Rider Link: Brandon Darley
WW: Let’s get some background information? (Name, age, residence, etc.)
BD: Name is Brandon Darley. I am 26 years old and currently live in Las Vegas, Nevada.
WW: How long have you been wakeboarding?
BD: Remember when the boards were directional and had bungees on them? Yeah, that long.
WW: How did you get into wakeboarding?
BD: My parents grew up surfing in southern California and, naturally, had me on the boat since age two. I think I was like six when we got our first Hyperlite board, the single direction one, with the foam straps for bindings.
WW: Where do you normally ride?
BD: I usually ride on Lake Mead. It can be heaven or hell depending on the winds.
WW: What is your wakeboard setup?
BD: Riding a 138 Watson Hybrid with Watson LTD bindings on it.
WW: Do you ride with a regular crew of people and, if so, who is it?
BD: Anyone who is down to hang out and enjoy the day on the lake…well, as long as they have gas money.
WW: What kind of boat do you usually ride behind?
BD: I ride behind a 2013 Malibu vRride. It's a lot of fun weighed down.
WW: What is your favorite thing about wakeboarding?
BD: The water. I think it is mainly those moments of glass really that drive me to ride. There is nothing like just opening up a huge slide and spray on a glassy day. The thrill of stomping that next trick. I love the time spent in the boat. Compared to a lot of other sports, you get a lot of personal time with everyone on the boat and you are generally really close with those people who you go out with. It makes wakeboarding more than just getting behind the boat really.
WW: What do you normally do when you are not wakeboarding?
BD: Well if I am free from one of the 18 credit semesters I have been doing at UNLV for the last year, I am in Utah snowboarding.
WW: What or who inspires your riding?
BD: I really get inspired by my friends and my family. It pushes me when I get out and they are pushing new tricks and pushing me to try things I haven't really tried. My longest lasting inspiration would definitely be Shaun Murray. When I was about 10, my parents had my brother and I huge into INT league in Indiana. Murray came out and did a clinic with us and was one of the most genuine, fun-loving people I have encountered still. We have pictures of my brother on his shoulders and him holding me by one leg. Then the following weekend we went to the Pro Tour in Indianapolis, Indiana. We went to say good luck to Murray and, instead, he walked us into the rider’s area and started introducing us to Parks, Webb, Ruck and Shapiro. We ended up spending most of the day in that area. So really still remembering that and remembering the love and style Shaun rode with inspires me to get out behind the boat.
WW: Are there any tricks that you plan on checking off the list this season?
BD: Honestly, if I could go out and break my fear from Raleys, I would feel pretty accomplished.
WW: Are there any spots that you hope to ride one day?
BD: I would love to ride one of the many Crater Lakes. I am big into history and earth formations, so it would be really cool to ride on top of an ancient volcano.
WW: If you could pick one person, dead or alive, to have dinner with, who would it be and why?
BD: Geez this is a tough one. I'm definitely going to bring out my nerd with this one, but I definitely think ancient astronomers like Nicolaus Copernicus and Kepler. Like history, astronomy is a huge subject for me and it would be really cool to converse about how they viewed space and existence within space vs. what we know now about space and existence.
WW: So you are a pretty good snowboarder also, how is your snowboard season going?
BD: Well, where do I start? I landed my first switch 900 a few weeks back, which I felt was pretty monumental for me, won a couple contests at my home mountain, spent a lot of time on the hill with good friends, got engaged to an amazing girl. Despite record low amounts of snowfall, it's been a great season.
WW: Do you find that wakeboarding is a crossover for snowboarding or vice versa?
BD: For the most part it is. The edging and stuff is very similar, spin rotations as well. It definitely keeps the legs prepped between seasons.
WW: What are your goals this year? Are you planning on doing any contests?
BD: Right now I don't know. I am graduating college in June and may be heading into the real world. But my plans are to get out and ride some cable more this summer and maybe get into some rail jam type of contests here and there. I've never been in that style of contest, so it would be fun.
WW: Do have any advice for those starting out?
BD: Real advice…stay within your own limits. You want to progress, but you need to progress in a way that is safe. Don't try 360's before you can do 180, etc. You need the basics and find the love for it. Don't get mad when you don't get the trick you want. There are millions of people who would kill to be sitting in that water at any given time. Life and riding is what you make of it. Go out and have fun and be creative. Nothing is impossible.
WW: Are you getting any sponsor support?
BD: My good friends at Boulder Boats always help me out and one of my sponsors, Crooked Kingdom, always makes sure I have some shades to protect my eyes out there.
WW: Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
BD: My parents for sure for waking me up every Sunday as a kid and taking me out on the lake and pushing me to have fun and enjoy riding. Shaun Murray for being way cool to my brother and I as a kid. And also thanks to everyone out there who pushes the sport, loves the sport, grows the sport and is true to it. We have always been a pretty niche group of dedicated riders and I think that's what makes the sport great.