Swamp surfing in the Bonnet Carre Spillway
The smooth surface and alligator-filled waters of the Bonnet Carre Spillway haven't been considered "gnarly" until now.
Forget traveling to Hawaii to surf, new technology means you can have your own personal wave in Louisiana and ride it for as long as you can.
Dave Posey and his wife Carla Gray run Ride or Rent Dave's Wakeboat.
"Swamp surfing is a wonderful term for what we do," said Gray.
"We spend almost every weekend catching, hanging 10," said Posey.
Their specially crafted boat transforms glassy swamp water into a raging, surf-able wave as soon as Dave gives the cue.
"Woo!" yelled Dave from behind the boat.
With ease Dave's body was lifted on top of the surf board with the help of a rope. He glided across the wave and pulled himself into the sweet spot. He gathered enough slack in the rope to simply toss it aside.
The wave pushed him along completely detached from the boat.
"To me, it's a very freeing experience. To be back there on the wave and to feel yourself maneuver on that wave, and you're not attached, it's great," said Gray.
It's certainly not what fishermen passing by were used to seeing on the spillway.
"We get a lot of strange looks when people see us surfing with no rope," said Dave.
Jealous as they may have been, there was no competing for the wave.
"This is your wave. You buy your boat you have your wave," said Posey.
The wave will last as long as the surfer can balance.
"It's just skill, how long can you stay up?" said Gray.
With a few months of practice, Dave said, he could go more than two miles down the straightaway without falling.
"I've gone three to four minutes. A normal surf ride off shore would be seven to 15 seconds tops," said Posey. "They should call it paddling instead of surfing at Waikiki."
Before wake surfing, Dave teaches everyone with no experience to wake skate. The skate is a smaller board used behind a boat's regular wake. It's an important step for anyone used to buckling into something like skis to get use to their feet resting on the board's surface.
How can someone measure up with average athleticism and no experience? FOX 8's Leigh Isaacson found out.
Posey said they do see alligators in the spillway sometimes, but he said not to worry.
"Been out here with the gators every summer for 34 years," said Posey.
He said he has never had any problems. Still, the idea of gators may encourage surfers to get up on the first try.
After the skate, clients move on to the big board and the real wave. The boat is made to transform a regular wake into a surf-able wave with the flip of a few switches.
"The boat comes stocked with tanks already. It has what we call hydrofoil in the back that pulls the back of the boat down, and then surfgate, which is a patented technology, shifts the wave from left to right on the boat," said Gray.
"The boat shapes the wake, such that it's pushing behind you just like an offshore wave does, but it's constant. It never leaves," said Posey.
Whether it takes just a few hours, or a few days, the dedicated duo is prepared to take anyone on and get them up surfing.
They believe they're the first business in Louisiana to offer swamp surfing.
"It's the bomb," said Posey.
The average trip costs $315. They provide a minimum of four hours, and offer day-long trips as long as all day.
Gray and Posey will bring the boat to customers, if they'd rather surf somewhere else rather than the spillway. Customers pay for truck and boat fuel.
Learn more at Ride or Rent Dave's Wakeboat on Facebook. Call (504) 430-2563 or email email@example.com.
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