In this edition of Centurion Smiles, team athlete Keenan Flegel shares his story and why he chooses to ride for Centurion Boats.
KF: I’ve been participating in watersports for the better part of my life, in fact, I learned to Wakesurf at my home lake in Pompano Beach, Florida back in 2005. Back then I was surfing behind an older boat that was built around the time I was born, it was literally filled with fatsacs and had them strapped down all over the engine compartment in the back of the boat, it looked like a bean bag party. It wasn’t until 2007 that I got to ride behind a Centurion at my first World Wakesurfing Championship. I had the opportunity to go out on a Centurion for the first time in a practice run at Lake Yosemite the evening before Worlds. It’s tough to remember exactly which model I rode behind but it must have been an Avalanche or one of the early Enzo models. When I stood up behind that boat for the first time I had that moment that everyone talks about, a big Centurion Smile sprung across my face. During that ride I was able to get bigger air on all my tricks and ride farther back in the wave than I had ever imagined possible. I went on to win the juniors division that year, but didn’t fail to take notice of pro rider Drew Daniello who was a part of team Centurion at that time. Leaving that event I knew two things for sure; I wanted to be a pro, and I wanted to ride a Centurion.
Two years later at the World Championships in Nashville, both of those things became a reality, but only after a LOT of practicing. On day one of the competition I had a pretty good ride and ended up positioned in first place in the Pro Men’s division at the age of 13. At the end of finals I ultimately landed in 5th place and was stoked to be riding among the world’s best. After the competition my parents gave me the best surprise I could ever imagine when they told me that they had been talking with the folks at Centurion. They told me that I was not only going to be a part of Team Centurion but that we also were going to be buying the boat I had just rode on at Worlds!
I had plateaued with my progression behind the older boat my family owned and had been bugging my parents about getting a Centurion ever since that first time I rode one. When that red and white, goofy propped Enzo SV244 showed up in Florida, it truly felt like Christmas had come early. That boat absolutely blew the doors off what I thought was possible. I spent so much time riding behind that boat, one day I looked up at my Dad driving and said “what do I do now”? I had learned every trick that had ever been done wake surfing at that point and didn’t know where to go from there. Thanks to Centurion my development as a surfer has continued until this very day. Over the years the competitive wakesurfing scene has doubled, the boats have gotten nicer, the waves have gotten bigger, and the riding has constantly evolved as new athletes bring new ideas to the sport.
At the Wakesurfing World Championships in 2013 I achieved my ultimate competitive goal and united the crowns, winning both the World Title for Pro Men’s Skim and Pro Men’s Surf at the same Worlds. After that, I had to set new goals to get myself motivated again. I reset my focus from winning competitions to sharing the stoke of wakesurfing with as many people as possible while also staying at the forefront of innovation with my riding. Centurion has been critical in my pursuit of these new goals. Over the last decade, a great deal of my closest friends and fondest memories have been made on my journey with team Centurion. I am proud to be a part of a team that has built the sport of wakesurfing from the ground up and never stopped for a single second to see who was following behind. I ride Centurion because they make the best surf boats. They always have and always will. When It really comes down to it, there isn’t a single boat out there that compares to the deep V hull of a Centurion. Needless to say, my first Centurion Smile was not my last and I look forward to continuing to share the sport, and plenty of smiles, for years to come.
About Centurion Smiles: When you get someone behind a Centurion wake surfing for the first time they’ll typically end up right off the swim step, this is especially true for those who are used to surfing other brands. They’ll usually glare down towards the wave trying to find their ‘sweet spot’, what they don’t yet realize is that they aren’t adjusted to the power and strength of a wave behind a Centurion. As they gradually drop back on the wave the surfer looks up as they realize how far back they truly are, that’s when you see it, the ‘Centurion Smile’. The ‘Centurion Smile’ was coined by a salesman from our Austin Dealership (Ski Dock) after seeing countless individuals glow with this sign of pure happy surprise, however, anyone that’s pulled a surfer behind a Centurion boat is sure to have seen it before. The ‘Centurion Smile’ is the universal sign of belief in the world’s best waves, wakes and ride.
About Centurion Boats: Creating the World’s best waves, wakes and ride since 1976, Centurion is a towed water sports boat manufacturer built on innovation and commitment to excellence. As a Correct Craft Company, we are charged with “Making Lives Better”. We embody this phrase with the boats we build along with the lives we live on and off the water. Centurion Boats is the perfect ride every time. To learn more about Centurion Boats, visit www.centurionboats.com.
About Correct Craft: Celebrating 94 years of excellence in the marine industry, Correct Craft is a Florida-based company with global operations. Focused on “Making Life Better,” the Correct Craft family includes Nautique, Centurion, Supreme, Bass Cat, Yar-Craft, SeaArk, Parker, and Bryant boat companies, Pleasurecraft Marine Engine Group, Watershed Innovation and Aktion Parks. For more information please visit www.correctcraft.com.