Breaking News
More () »

Jefferson County student riding wave of success as pro wakesurfer

A 15-year-old sophomore is the only male pro wakesurfer in Tennessee, and he is riding the wave of success at worldwide competitions.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — On the water is where Tripp Allen feels most at home. The Jefferson County sophomore is a professional wakesurfer at only 15 years old.

Allen learned to surf in a landlocked state and on Douglas Lake, his skills are a welcome addition to the waves. Wakesurfing isn't just his hobby, it's his life.

As of the beginning of October, Allen officially made the jump into the "pro" category of the junior age group of wakesurfers. That's when the World Wakesurfing Championships happened.

The teenager is one of the youngest contestants in this category. He competes against others who are anywhere from 16 years old to 25 years old.

Allen is the only professional male wakesurfer in Tennessee. There are some local athletes who are in the "amateur" or "outlaw" categories, which are the two steps before pro.

Even though he's here now, it wasn't love at first surf.

"The first few times we didn't have the right board for me, so it was really hard," Allen said. "I really didn't like it at all. Then, we got a board that I could really ride, and then I started loving it."

He hopped on a board before he was even in double digits. Now, he has one named after him from Pure WakeSurf. His signature is front and center on the board too.

"This board is definitely my best achievement," Allen said.

Through each season, he spends countless hours behind a boat sharpening his surf. 

"If you mess up, you mess up, you go back and try again," Allen said. "It's kind of what this teaches you a little bit. If you mess up, it's not really a big deal to get up and go again."

Practice makes professional for Allen, even when it's too cold for everyone else. Instead of staying home, he throws on a wet suit and practices for upcoming competitions. He says if it gets too cold, though, he opts for snowboarding instead.

He uses the appeal of winning as motivation to get out on the water and practice. He goes toe-to-toe with friends and foes around the globe.

"I've met so many people from all over the place.," Allen said. "There's so many people in Japan and Hong Kong and Thailand."

Allen also performs on the field for football and on the mat for wrestling. The straight-A student is committed to coaching other kids too. He wants others to fall in love with the sport just like he did.

"Everyone needs to get out here," Allen said. "Everyone needs to try it at least once."

He will keep ripping the waves on Douglas Lake, as long as he's able to catch the wake.

Allen says he is interested in going into the boating industry in adulthood. He is considering programs in engineering as it relates to boats.

Allen says he also wants to thank his parents for their neverending support throughout his life, and his sponsors in wakesurfing.

You can reach out to and follow Tripp Allen on Instagram, at @tripp58.

Before You Leave, Check This Out