Every year the staff of Alliance selects the one rider who we all felt stood out all season as Rider of the Year. It could be a wakeskater, it could be a wakeboarder, and it's never an easy decision. But this year, one name kept coming up again and again: Danny Hampson. It wasn't because he won the most contests (although he did have some amazing competitive moments) or because he did the most tricks, or really any one thing. Danny was just the rider who made us want to go ride the most. And his reaction to the award just solidified our feelings — an unexpectant champion. Congratulations Danny, you are the best!
Be sure to check out the new issue of Alliance Wakeboard magazine for the full awards and some more amazing photography. Just for you, the readers of Alliance Wakeskate though, we caught up with Danny to talk about the year gone by. Here's what he had to say.
AWS: Who and what were you most stoked on in wakeskating this year?
DH: I’m just stoked on anything, it’s hard to narrow it down some many people are doing so much good stuff and I can’t believe how far the sport has come. All the winching stuff is great, all the people making videos are great, I’m just happy to be a part of it.
AWS: What was your personal highlight of the season?
DH: Probably when Garrett called me and told me I won Rider of the Year. There are so many people who are so good and probably are much better than me. But the fact that I did good enough and got chosen is just so amazing. I still can’t believe it. I am just kind of in shock about the whole deal.
AWS: What was your favorite place you traveled this season?
DH: We did all that Push PRocess travel, which was crazy and amazing. We went to Brazil for that and rode on the Amazon, that was definitely crazy. It was just fun this year because I went on tour and traveling with all the other guys was cool. I went to Texas a lot, I like it out there. Everywhere is awesome when you travel with a good group of people.
AWS: Who did you ride with the most in 2008?
DH: I was pretty much riding over at Scott’s house. I was just riding with Scott, Ross Gardner and all my friends. (I rode with) some of my friends that just wakeskate for fun A a lot. I rode out at Letchworth’s house for awhile filming for Push Process. And all the people who worked on Volume 7. Thanks to everyone who rode with me, for pulling me a million times. I probably should have gotten stuff done quicker.
AWS: What was your favorite trick this year?
BG: I really milked the front big for all it was worth. (Laughing) I think now I am going to try and do something different because I don’t think people are going to want to see me do frontside big spins anymore. I don’t really want to see myself do them anymore. It was a good friend, my buddy. I don’t even go wakeskating anymore, I just go big spinning.
AWS: What was your favorite video/video part this year?
DH: There was a lot of great stuff that came out this year. I liked the Push Process. I was really pumped to be a part of it, that was awesome. George’s part in that video was really crazy. The Volume videos, everyone killed it in that. To me George’s part really stands out, Nick Taylor’s Volume Six part was absolutely crazy. The way everyone rode this year’s been great. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the Fun Boots! guys are doing because I know that’s going to be mind blowing. Really looking forward to seeing Ben’s part and Andrew’s part. Those guys are awesome. And of course Nick and Stu, everyone is crushing it. I think more good stuff is going to come out in the future.
AWS: What was the overall highlight of 2008 for you?
DH: Lifewise? I don’t know, wakeskating was pretty much my life this year. I guess the highlights pretty much cross over. Just living, being alive, being healthy. Being with my friends and my family and anytime I’m with any of them is a highlight. Every day I am still kicking and people still like me! I’m turning 21 in three days, so that’ll be a highlight.
Any thank yous?
God and every single person I know because they are the reason I am anything. I just love everyone and thanks for everything!