Growing up in central Florida with a lake practically in her backyard, it is little wonder that Jodi Grassman gravitated to the water.
But defying gravity as a professional wakesurfer at the age of 17 says more about Jodi’s drive and determination than her geographic proximity to water.
“My sister was really big into wake boarding. And I loved ocean surfing, but we live two hours from the ocean. Once I saw videos on wake surfing I was really excited and wanted to try it,” Jodi says.
A mere two weeks later she was at an amateur competition in Ocala, where she put into practice the shoves and moves she saw on the professional videos. She has not looked back.
“It is not even about the competition. It is about having fun and doing the best I can do,” she says. In her first year of competing in the amateur division, she won first place at the 2013 World Wakesurf Championship.
Her first competition was in Parker, Arizona, where she started off in the division just below the professional ranks. She won first place there and turned professional in only her second competition in the state of Virginia. Then she won a first place in the pro division in a competition in Minnesota.
By last September she was in Nevada, competing against the top eight wake surfers in the world at the World Wake Championship at Lake Las Vegas. Thus far she was taken in almost $10,000 in prize money. The season starts up again in March.
The Lake Placid, Florida, teenager travels to promote her boat of choice, Nautique, as well as the boards she uses. She keeps up with her studies online at Florida Virtual School, so when she is traveling for her career her laptop and schoolwork is always nearby. A typical day sounds challenging yet invigorating. “I wake up and go to the gym. I do schoolwork most of the day for my online school, and then surf in the evenings. On the weekends, I am in the boat with friends and family most of the day,” Jodi says.
Her boating companions usually consist of her family. “I also have a few friends I ride with and also with my coach and teammate, Drew Danielo.”
Jodi is on her way. In September at a demonstration for MarineMax at the Tampa Boat Show she landed the first ever trick to be done by anyone! A backside big spin transfer! Like much of her exuberant experiences on the water, you’d have to see it to believe it.
“This sport is so much fun! There is no age limit. Whether you ride to compete or to just hang out with friends on the weekend, you will always have a smile on your face and have a blast.”