"Old School" Waveskiing to River Surfing

Kind of interesting to see Tyler Lausten evolve (over the past two decades) from a waveski grom to world class waveskier and waveski shaper. And now, to a river surfer and river surfboard shaper.


Once hooked on adrenaline, hard to step back. Enjoy as long as one can because aging does moderate and win out in the end…


We started water skiing in the 1950s. Soon people were experimenting with round plywood discs behind power boats. We surfed in the ocean and it seemed natural by the mid 1960s to try a surf board behind a power boat. The bigger the boat and bigger the wake the better. By the 1990s a lot of people switched over to wake boarding instead of slalom skiing. I had a Ski Centurion for many years that was perfect.

Surfing on river waves has long been the domain of kayakers, In a raft or drift boat surfing waves are to be avoided for the most part. I have seen a few people surf waves in boats.

River surfing has become popular in a few well known spots. This video does a good job of pointing out some of the hazards with the sport. It is still amazing to me how many people spend time around moving cold water with no life jackets.

We have done plenty of rapid swimming for practicing rescues. It is important for river runners to understand the power of moving water and how to negotiate it. Always either float down stream on your back with the feet up, or swim on your stomach for shore. It is a good time to practice throwing rescue ropes and learning how to belay a swimmer to shore.

“It’s pretty hard to get started river surfing because it’s fairly unforgiving,” Yeah I will agree with that 100% .

Tyler has come a long way since I first met him when he was a Teenage surf nut. I hope he is succesful as a shaper and I know he is really into photography too. He bounces back between the Monterrey bay area (where things are nuts right now) and Southwestern Colorado. Several years ago we saw some guys river surfing in CO and one guy was ripping, it ended up it was Tyler.

Well that American River water was running clear, and that’s definitely the “sweet spot” to get in and get it before it’s all gone. Wood and “chocolate milk” of course, being bad indicators/give it another day…

Besides their cautionary disclaimers for beginners, I like how they highlighted the fact that “higher is actually safer” when it comes to surfing freshwater rivers (a fact I’ve never managed to convince my wife of, no matter how long I’ve tried🤪)

I have two boards, neither one of them as short as what they were using; and having made it to a ripe old age, I’ve no real inclination to pull myself via rope into standing wave sets. Besides, I’ve always preferred to be seated during freshwater play performances in anything above Cl. II, and paddling-in anyhow.

And although I use to enjoy doing both drops and stand-up surfing in my Thrillseeker duckies that made for soft landings–It wasn’t always with desired results…

But here’s to clear big wave water after “catastrophic” storms and floods👍

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Yup… don’t know what you don’t know. Have been so many rescues of these folks already this warm pre-spring.

Glad these surfers put out a disclaimer. But, be assured that someone not prepared will take a shot at it.


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He was Hawaii based for quite awhile. I’m not sure I would trade of the Island for Monterray or CO. If it’s about river surfing, you got this going down:

(Disclaimer - Jamie OBrien is a top Pro surfer in Hawaii.)



That looks like a fun spot. :upside_down_face:


Catskill creek, lots of great surf spots when running clean after storm–Not really on the the AW whitewater radar save for a tame section or two,as there are always new obstacles from time to time

I think for a while Tyler was moving to wherever his mother was based. I’ve seen river surfing in Hawaii after big storms; all I can think about are all the brain eating amoebas that are in the stagnant river water there before they start to flood. I was at Topanga break in LA one weekend when my wife was working on a project with some friends in Hollywood. I saw some local teenage surfers carrying shovels and skim boards and short boards. They dug a small channel to standing water in the creek and it turned into a raging sand/water standing wave, kind of like a brown moving skate park. No where near as big as the video though. Some of the kids were really good, but I guess when you start when you a very young it just comes naturally.

Stop the presses…This just in…

insane! How to turn something joyous into “torture…” Guess if there is record to be had… Also, think of all the GWS lurking in those dark of night waves…


Agreed.:surfing_man: And there are more things along the beaches in Australia that can kill you just by stepping on them.:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: