Mike Dowdy is a Jr. Pro Men competitor that rides like he is a contender for King of Wake in the Pro Men division. This young buck is landing tricks that only a few people have done before on a daily basis behind his boat. Mike has an explosive wake-to-wake style that looks so effortless, but would make you think he is going into the flats every time. He may be small ladies, but this guy goes big!
WW: Your name is Michael Dowdy... Any other basic info we should know about you?
MD: I’m 17 years old and am from Pinckney, Michigan. I enjoy picnics and long beach walks and sunsets.
WW: You got any good jokes to break the ice before we start this thing?
MD: Not really. I'm more of a person to make good comebacks than flat out jokes.
WW: You have been quite the buzz this year on the Jr. Pro Men tour. Is competing something you enjoy or do you consider yourself more of a freerider?
MD: I enjoy competing. I think it shows just how good riders really are when they can do their tricks when the pressure’s on. I would say I have more fun freeriding and messing around, but competing is a big part of the sport and mastering the mental game of competing is just as important as learning new tricks.
WW: When did you start wakeboarding?
MD: I started when I was eight years old. I won a drawing at a marina to do a lesson with Gerry Nunn in St. Louis, Missouri. A week later I won another one to ride with Shaun Murray, and from there I took off with the sport.
WW: Was wakeboarding your first and only sport you got into or do you have secret talent in another?
MD: I played basketball until like eighth grade and the varsity wrestling coach asked me to wrestle for my high school, but I didn't really want to wear spandex, so I passed that offer up.
WW: Did you look up to any riders when you were getting more into the sport?
MD: When I first moved to Michigan, I met Chris Laske and have basically been under his wing trying to make it as a professional rider. He has helped push me to be the best rider possible and to this day I still work with him at Wake Sessions Wakeboard Lessons and ride with him every day. As well as Chris, I've always looked up to Shaun Murray when it comes to being an off the water professional. He has already taught me some things about being more professional off the water and when I look at him I believe he is the best people person in the entire industry. As far as riding, I like watching Aaron Rathy, Harley Clifford and Oli Derome. I look to them for inspiration on new tricks and different ways to do them.
WW: What’s a normal day in your life right now?
MD: Right now, wakeboarding and hanging out with my family and girlfriend. I do online school, which was an awesome decision. I usually do some of that and then, depending on my boss’s (Chris) schedule, I either have lessons with him all day or we’re just hanging on the boat riding ourselves.
WW: Some may or may not know, but you are creeping up to a Harley Clifford status with the tricks you are doing. What is your favorite one to do right now?
MD: I really enjoy doing heel 720's and heel 900’s. I watched Rathy do them for a long time and I loved the way he spun them, so I tried to mimic that. I also like KGB 5's. After Harley, Aaron, Dean and Bob started to land them, I wanted my name to be up with those guys and that’s what got me to start doing them.
WW: Are you working on any new tricks right now?
MD: I've been working on toeside wake-to-wake 10’s and heel 10’s off the double up, as well as KGB 7’s.
WW: What’s your current set up that you rock on the water?
MD: I'm riding a CWB 130 Pure with AA bindings.
WW: Wow! A 130 is very small. Why so small?
MD: Haha, I’m not really sure. CWB gave it to me to try on tour my first year and I have just ridden it ever since. Plus I’m only 5' 6” or so, it’s not super small for me.
WW: Do you consider yourself more of a boat guy or do you like to round yourself out with cable and winching too?
MD: I would definitely consider myself to be a boat rider. I try and do cool stuff behind cable and winching, but I always eat it pretty hard or can never do what I'm trying to do.
WW: What is your favorite boat to ride behind?
MD: I like all the boats. That’s what I think makes the best riders the best is being able to do your usual tricks behind every wake at any time. My personal favorite is the X-Star though. The wake behind them gets massive!
WW: Do you have a regular crew of friends you ride with?
MD: Depends where I am. In Orlando I usually stay with Kyle Evans and ride with the other juniors like Shota Tezuka, Daniel Powers, Freddie Wayne, Joey Buss, Keenan Allen and Robby Holihan. As far as pro riders, I have ridden with Zane a few times, Harley, Andrew and a few others. In California I stay at the Twelker Compound with Josh and usually the whole Junior Men group makes a trip out there for a few weeks. In Michigan, I spend my days riding with Chris Laske and Ryan Adams.
WW: What’s the hardest crash you have ever taken on a wakeboard?
MD: I don't remember it. It was two days before Worlds in 2008 and I caught my toe edge on a KGB. I don't remember anything. Brushing my teeth, leaving my house, getting dressed, nothing. I looked at my messages when I was finally back to normal and I texted my coach and called him like 30 times wondering what happened.
WW: Has wakeboarding taken you to any places you never thought you would go?
MD: Yes. I have been to Canada and about every state in the country that has water. If it wasn't for me riding, I would never have that experience.
WW: Seems like traveling all over the country must interest you in going somewhere overseas? Anywhere you would want to go the most?
MD: I really want to go to Australia and places like that. I've seen some cool places to ride over there and would like to go sometime.
WW: As of right now, what are your first five songs you listen to when you put on your headphones?
1. Hard times - Doujah Raze
2. Universal Love - DL incognito
3. Wake up - Mac Miller
4. Welcome back - Input
5. Escape me - Tiesto
WW: Would you like to thank anyone out there?
MD: I'd like to thank my parents and family for always supporting me in everything I do, and God for keeping me safe out there. Also, I'd like to thank CWB and Jet Pilot for hooking me up with gear for the season. And most of all Chris Laske for helping me the last few years coaching me, and everyone else who has contributed to where I'm at today.