The Story of a…


Wakeboard Champion

Dallas Friday, 23, has won more than 60 professional wakeboarding titles, making her the all-time leader among women in the sport.


Dallas Friday

“I started in wakeboarding at 12. I did gymnastics before, but I kind of got over it. I wanted to try something new and my brothers got me into wakeboarding. I tried it and I absolutely loved it. I was drawn to it.”

“My first year
[2000, when she was 13] on the pro tour I won an event down in West Palm Beach. I went from never making it into the finals to winning a pro tour stop. Crazy, huh? Finally it clicked at that contest.” Friday has dominated her sport ever since, winning almost every event she has entered. She won an ESPY award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete for 2004, and in July she won the gold medal in the female wakeboarding competition at the World Games in Taiwan.

Boone High School “was pretty much a place I just went to class. . . . But it got to a point that I said, ‘OK, I know what I want to do. I want to be a professional wakeboarder.’ I think it was probably my best decision when my parents agreed to let me drop out at 16 and I got my GED.”

“I didn’t like the boys in high school. I liked the boys at the Cable [Orlando Watersports] Park.”

“I bought a [lakefront] house at the age of 16. I didn’t live in it. I rented it out. I really didn’t know how much money I was making then. I was making more than enough to buy a Yukon Denali at the end of the year. I could make 15 grand if I won a big event.” Prize money is only part of Friday’s income. Energy drink maker Red Bull, audio equipment manufacturer JBL and Malibu boats are among the eight sponsors that pay her to endorse their products. 

“It’s going to sound horrible, but I’ve broken my back twice. I think I was riding on a fractured back for two weeks. I had to wear a girdle in high school for like two months, over my clothes. Healed that and never had back problems. Then I had knee injuries—four tears and three surgeries. I broke an ankle in a contest. I didn’t even know it was broken. When I got back to the dock, it was like the size of a football. I had to go to the hospital.”

Friday broke her left femur in nine places during the Wakeboarding World Cup in Singapore in October 2006. “I was holding my leg, which was bent backward, waiting for the boat to come back. I went to the hospital and they told me I would have surgery the next day and I would be fine. I don’t remember anything after that. I had surgery, then my lungs collapsed and then they induced me into a coma.” Friday remained hospitalized for two weeks. Afterward she returned to Orlando to recover and rehab her leg. Seven months later she was back in competition.   

At the recent WWA Wakeboard National Championships in Oklahoma, Friday made history when she became the first woman wakeboarder to nail an “S-Bend” jump, during which a rider spins 360 degrees while inverted high in the air. “I love that feeling, the vibe of, like, pressure. I really don’t have any fear of trying a trick.”