The Road to Portugal

By Abigail Siemer

The 2023 Wakeboard Championships hosted by The World Wakeboard Association, a rider-formed organization, is being held in Portugal August 30th through September 3rd. Kirby, having won the Masters division the last two times, is returning to compete again, but something is different this year. Kirby expressed how he felt like the last time he went in 2015 the experience was lacking because he went alone, and didn’t get to travel with anyone. This year not only is he competing alongside an accomplished Kirby’s School of Wake student, Brody Spriggs, but he’s also going with the support of a local, family owned business. Wood’s Supermarket and Kirby’s School of Wake have always supported each other with Kirby doing his first lesson with Don Woods, the owner of the supermarket chain, back in 2013 when Don was in his 70’s. The family enjoyed their experience with Kirby so much they were back in 2018 to buy one of his old Malibu boats to continue to pursue their love of water sports. This year Wood’s Supermarket is sponsoring Kirby in his journey to compete in Portugal, and as Kirby focuses on his health for the event, the supermarket will be a perfect place for him to find the right ingredients to fuel his body for training.

In preparing for the competition, Kirby expressed his feelings about learning new tricks stating, “it’s just about moving the needle of progression”. Which is to say he just wants to make his ride as smooth as possible, cleaning up any areas that have room for improvement. Despite his past record, Kirby is confident this competition will be tough with all the international riders attending that he normally wouldn’t get a chance to compete against. This has pushed him to spend more of his practice time doing harder tricks to create a run that looks effortless. Even though the competition may be daunting, Kirby is excited about many aspects of the journey- the opportunity of meeting people he would not normally get to, the experience of being in Portugal, and getting to understand the community there.

At first, Kirby was hesitant to go to Portugal especially because the competition is over Labor Day which is usually a busy time for his water sport lessons. However, he decided that this opportunity is worth it and trusts his assistant coach, Aidan Siemer, another one of his talented students to take over while he’s gone. Kirby hopes that his knowledge of the past Wakeboard Championships will give him an advantage this year, but above all else he just hopes to enjoy the adventure and with the support of his students, family, Wood’s, and of course Brody, rightfully represent The Lake of the Ozarks.

Share the Post:

Related Posts