Ripping around the lake on a wakeskate behind her bubblegum-pink motorboat, Erika Langman embodies the confidence, passion, and stoke of the women’s wakeboard scene in Ontario. She is a mentor, founder and competitor—a leader in the emerging wake sisterhood.
by Carmen Kuntz
Langman took her first ride on a borrowed wakeboard behind a tin fishing boat. Summers were spent at her family cottage on Steenburg Lake, 30 minutes south of Bancroft. “I learned to waterski there as a kid,” she says. “As soon as I tried wakeboarding I threw the skis away and said ‘Let’s do flips!’” With a gymnastics background, Langman was already thinking of going fast and getting air. That moment— that feeling —has shaped the course of Langman’s life. She has traveled the world competing in seven World Championships from Abu Dhabi to Norway, Mexico to the Philippines. Last year she was a finalist in Shanghai at the Wake Park World Cup. Since then, her life has been an adventure chasing big air. She is a role model and advocate for the women’s wake scene locally and abroad.
As a coach for “girls only” wake clinics like the Sisterhood Sessions based out of Ranch Cable Park in Kettleby, Langman sees firsthand how wakeboarding helps build confidence. “It’s amazing for young girls because wakeboarding is an achievement-based sport; there is always a new trick to work towards,” she says. “And achievement is what builds confidence.”
Langman was a founding member of the Roots Wake Series, Ontario’s only competitive wakeboard circuit. “It’s a great platform that is based on ability-level versus age,” says Langman. “It pushes people to learn new tricks.” As well as being Event Director for the Roots, she also sits on the board for four different wake committees provincially, nationally and internationally.
Langman rides and competes in both boat and cable wakeboarding. (The former uses a motorboat to pull riders into ramps, rails and jumps while the latter, also known as ‘winching’, uses an overhead cable system with a tow rope attached.) Cable parks use only a small amount of electricity and create no pollution. “It’s like a terrain park in snowboarding,” says Langman. “It’s very green in comparison to boat. It’s quiet and you don’t need a big lake.”
“I learned to waterski as a kid. As soon as I tried wakeboarding I threw the skis away and said ‘Let’s do flips!’”
Langman is not only a competitor, she’s also a mentor and coach. “I’ve been involved in the sport for a very long time,” she says. “And I’m trying to take some of the girls under my wing to go to the big events.” Last September, Langman accompanied 16-year-old Mackalya Petrie to World Wake Association’s World Championships in Portugal where Petrie came home with a 2nd place finish in the junior girls category.
For Langman, seeing the positive effects of the sport on women of all ages is just as good as the feeling of flying. “You watch them progress and you see their confidence growing every time they land new tricks or get a new grab,” she adds. “You see their eyes just light up.”
ONTARIO WAKE PARK DIRECTORY
The community and friendships developed on the water of Ontario’s wake parks make them the places to be during long, hot summer days. Less expensive and more inclusive than riding behind a boat, parks offer lessons, rentals, camps and pro coaching. Parks are greener than motorboats and generate a much smaller wake with less shoreline disturbance.
WHAT Wake Park – Bala
The towering white pines of Lake Muskoka and laid back atmosphere of WHAT Wake Park makes it feel like summer camp for shredders. Every Monday of the summer they hold a donation-based, ladies-only night for all ages and skill levels with donations going to breast cancer research. whatwakepark.com
The Rail Yard – Mount Albert/East Gwillimbury
Try out a wakeboard or a wakeskate at The Rail Yard’s 25-acre lake located just 40 minutes north of Toronto. Hit up their ladies nights and work up to riding their bright yellow 64-foot “Little Foot” rail. railyardwakepark.com
The Ranch – Kettleby
Get out of the city and onto the water asap for some turns (and air) at The Ranch. The closest park to Toronto, their certified coaches and “Reach your potential” motto make The Ranch your summer secret to progression. Sign up for the Sisterhood Sessions girls-only wakeboard school. theranchwakepark.tumblr.com