Surf ATL Community Spotlight: Kurt Ehlers
Every surfer has a story and this is the latest installment of our Surf ATL Community Spotlight series where we will feature surfers and those part of the surf culture in the Atlanta area. Check out our previous spotlights on Thomas Roginsky, Spencer Broome, Anthony Kennedy, Nick Bramwell, the Merlo Family, Mike Dobbs, Kristian Erik Bjerke, Jamie Eichler, Doug Paul, Brandon Spivia, Robert Hanson, Liam Spoon, Eric Ilustrisimo, Susan Bond, Jason Smith, Garrett Gilfillan, Silvia Saey, Scott Mennicke, Tammie Dalrymple, Wes Espinosa, Peter Gudbrandsen, Kelby Graham, Kayvon Nazarian, Abigail Pierce, Clark Campbell, Katy Harrison, Sam Burrafato, Maggie Maziarz, Erik Barron, Erin Keith, Jenny Serwitz, Adam Hunter, Joyce and Mack, Jackson Kearns, Jessica Luna, Tyler Urrutia, Mike Pappas, Scott Stone, Emily McLarty, and Emilio Castro.
My name is Kurt Ehlers and I’m originally from Oregon, served in the Navy which then landed me in the south, and immediately I knew I was home. I like sweet tea, low country boil, and lifted trucks.
I’m married to my beautiful wife Lauren and have two great kids: Evan (13) and Harrison (4).
Do you ocean surf, wake surf, river surf, paddle surf? How did you get into surfing? In Atlanta or somewhere else?
I was born in Bend, OR, and started snowboarding at ten. I moved to Salem, OR (less than an hour from the coast) for middle school and high school and I got into boogie boarding (the real kind, not the FL tourist shop styrofoam specials).
I got into wake surfing, thanks to Pull Watersports, in May of 2018 right here on Lake Lanier. I fell in love and never looked back. I’ve pretty much given up every other hobby.
I’m now a Rider Envoy for Pull, I coach (both beginners and advanced riders), and spend as much time as I can getting better.
Where and how often do you surf?
I surf at Lake Lanier two to four times per week. In the summer, from Monday to Friday we’re on the water from 5:45–8a at least three days a week.
I’ll ride in almost any weather (see hoodie and wetsuit pics). We’ve ridden on 12/23 when it was 51° water and 51° air.
What is your favorite thing about surfing?
Specifically related to wake surfing…. I love how it brings people together who might have never hung out otherwise. I recently turned 40 and I surf with friends from the age of 21–60. Wakesurfing is the great equalizer.
I also LOVE driving the boat. And I’m damn good at it.
What do you do to advance your surfing?
I try to get as many reps as I can behind the boat… muscle memory is key. And recently, have started doing yoga and plyometric dry land training. The dry land isn’t always fun but it’s what’s going to make you better.
What are your hopes for the Atlanta surfing community in the future?
I want more locals to get into any type of surfing. Surfing pairs a healthy lifestyle with a social aspect that I don’t think you get anywhere else. It’s not just for one category of people, it’s for everyone.