Stagecoach Wake company under new owner, focuses on surfing

Tony Distrola bought Wake from Ben and Kim Saari and focuses his business on wake surfing, as opposed to other wake disciplines. It operates out of Stagecoach Lake and hopes to meet the needs of the locals more than anything else. (Courtesy of Tony Distrola)

Steamboat Springs resident Tony Distrola learned the secret of life early on.

“I have the passion to share the things that I love,” he said. “I snowmobile in the winter. I was a professional snowboarder and trainer in my twenties. I realized that every time you share your passion with people it gives purpose to your life.

In summer, the passion he shares is wake surfing. Distrola runs Wake, a water sports outfitter based out of Stagecoach Reservoir. He bought the business last year from Kim and Ben Saari when they left town for Tennessee. Distrola had worked for them before and has been in the Yampa Valley since 2014.



He has around 34 years of knowledge and experience in the field of water sports. He grew up frequenting the lakes and rivers of western Pennsylvania. With his skills and years of experience as a coach, he is convinced that he can teach anyone to wake up to surfing. He taught people aged 8 to 73 to stand up and surf behind his boat.

“I kind of have a knack for it,” he said. “I ask people about their background and I have a lot of sports knowledge. So I am able to compare what they are doing to something they have done before. It goes a long way for people.



The Saaris offered several wakeboarding options, but Distrola focuses on wake surfing. It is a discipline of wake that is safer and more accessible. Distrola has a surf-specific boat that generates the perfect wake for learning to surf. It also has 10 different boards to offer participants.

Distrola moves away from other disciplines because he thinks surfing is the best.

“It’s very nice,” he said. “You can communicate from the driver to the rider and indeed to the coach. You can see people’s facial expressions. You can hear their bodies hitting the water. It’s just a very close and personal sport for the viewer in the boat, and you are so close to the boat, as a pilot you can get instructions and progress faster.

Wake is exclusive to Stagecoach and has been busy. He hit his two-month income goal in six weeks. He is able to work more than the previous owners, as he is building a house on the nearby Stagecoach shore. He can adjust to almost any schedule and spends most of his mornings and evenings working on reservations. He loves that Wake is a small business and he hopes to keep it small but busy.

Tony Distrola bought Wake last year and focuses his business on wake surfing, as opposed to other wake disciplines. It operates out of Stagecoach Lake and hopes to meet the needs of the locals more than anything else. (Courtesy of Tony Distrola)

Distrola has a family that comes three times a week to wake up the surf. They are all of different skill levels but enjoy spending time together on the water. This is the type of business he wants to attract.

“I would like to respond more to the locals and do something more beneficial for the community and not just focus on tourism,” he said.

The biggest challenge in running the business is being a one-man show and learning to keep the books and manage the schedule. However, the best part of the job is worth it.

“The best part is sharing what I love with people,” he said. “And see the expression on their faces when they get up (at the board) and their excitement.”

The best way to book with Wake is to call or text Distrola at 970-367-3822. Prices and more information are available on WakeWS.com.


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