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Q/A with WakeBoard Clinic Owner

Brian Snabes discusses the story behind Michigan’s first school for wakeboarders and what it’s now offering West Bloomfield-area residents.

Tell us about yourself and the story behind WakeBoard Clinic. I am 43 years old and grew up in Bloomfield Hills. Having parents who were teachers, my summers were always spent with my family at our cabin on a lake in Northern Michigan. We spent countless hours on the lake, learning everything from skiing to skurfing. Being heavily influenced by skateboarding and snowboarding, wakeboarding was a perfect fit for me when it was first introduced. I spent my high school and college years training to be a professional snowboarder and wakeboarder. With the dream of doing what I loved for the rest of my life, I began training young athletes and shortly after founded Michigan's first school for wakeboarders: WakeBoard Clinic.

What were you up to before founding WakeBoard Clinic? WakeBoard Clinic was founded the summer of my senior year in 1996. I briefly worked at a golf course prior to starting the school but haven't worked for anyone but myself since then. (But at this point some would say my wife, Rachelle, is the brains of the operation!).

Why did you decide that West Bloomfield was a good fit? Growing up in Bloomfield Hills I have always loved the area and the lake scene. We have some amazing partners in the area. Club Royale Boat Sales in Waterford supply us with Moomba boats and Liquid Force wake gear for all of our camps and private lessons on Elizabeth Lake at Club Royale Marina, as well as our overnight destination camp at Boyne Mountain Resort.

What can those signing up for wakeboard, surf and ski lessons expect to experience? Also, what ages do you offer this to? I have always said that age is all about attitude when it comes to getting started. Our program has always been geared toward learning the fundamentals— and that goes for all ages. That being said, we have programs for all ages, skill levels and attitudes. Private lessons are by the hour and can be split up between two people per hour. First timers are in the best possible place to learn safely and quickly, and those looking for higher level coaching will be getting over 25 years of coaching experience to help them progress to a competitive level. We teach wakeboarding, wakesurfing, water skiing and tubing, as well as lake etiquette and boater safety. 

What will West Bloomfield-area kids be doing at this year's Wake Board Clinic's summer camp? Day camps are four consecutive days with small groups of four to five riders and a coach. Goals are set for each rider, and the week is spent reaching goals and having the most possible fun doing it! Sleepaway camps are held at Boyne Mountain Resort and are packed full of action adventure style activities that include boats, trampolines, ziplines and a water park! Along with our traditional camps, we have a new "Puddle Jumper Program" for our littlest water bugs ages 3-6. This is a warm up program to get the little ones acquainted with everything involved with a day at the lake and on the boat. From wearing their first life vest, jumping into the water, getting acquainted with water sports gear to finally taking their first run behind the boat, these kids will learn everything they need to know to enjoy many summers to come at the lake and on the boat!

What are you most looking forward to this summer? More than anything we are all looking forward to being able to provide a fun and safe place for kids to come back together and enjoy their summer.   

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