Mahallia Budds

A Shark Boat Wakeskating Adventure in the Mountains

Four young women, one old boat, and a handful of unique riding spots in the Sierra Nevada

For most of us who live and breath the wake lifestyle, an adventure might consist of taking our boat to a new riding spot, trying out a cable park while on vacation, or maybe even a houseboat trip on the famed Lake Powell. Wakeskater Jen GilanFarr is not like most when it comes to a wake-getaway, though. The Lake Tahoe native, with her semi-infamous "Shark Boat" (a 14-foot 1962 Alumacraft Maracaibo outboard), has spent much of the last few summers exploring the numerous mountain lakes that dot the Sierra Nevada range she calls home. Each time she is usually accompanied by a few friends and maybe a furry companion or two. It's usually unpredictable, often cold, but always worth it. Her latest journey took place last month where she and fellow lady wakeskaters Shelley Rush, Lindsay Katt, and Mahallia Budds went to some epic spots. From high-altitude lakes with deep blue water and snow-capped surroundings to ghost towns and hot springs, the girls did it up - all in the name of being on the water and having fun together. And all this went down with Jen in a walking boot - she dislocated her ankle days before the trip was to begin - but she wasn't about to cancel on exploring new spots with friends. In a day and age where so many people seem to be “living their best life” by perusing others’ via social media, it's refreshing to see passion being put to use in unique ways like this.

As Jen put it when the trip was over: “We’ve become addicted to ‘the next stop’ - to the mystery of what lies ahead and to the adventures on the road that lead us there. Beyond just riding, we are after the landscape, alpine lakes and rugged mountains. Wakeskating for us has become more and more about the adventure, seeking out untouched waters, foreign landscapes, and the long roads that lead us there."

This type of wake tripping might not not have the luxury of a houseboat getaway or exotic cable park, but who says the size of your boat or the distance you travel determines how much fun you have? Plus, it's Shark Week, and this Shark Boat more than fits the bill.

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Four ladies, one shark, some mountains and a desire to explore.Mahallia Budds
Some might say butter is best served chilled. Some might also be crazy, but crazy is also sometimes totally worth it.Mahallia Budds
Freshwater traction...Mahallia Budds
The Shark Boat and her trusty captain. Jen found the 1962 Alumacraft Maracaibo with no floor, transom or motor. After a lot of work and TLC, it became her vehicle to explore the Sierra Nevada in all new ways.Mahallia Budds
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Ghost towns are cool.Mahallia Budds
Home is where you park (or unpack) it. For these girls, that's usually near a body of water.Mahallia Budds