Rider Profile: Drew Danielo
We check in with Wakesurf Legend and long time P5 team rider Drew Danielo. Drew has been apart of the P5 family for over 20 years now and has been a vital part of the P5 growth for the very beginning. Before Drew began Wakesurfing, he was one of the World's best Skimboarders and traveled around the country competing in contests. He transitioned seamlessly to the Wakesurf World where he went on to win 7 World Championship titles. Drew has two Pro Model's (P5 Diamond & P5 Hammerhead) that have been a staple in the P5 line for many years.
Now a days, Drew's strong competitive spirit lives on with his son Ty and they spend many weekends on the baseball diamond. Let's dive in to Drew Danielo's interview!
How is life treating you in these crazy times?
Life is good. Work is slammed, Baseball is in full swing and the family is all healthy.
What does a day in the life look like for you these days?
It doesn’t look like most might think. Starts off waking up my son and dropping him off at school. Then off to handle customer service emails, dealer emails and orders at work. Then back to pick Ty up from school, home to take care of homework. And right back out the door for Baseball practice or games. Then home around 8:30 dinner, relax and get ready to wake up and do it all over again.
Why Wakesurfing? What brought you into the sport of Wakesurfing?
I was introduced to wakesurfing through Bob Smetts and being a Zap Skimboard rider. I was a professional skimboarder for Zap skimboards ( Phase 5’s sister company), We sold alotof skimboard to the wakeboard guys and they were surfing behind their boats. Bob Started Phase 5 Wakesurfers in 2002. I spent a day with Cobe Mikacich and Keith Lyman in Orlando learning how the boat wake works and riding. A few months later Bob said we were going to the World Wakesurf Championships in California. I slipped into the finals in last qualifying place. Half way through my finals run, it clicked I was just skimboarding. After a few shuvs and 3 shuvs I won my first World Championships. From there the more I did in the wake industry the more I saw opportunity for myself and for the sport. It was not always well received by most people like it is today.
Who did you look up too when you were younger and starting to ride boards?
My first love was a skateboard. Growing up it was Bones Brigade. As I got older I looked up to guys like Tony Hawk and Kelly Slater. To still be pushing themselves and progressing their talents at their ages has always inspired me
What do you think the future of Wakesurf holds?
This is always a unique question. What I hope to see is a wave where guys can ride a surf style like a surf board. Full cut backs and s turns in the wave. The way the boat companies are pushing the sport and the technology of the boats, I do not think it will be long.
How has your mindset shifted from the competitive side of the sport from recent years to the business side and ambassador for the Wakesurf?
This has been a bit of a challenge to me at times. I miss competing. I am a very competitive person and thrive off competition. The big shift came when I did not want to be gone all the time throughout summer My son is getting older and I did not want to miss out on being a dad. Now I use my competitive drive to sell as many Phase 5 as I can. I love the challenge of being in sales. I set goals for myself every year and so far I have met them all. As this craziness in the world settles down I am sure there will be new challenges and goals to keep reaching for.
What is like to design your own Pro Model?
It was a privilege and stressful when I got to do my first board. I had a few ideas that I drew out and used some skimboard knowledge and shapes I liked. The more I redesigned more boards or created new ones the more I realized how lucky I was to be a part of Phase 5 and why this company is so successful. Bob Smetts has more knowledge of shaping boards than anyone I have met. I just put my idea on paper and show it to Bob, Next thing I know he has made small tweaks to make the board faster, turn better etc and everyone of my pro model boards have been extremely successful. From the original Danielo Pro Model, All version of the Diamond and Both shapes of the Hammerhead, my boards have delivered everything I needed them to do.
What is your go-to Wakesurfer?
My go to would have to be the latest Hammerhead. The Peanut Shape is so unique and works better than I ever imagined. The board stays loose and fast like a skimmer should, but when on the rail the peanut shape locks the board into the wave and keeps it shooting down the line with speed.
What are your thoughts on the P5 team? Thoughts on the overall talent in the Wakesurf world now a days?
I may be a little bias but seriously you can not find a team stronger then the P5 team. From top to bottom it is stacked with the best at every level. At the top you have Parker, Sean, Nick and John who are constantly pushing to tech tricks. Then we have pros like Caro and Stacia who are absolute legends in this sport. They show up to any event with the mindset to compete buy always be happy and have fun. We have recently added some super talented riders like Ashley Inloes, Camille Goodwin, Bailey Dunn and Jett Lambert. Then we have young guns like Afton bank, The Duczek Brothers and Reed Cole-Tucker who are all so talented.
The talent in wakesurfing is crazy but I am not super surprised. I love action sportsy and as I look around all the different sports the talent is getting better and better and younger and younger. I hope to see some younger guys start doing big tricks in the air again. The tech tricks are great but mix in some BOOST!
Advice to up and coming riders looking to make a name for themselves in the sport?
Remember what you are doing it for. Wakesurfing is fun. If you start to compete and stop having fun wakeasurfing what is the point? I never once went out in my boat to “Train” for an event. Yes, I would go out and spend some time working on a line for an event, but 85% of every session I have had was out on the boat with friends or family and having fun. If you do make it up through the ranks and get to ride as a professional always remember there are younger riders looking up to you. Be a good example. The biggest thing I am proud of in my wakesurf career is that I never once came out of the water upset, slamming my gear and cussing. It will not change what just happened in the water so forget it and move on!
Favorite food? Gummy Bears
Favorite Music? 95% country, 5% old hip hop
Favorite hobby? Being on the baseball field with Ty and Hunting
Favorite Athlete? Ben Zobrist – Talented athlete that was always doing things the right way!
Favorite trick? Probably have to go with a big lofty backside big spin. Or a good barrel at the beach
Best trick ever done? (Any board sport) This one is tough- The 540 variations on my wakesurfer would be one, Back in the day the big Ollie to fakie on a good quarter pipe was probably the other.
Greatest Wakesurf achievement? The world titles are awesome. The legend award I was stoked on and caught me by surprise. But I think I have enjoyed being the Phase 5 team manager for so many years and the amazing friendships I have made with our riders throughout the years.
Guesstimate total number of Drew Danielo Pro Models ever sold??
Whoa—Lets go with 140,000 all of my models combined
P5: Thats an aggressive number but we like it!
Foil Fever? Scared of the foil. Zach Smetts bought a foil about 5 years ago and we had no idea how to do it. 36” mast and well lets just say I think I some how escaped death that day! But on the small mast it is fun.
Finless or fin? Always a fin on my surfer. I like the bite for speed when I need it. I also like it makes me pop my tricks and spin them clean.