Reporting Kate Raddatz
MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) – Brandon “Tollie” Tolliver had been wake surfing on Lake Minnetonka for years before most people knew what it was.
“We’ll have people that just come out and watch us and just experience it,” Tolliver said.
After enough friends and water enthusiasts alike asked him to show them how to surf on the lake, Surf Tonka was born.
Tolliver and his friend Nate Melek started the surf lesson company this year. Both from Minnetonka, they provide hands-on training for all ages and levels of experience to learn how to surf on their hometown lake. They provide the boat, the wave, and of course, the board. All surfers have to bring is patience.
“The hardest part for beginners is getting up on the board,” Melek said. “Once you do that, the rest is easy.”
Surf Tonka uses heavy, water filled bags on one side of the boat to tip it and create the surfing wave. After a rider is able to get up on the board, the key is to direct the board up onto the wave and drop the rope, letting the wake carry the board behind the boat.
Aside from being a fun, recreational activity, it’s also an intense workout.
“We’ll have runners, athletes come out here and try it and can’t believe how sore they are the next day,” Tolliver said.
Tolliver and Melek say the best time for beginners to try surfing on the lake is early morning or later at night when the wake is calmest on the water from less boaters.
“You don’t have to go to the ocean, you can create the experience right here,” he said.