Kirby’s School of Wake began in 2008 after Pro Wakeboarder, Kirby Liesmann’s first offseason from living in Orlando. Kirby began wakeboarding at the age of seven, began competing at age 14, rode Jr. Pro in 2006, and has been riding in the Pro division since 2010. His passion for teaching is rooted in his past experience at the “school of hard knocks”. In Kirby’s early wakeboard years, he was uncoached and fearlessly pursuing new tricks on his own. This resulted in trying tricks he was fundamentally unprepared to learn and taking many hard falls. “There were a few falls that could have led me to quitting,” he stated. Because of this, Kirby’s passion is to help riders at all levels progress in a fundamentally correct and safe manner.
Kirby’s School of Wake has been rapidly growing since 2008
Kirby has spent many hours training and shadowing with the best professional wakeboarding coaches in the industry throughout his career. This experience has equipped him to create a specialized program for students of all riding levels. Kirby’s coaching style is relaxed, but very attentive to the fundamentals to ensure long-term success. He has developed many simple drills in order to adjust and improve rider’s techniques. “My theory is that if I can get a student to feel the proper form, either through a simulation on the back of the boat or an on-water drill, they are going to grasp the concept much quicker in the application of the trick they are learning,” Kirby explained. Lessons have also allowed Kirby’s School of Wake to build impactful relationships with families and students opening doors of opportunity to speak truth into the lives of students and to encourage them to achieve their goals. “Honestly, it is the best part about what we do,” Kirby commented.
The blessing of God, support of family and friends, the skills, the training, the hard work, and the prompting, mentoring, and guidance of skilled business professors have all helped to create the business we know and love today. Kirby expressed that any success Kirby’s School of Wake experiences comes from the blessing of God: “I strive to honor Him in all areas of the business and He fully provides our needs and great ideas. I once heard someone say that there is a difference between a good idea and a God idea, and we at Kirby’s School of Wake are pursuing the Lord in search of those God ideas.” Kirby’s School of Wake is constantly working to build and refine the program to accommodate more students and to create the most fun, positive learning experience for water sports enthusiasts at the Lake of the Ozarks and in Fort Myers, Florida.
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Get To Know Kirby’s Sponsors
In my professional career, I have been blessed to work with the best companies in wakeboarding. The support of Iguana Watersports/Stateamind, has provided a great opportunity to surround myself with the local wakeboarding community and ride and the top of the line Malibu/Axis boats. I have been fortunate enough to ride for Ronix Wakeboards since 2011. I have been so stoked on their constant innovation of products each season. I also have the honor of representing core brands such as Zinka Sunscreen, BbTalkin’, and Xcel Wetsuits as well. These companies support me with great products that I need to keep me going on and off the water and take your wakeboarding lesson to the next level.
Aside from my industry sponsors, I am also sponsored by a medical software company called Sentact operated by an awesome family from Chicago that I have given lessons to since 2008. Pop’s Beef Snacks is a family that has a heart for people – their beef snacks keep my students nourished on hot boat days! ProDezigns sponsors my boat wraps and stickers for the wake school. They do outstanding work and I highly suggest them. I cannot thank each of these sponsors enough for making what we do on the water possible.
I have also partnered with a few actions sports ministries that help me share my faith in Jesus Christ with fellow wakeboarders. These ministries include Eternal Riders who we team up with for the Ride with Us Camp, Wake Well teams up with me for weekly wakechurch, This Iz My Story produced the video of my testimony in 2012, Ride Nature produced the Purpose Film Project I got to be a part of, and I also partner with In His Wakes who gives underprivileged children the special treat to spend a day on the water learning how to water ski.
Ultimately, I would not be able to do the things that I do in wakeboarding without the support of these powerful partnerships. I am so very thankful to have their support. If you have an interest in becoming a sponsor, please contact Sydney Liesmann at email@example.com.
GET TO KNOW KIRBY
How old are you and where are you from?
I am 29 years young and I am originally from New Haven, Missouri. I lived at the Lake of the Ozarks for many years and recently moved to Fort Myers, Florida to live and train over the winters.
How long have you been wakeboarding?
The first time I strapped into a board I was 7, so that makes it 21 years of wakeboarding.
What board are you riding these days?
I am rocking the Ronix One ATR with the One boots.
What other sports are you into?
In addition to wakeboarding, I also enjoy skateboarding, snowboarding, golf, basketball, tennis, and mainly motocross (now mostly to watch, not to participate haha it’s a little high risk)
Where is your favorite place to ride?
My favorite place to ride is on the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, Florida. The river is a deep, semi narrow, long and windy stretch of water. It’s the perfect conditions to be able to ride for miles without turning around.
Do you have a favorite trick to do right now?
Yeah absolutely, I have really been enjoying doing a heelside, backside 720. I’ve been working on these at Revolution Cable Park and on the trampoline a lot lately. It’s made this trick easier and more fun than ever.
What is your least favorite trick in wakeboarding?
My least favorite trick is tantrum to fakey, because there’s just no good way to make that trick look good.
What do you think makes a trick look good?
Individuality and style catches my attention the most in a trick. If a trick can be thrown in a way that makes me question how it was done I tend to find that most fun to watch. I also think riding smoothly makes tricks look good.
What motivates or influences you the most to learn new tricks?
What motivates me to learn is knowing that someday I’ll be able to help a student accomplish that same trick and achieve breakthrough themselves. I always have a list of tricks in the back of my mind that I’m aspiring to learn, so I’m enjoying taking my time building the foundations to be able to accomplish them.
Do you have a favorite rider that you look at for inspiration?
Yeah Absolutely, Mike Dowdy is definitely my favorite pro men’s rider right now. He is a stand up guy and he works harder than anyone I know in his mental and physical training. He’s taken the bar way higher for the sport.
My favorite pro women’s rider is Meagan Ethell. Meagan is a sick rider! She’s pushing what’s possible for women in the sport and she does is with grace, confidence, and joy.
Has wakeboarding taken you to any places you never thought you would go?
Wakeboarding has definitely allowed me to travel to places I may never of had the opportunity to otherwise. So far, wakeboarding has taken me internationally to Portugal, the Dominican Republic, and to the Philippines.
As of right now, what are the first five songs you listen to when you put on your headphones?
- Mad in Love/The Deep by Youth Alive
- Follow Me by Shonlock
- Summer Vibin by Illijam
- Go in (feat. Taylor Hill) by Hopp
- Where the Boat Leaves From/One Love – Live by Zac Brown Band
- Rescue by the Movement
If you’d like to stay more current with my music or the music you hear on lessons, give me a follow on Spotify!
What do you like most about coaching?
Coaching gives me an opportunity to have on influence on youth and the upcoming competitive generation. It’s fulfilling to me to help them accomplish their goals, overcome fears, and unlock their full potential. I’m passionate about helping my students grow their wakeboarding skills, learn discipline in their physical training, learn how to make edits, grow their skills on boat and cable, and grow as a person.
What are your future goals for your personal riding and the wake school?
For my personal riding, my goal is to maintain a high level of tricks to stay current with the pro level of competition while also working on adding more style to my ride. I’d love to continue to compete for years to come.
For the wake school, I want to continue to develop more ways to make learning more accessible whether through camps, private lessons, or growing our outreach in the sport.