in the International Wake Games, 5th place in the WWA National Championship, 4th place in the WWA World Championship and 3rd place in the Overall Performance Gravel Tour. In 2014, she placed 4th in the International Wake Games.
“Wakeboarding is my favorite sport. I get to improve and get better at the competitions,” said Sarah.
She loves the social interaction that she gets with the other girls. In 2013 Sydney placed 3rd in Overall Performance Gravel Tour, 3rd in the International Wake Games, 4th in the WWA National Championship, 3rd in a WWA World Championship. In 2014, she placed 2nd in the International Wake Games.
Sydney likes to learn new tricks and hang out with friends.
“Competitions help us, they motivate you to get better and learn more,” said Sydney. These girls are hardcore sportsmen, they practice every morning, 3 to 5 times a week during the school year, and five times a week during the summer.
Sarah and Sydney are both ambassadors for the She Shred Company. As ambassadors, they promote action sports for women, and bring awareness to women doing board sports. They use this platform to encourage younger girls who are up and coming in the sport of wakeboarding.
Sarah and Sydney both have big plans for their future. They both have the goal of being professional wakeboarders. Sydney and Sarah are not only coached by their father but they also attend Chain of Wakes in Winter Haven. With coaches such as Sam Carne, former European and UK champion, and Sian Hurst, professional wakeboarder, these girls are looking at reaching their goals.
Sian Hurst, originally from Ireland, grew up in water sports.
“With two older brothers to compete with, I learned pretty quick how to be competitive. The Chain of Wakes coaching team is strong, and dedicated to the sport, and to our students,” said Hurst.
Chain of Wakes provides daily coaching and week camps. It offers coaching to anyone, boy or girl, from beginner, to professional.
“The most important thing I can teach the girls, Sarah and Sydney, is not to question … to listen and give it a try. A lot of people are afraid to try, but these girls are determined and dedicated,” said Sian.
Mark and Maria Deary have learned new parenting skills while endeavoring on this journey as wakeboarding with their girls. They are blessed with the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Sarah and Sydney, whether it be practice, competitions, church or just homework.
“It allows me to be a better dad. I would love for the girls to stay in wakeboarding as long as they can. It’s a great opportunity to interact with us, each other, and the other wakeboarders,” Mark said.
The girls are also active in their home church, honor roll students, and are avid horseback riders. They receive lessons from Sally Dody at Mountain Lake Equestrian.
“Their teachers have been extremely supportive of their sports,” Maria said. “As mom of these two athletes it takes a lot to be the “pit crew.”
From making snacks, early morning boat runs, competitions, horseback riding, church, and school, this mom is a full-time cheerleader. Maria, a former equestrian jumper, knows the importance of support and stability for her girls, and in the end she teaches them to give the glory to God.
Like the Deary family, the wakeboarding family is a close-knit family. Unlike most sports, the competitive level of wakeboarding does not get ugly. It is a growing sport, and the competitors support each other. Just like these sisters. They compete against each other, and the other members of the Shred Sister team, but in the end they are friendly competitors, giving thanks to God for the talents they have been given.