Woodstock teenager Isaac Herrera – an experienced snowboarder who enjoys the long Midwest winters – saw an alternative for the offseason when a wakeboarding facility opened in Crystal Lake last year.
Just one year later, Herrera has qualified for the cable wakeboarding 2017 World Wake Association Wake Park National Championships in Waco, Texas, competing for The Quarry Cable Park, located at Three Oaks Recreation Area.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Herrera, who both trains and works at The Quarry. “I didn’t really expect this to happen, but I like wakeboarding, and it is a great opportunity.”
Though Herrera had wakeboarded behind boats before — the sport is fairly similar to surfing in that an athlete rides a board and performs tricks and maneuvers — he never had used a cable system to be pulled across the water like the one that exists at The Quarry.
“There aren’t very many wakeboarding parks in the area,” he said, but his snowboarding skills transferred easily to the water, and Herrera found himself quickly being drawn to the sport.
“[Co-owner] Pat McGinnis is so supportive of everyone. He really tries to help others and encourages everyone who rides,” the 18-year-old said. “He makes sure we can work and ride.”
Management also has taken notice of Herrera’s hard work and compassion. With stories of his kindness and patience with those who have special needs as well as the hours of work he puts in to improve his riding, Herrera has made a lasting impression.
McGinnis sees Herrera’s dedication, also. “Isaac is a great kid. He is hard working and a hard rider. He’s improved 100 percent from last year. He’s a great team member,” McGinnis said.
The Quarry has several team members competing under its name for the upcoming competition.
“My friend – Jake Anderson [of Marengo] – convinced me to sign up to try to qualify. I did, and so did he. So, we get to go down together,” Herrera said.
Herrera explained that since he is registered at the intermediate amateur level, he can’t perform some of the more difficult tricks, but said, “The pro here, Timmy [Burnier] will compete at the pro level. I’m pretty excited to see him do his runs.”
Though his family members cannot attend the competition, Herrera said he was extremely appreciative of their constant support as well as McGinnis’ and the other team members’ constant encouragement.
In order to qualify for the WWA National Championships under The Quarry name, Herrera had to place in the top three overall across three local competitions.
The competition will take place July 27 to 30 in Waco, at BSR Cable Park. Each competitor will be given two runs that begin when the rider leaves the dock and continues until the lap is complete or until the rider falls. Points are earned based on the difficulty of tricks completed; however, the tricks are limited based on which level the rider has entered.