MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Lake Minnetonka was the place to be on Friday for both inner city kids and wounded veterans.
A nonprofit called Inner City Surf joined forces with Wake for Warriors. The organizations include people who love water sports but don’t always have an opportunity to try them.
“The sun’s out and hopefully the water isn’t too cold,” said Zion Brinson of Brooklyn Park.
Not only was the water not too cold, conditions were perfect for Brinson to try something new, and wakeboarding did not disappoint.
“I like that it was very chill and they didn’t rush you. You take your time. It was really fun,” said Brinson.
Brinson was one of seven Inner City Surf kids catching waves on the July morning.
“They have a blast with that. They are fearless. They fall, they get up. They fall, they get up. It’s just been a great way for us to get kids who don’t normally have access, to get out,” said Shawn Taher, founder of Inner City Surf.
For the wounded veterans taking part, it’s a chance to support kids like Brinson, while also supporting each other.
“Just coming out here, hanging out with brothers. We miss that coalition together,” said Tony Mullis.
Mullis is a Marine and a double amputee from Georgia who has fallen in love with Lake Minnetonka; his skills are undeniable.
“It gives me a sense of normal. I don’t feel segregated. These guys don’t try to help me every time I fall. They laugh with me. It’s relaxed,” said Mullis.
“Dave took most of the weekend to get me to surf because he’s never taught a blind man to surf before,” said Mike Nelson.
Even though he can’t see, Army veteran Mike Nelson still has a vision for wakesurfing. He was at the lake to have fun and to heal.
“The stress level with people, you can feel the emotions. And I can feel that drain off and there’s a beacon of happiness coming off the wave. It’s pretty awesome,” said Nelson.
The groups launched from Surfside Park in Mound. That’s where festivities will be held this weekend along with the Minnesota Wake Surf Championship Series that will run through Saturday.