2006 Rider of the Year – Danny Harf
by Tony Smith


Editor’s Note: Leading up to the announcement of the 2015 Rider of the Year we are re-releasing pieces of each of the past 14 ROTY articles from the magazine. Here’s a look at 2006 where Danny Harf was the undeniable choice.


Danny Harf is the Alliance Rider of the Year for 2006 … which shouldn’t come as a shock to anybody. Even if you only casually keep up with the professional wakeboarding scene, you can’t miss Danny. If the sport were a radar screen, he would be the giant asteroid hurtling towards the earth right now as people stared on in disbelief. And yes, he would be like every other asteroid that has ever been on a collision course with our planet – splitting mercifully at the last moment and causing bad husbands to reunite with alienated wives, kids to discover estranged dads, and whales to breach and make love. He’s that good.

Those wrapped toeside backside corked spins caught on in large part thanks to Danny     photo: Cortese


To our judging panel of Alliance staff members and previous riders of the year, the vote was not exactly a tough one. And this was weeks BEFORE Harf became only the second person in the world to ever land a 1080 (switch heelside, to boot.) The only other rider that even got mentioned in the voting was Keith Lyman, who proved worthy solely based on his constant devotion to the sport and apparent disregard for his knees. But in the end, it was probably Harf’s professionalism that was the determining factor, and the fact that every other rider likes him. Because if you spend any time around Danny, that’s what you quickly figure out – he is a complete professional, and he’s extremely nice. I have never once heard him talk shit about anyone or anything. He shakes your hand like a man, in the figurative sense. There’s some other things that help – he looks good in pictures so the ad guys love him, he doesn’t ever act cocky, and he works as hard as any B-team rider at a clinic or boat show. But really, the thing that made him the 2006 Rider of the Year is just that he is a freaking complete badass once the rope goes out and the throttle goes down. I mean, do I really need to say anything else? The guy did a switch 1080 this year and he didn’t go to jai or anything. That should be good enough.