Back in 2005 when we launched Alliance Wakeskate, we debated who would get the interview in the fledgling issue. After much discussion, we settled on George Daniels, who at that point was just starting to step out from the shadows of Scott Byerly and make a name for himself with his trademark lanky style. Well, wakeskating has grown up a lot since then, and so has George. In fact, the only things that are really the same are that George keeps getting better and still loves wakeskating every bit as much. We’ll let him tell you about the rest of it.
AWS: Tell me about your injury. When and how did it happen, and how long before you were back on the water?
GD: It was last year (2008) at Wakestock in Canada. They had a pool stunt with a ledge on the right and a kink box with a lil gap in it, and a huge double 4 gap pulled by one of those down and back cable systems. So I was jammin’ on it the day before the boat contest. I was getting really close to doing a back shuv down the huge 4. Well, I kept trying and trying, I said to myself “one more. ” So I land it on the bolts, and stopped. My knee twisted and boom, I knew my ACL had been torn again. So I had surgery in September, and got on the board and started to cruise around after my stitches were out. So in about 3 to 4 weeks I was back on the water.
AWS: When you got hurt, did you ever consider dropping the handle? Throwing in the towel so to speak?
GD: I never of thought of throwing the handle at all! I just remembered how much fun wakeskating can be with a little bit of a break, haha. Wakeskating is my life. Ride or die!
AWS: Does your knee still bother you? You don’t seem to be holding back at all…
GD: My knee does have a few kinks to work out, but all in all it feels strong now. It’s been about 10 months now. I’m really feeling good about riding these days. I think I learned more tricks after I got hurt…weird!
AWS: How long before you will get sick of people calling you riding well a “comeback?”
GD: I can’t really get sick of that. It is a comeback. Heck, I’ve had 2 knee surgeries and keep progressing my riding. I’m stoked for myself. Call it a comeback, it doesn’t bother me.
AWS: So, you are a dad now. How do you like being a parent?
GD: I’m very proud of being a parent now. It’s changed my life tremendously. It’s sparked a fire under my ass to be more responsible for my actions, on and off the water.
AWS: How many diapers have you changed?
GD: I try to change as much as possible, but with touring, I don’t get too. When I’m home, I usually change one a day.
AWS: What’s the weirdest thing about having a kid?
GD: I guess just knowing you made something so beautiful, with a woman you love. So I wouldn’t call it weird, just a gift!
AWS: Do you like being called Papa Georgio or are you pissed at Staker for starting that?
GD: I’ve never been pissed off at Staker, he’s my bud. It actually goes with my life now, so I dig it! Staker, you’re the man.
AWS: Did having a baby change your attitude at all? I guess, has it affected your riding at all?
GD: My son Jagger has motivated me so much. He is the best kid ever. He’s at the contests with me, and goes to Byerly’s too. Knowing he’s there boosts my energy a bunch.
AWS: How is the Byerly Bus Tour going?
GD: The bus tour has been great. Everywhere we go, people are stoked on the product. Lots of cool spots to ride, and cool people we have met. It’s been a success!
AWS: Who is the best travel companion?
GD: The best companion would be everyone. We all get along great, were like one big happy family trapped in a 40×8 home on wheels. hahaha.
AWS: Who’s the worst? And why? Do they smell bad?
GD: No one. I mean we sometimes have a disagreement on things, but that’s how a family works, you know. We’re not the Brady Bunch. We’re the Byerly la Famila.
AWS: What’s been your favorite stop of the tour so far?
GD: Hammond, LA. Out there with Chip Smith and Rukus Boardshop. We got to play out there for 4 days in this pond he has. He’s got a pool gap with a left hubba, and a nice size gap. Bret Little killed it on that. Then the other pond consists of a incline, a rooftop rail, and a up-to-flat rail. Everyone went off on that pond, for sure. We had a good ol’ crawfish broil as well to top off that trip. Thanks Chip for everything.
AWS: Byerly has obviously been a big part of your life since you got started in wakeskating… Where do you think you’d be if he hadn’t taken you under his wing way back when?
GD: Well he’s been there for everything. Since day one me and Byerly have had a great relationship. I don’t know where I would be with out him today. He’s a huge part of my life. He’s the godfather of my child. That says it all.
AWS:How has wakeskating changed for you since you started?
GD: It’s changed a lot for me. I have gotten to travel the country and beyond. Just being in new water all over the country is really cool. I wouldn’t change it for nothing.
AWS: Is it strange to be “one of the older riders” now?
GD: It’s not that bad. I know I’ve done some things for the sport, and still want to keep going. I don’t wanna be known as “one of the older riders,” I would like be known as a rider who as help push the sport for younger talent to come.
AWS: Who do you think is pushing the sport the most these days?
GD: There’s a handful of riders pushing it. From winch to wake to rails. There’s so much talent out there, but if I had to say one person that I think stands out a lot, it would have to be Andrew Pastura, He’s very universal on everything. Well done Andy!
AWS: Are you working on any new tricks yourself?
GD: I’m working on getting BACK INTO THE GROOVE. So once I get comfortable again to where I need to be mentally, then things will pop off, son!
AWS: Where is your favorite place to ride, and why?
GD: My favorite place to ride is Byerly’s. All my friends are over there, and we can build whatever we want. I love it there, it’s a family-oriented place to be.
AWS: Anyone you’d like to thank?
GD: God, my mom and dad, Casey and Jagger, Scott and Kim Byerly and the fam, Prefontaine with O’neill, Bisch with Reef, Matty with Oakley, Biscut and Steve with Rockstar, the Byerly team, Butch, Alliance Wake, and everyone that has supported me through my career.