BOISE — For the first time ever surfing is a sport in the Olympic Games, and the U.S took home gold in the women's surfing event something that has the local surfing community pumped up.
Hundreds of miles away from the ocean the niche sport is continuing to grow here in the Gem State with Boise's river wave.
“It is unbelievable. It is kind of surreal to have this kind of phenomenon and to know how all the power and financing that went into making this wave what it is," Kevin Hall, a surfer in Idaho said. "It is something that all of us I know are grateful to have.”
But, the river wave is no secret anymore. If you've ever been on the Greenbelt in Boise you've likely seen the surfers lined up to shred the engineered wave.
Victor Myers has owned the Corridor Surf Shop next to the wave for over 10 years now, and he's seen the surfing community here continuously grow more and more each year.
“It’s a really accessible thing for people to do and at the beginning, there was a handful or a couple of handfuls of people," Myers said. "River surfing was still kind of like a novelty in its own way and now it's definitely a pretty big community. It’s pretty tight-knit and there's a lot of people.”
A unique community to Idaho and one, unlike any other surfing community.
"It is a great community, very friendly and open and inviting. Everybody is really outgoing and helpful and social and when I was first getting started a lot of them helped with pointers," Hall said. "Then you get to know people and then it’s like 'hey are you gonna be here tomorrow? Are you coming next time,' you know that kind of thing, so it is really fun to look forward to getting here too.”
Myers makes custom surfboards for the river and he said that he's most excited to see all the new kids come out and try the sport.
"What excites me the most honestly is all the kids. They are kind of taking it over, which I think is a good thing," he said. "It honestly has more of a skate park vibe than traditional surfing where there is a pecking order and you are fighting for seniority. It’s not like that here."
Now that surfing is an Olympic sport and with the U.S. winning a medal, the surfers here are loving it.
"Carissa Moore from Hawaii. First-ever gold, you know first Olympic experience and then just to highlight it the way they have been during the challenging times dealing with a global pandemic and Covid and overcoming lots and lots of obstacles and still operating at the really really high level that they are I am just super excited to see it," Hall said.
So, maybe we'll start seeing elite surfers come from the Gem State?
"Surfing is like one of the most competitive sports and river surfing doesn’t really translate to ocean surfing, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the people who are getting a lot of time on the wave here become good ocean surfers," Myers said.
Maybe river surfing will be the next big competitive sport and Idahoans will be at the top of the list?
For more information on the wave and when it runs, head to boisewhitewaterpark.com/wave.