'Surf the Bay' kicks off Friday

The annual Surf the Bay Water Sports Festival at the Fairfield Bay Marina will be held Friday, June 19, and Saturday, June 20.

The free, family-friendly festival will be packed with fun and extreme water sports events on the North Shore of Greers Ferry Lake.

The summer celebration showcases the sports of wakesurfing, flyboarding, kayaking and paddleboarding. New for 2015 are waterslides where individuals can “ride the wave.”

Visitors of all ages are welcome to grab a board, jump a wave or “fly.” Join the crowds in watching the professionals showcase their craft, or sign up and participate in three of the most popular and unique adventure sports in the country.

“Surf the Bay” will kick off with a big beach party Friday night featuring live music, water games, dinner, refreshments and more. Activities start early Saturday morning. Those attending can enjoy food vendors, Belle of the Bay lake cruises, a hike at nearby Sugarloaf Mountain and plenty of outdoor activities on land and fun in the water.

“What will make this day like no other is we’ll be watching the thrilling stunts and tricks of some top professional skiers, and see a man ‘fly’ both above the water and high in the air,” said Paul Wellenberger, general manager of the Fairfield Bay Community Club. “Nothing is more exciting and freeing than ‘surfing’ or ‘flying above’ the waters of Arkansas. Surf the Bay is perfect for families and individuals who want to enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer in Arkansas. From 8 to 80, you have to come try it.”

Stuckey & Grimes Xtreme Marine will again this year bring wakesurfing to Arkansas. It’s the only way to catch big waves in a fresh water lake with no rope and no hard falls. This fast-growing sport is getting everyone in the water with its 3 to 4 feet swells.

Some of the most exciting boats in the industry will be available for attendees to enjoy, including Malibu, Axis and MB Sport. These boats will be set up to let participants experience the thrill of wakeSurfing and wakeBoarding. Pro WakeBoarder Brandon Lackey will be on hand to set up individual wake and surf lessons.

“Our team is eager to share our love for outdoor water sports and showcase an exciting way to enjoy a fresh water lake,” said Rick Stuckey, owner of Stuckey & Grimes Xtreme Marine.

If the waves get too extreme, make a real splash and try the popular sport of stand up paddle boarding (SUP). “Stand up paddle boards offer a great way to take advantage of the water and get a fun workout at the same time," said Stuckey. "Guests can jump in and enjoy many of our friendly competitions going on throughout the day.”

Flyboarding is the newest popular extreme water activity and Surf the Bay was the first place ever to showcase the sport over freshwater. “Like something out of this world, or at least a comic book, flyboarding is the use of a water powered jet pack to fly above water," said Gretchen Vance of Auqafly. The propulsion power actually comes from below the user’s feet, giving more of a skateboarding feel to the ride. Hand nozzles help to stabilize and manage power. Aquafly FlyBoard will have demonstrations Friday and Saturday. Lessons will be available for a discount.

“Flyboarding is easier than you may think," Vance said. "Most people pick it up rather quickly. Our certified instructors will be at Surf the Bay to teach those interested.”

For more information, visit  FairfieldBaystartstoday.com/Surf, or call 501.884.4202.