Minnesota group working to bring more diversity to wake surfing

The Minnesota Wake Surf Championship is underway on Lake Minnetonka this weekend, and one group is hoping to bring some fresh faces to the sport.

"Wake surfing is so much fun," said Shawn Taher of Inner City Surf. "Getting out on the lake and get out of the city. Sometimes is really nice."

That is why Shawn Taher started Inner City Surf to bring more diversity to wake surfing and other water sports in general. So far, his nonprofit has hosted two clinics on Lake Minnetonka for kids from underserved communities where they can learn how to catch a wave being pulled 25 to 30 feet behind a boat.

"The kids get to come out and do something they don't normally get to do, and they get to see if there is a sport they love," said Taher.

Taher says he came up with the idea about a year ago when more Minnesotans started heading out on the water as one of the few things they could do during quarantine. He says he noticed a gap in diversity because not everyone has the opportunity to participate in the sport.

"It is an access issue," said Taher. "A perspective issue. There is a socialization issue of being uncomfortable around water and we need to address that. We need to bring our community closer together."

At first, the kids ride the surfboard with a coach to see if they can get on their feet. However, the ultimate goal is for them to drop the rope and make a splash doing an activity they could enjoy for the rest of their lives.

"Our rule, as you well know, at Inner City Surf is everybody rides a wave," concluded Taher.