As the Queen of Wake series gears up for its fourth event of the 2009 season, the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour stop in Sparks/Reno, Nev., we decided to sit down with four-time X Games gold medalist and current series points-leader Dallas Friday to talk about her come-back season, the tough competition she faces, her unusual luck in Reno and finishing off the season in her hometown.
Alli: How does it feel to be back on top, leading the Queen of Wake series?
Dallas: I've spent the last two years recovering from my injury [broken femur with nine spiral factures], which meant missing some contests for surgeries and limiting my riding. It's frustrating for an athlete, not being able to compete to their fullest abilities because of an injury. But I've been rehabbing my leg and training to get to where I'm at right now, and it's awesome to see all my hard work paying off. I'm stoked to be in the lead, but I'm more pumped on being able to really compete against the other girls again.
How competitive are the other girls?
It's crazy. Within the last two years a new field of riders has come out of nowhere. These girls are the riders of the future, for sure. They are competitive and have the hunger to win. Girls like Nicola [Butler] and Raimi Merritt have the drive to win, and want it as badly as I do. These girls have motivated me to ride better and push myself. They're the reason I pushed myself to land the S-Bend and the Switch 270 at the last comp. They keep me on my toes and I know they'll ready to throw down at the next stop.
So are you looking forward to the next stop in Sparks/Reno, Nev.?
I like Reno, but I'm not sure Reno likes me. Whenever there is a comp. out there, I seem to get hurt, or lose the contest, or the wind picks up right before I ride. Something weird always happens. In fact, I didn't make it out there last year because of surgery, and heard from everyone that the weather and the water were the best it has ever been there. It's crazy. But I love competing, so I'm stoked to be going there. Plus the crowd in Reno is always pumped to see us and they really make it fun to ride there.
Plan on visiting any hotspots or doing anything touristy, while you're there?
The last time I was in Reno, the hotel messed up my reservation and ended up upgrading me to the 'honeymoon suite.' It was this huge room with a hot tub in the middle of it. I was so stoked. I loved that hot tub. So I'm hoping to get the same room this year. I don't really gamble at the casinos or anything, I'll just watch the boys play for a bit. Unless it's roulette, in which case I will play once or twice. Remember, always bet on black. [Laughs!]
Are you stoked that the Queen of Wake wraps-up its season in your hometown of Orlando, FL?
It's the last stop of the year and it's in my hometown, who wouldn't be stoked if it happened to them? Wakeboarding is huge in Orlando, so the crowd is going to be crazy there. Plus my family and friends will get to come out and support me. Not to mention, getting to sleep in my own bed and keep me regular routine will help me out a lot. It will be interesting to see if I win my first Queen of Wake crown at the same place, where I began competing - OWC [Orlando Watersports Complex].
Any sponsor shout-outs?
Of course: Malibu boats, O'Brien wakeboards, Red Bull, FOX, JBL audio, Performance Ski & Surf, OWC, and O'town Watersports.