By: Marissa Foglia for DBOT5.com
Leave it to DBOT5 to get the inside scoop from the pros…even when they are halfway across the world (clearly I should have gone, too!) I recently tracked down Pro Wakeboarder Danny Thollander, just as he arrived in Abu Dhabi for the first stop of the WWA World Series. For those of you who don’t know, Abu Dhabi is the second largest city in the United Arab Emirates, is super beautiful, and really, really far away for the U.S. riders. Check out what he had to say about competing overseas, upcoming wake trends, different cultures, and on the road shenanigans!
Q: So, you just spent 14 hours on a plane heading to Abu Dhabi…fun, fun. How’d you pass the time?
A: The long flight is hard. I tried to sleep most of the flight, but with a nine hour time change it’s crazy. I pretty much slept two nights in a row without seeing sunlight. It’s really hard to get adjusted. We’ve been getting up at 5 a.m. every morning because we just can’t sleep.
Q: List the essentials you always pack for your trips…any good luck charms?
A: Besides my suitcase and board bag, I bring a backpack for stuff on the plane. I bring a book called “Mind Gym” to every event with me. It’s an athlete’s guide to inner excellence. I must have read it five times already and I learn something new every time.
Q: Who are you rolling with on this trip and what’s the best part of globetrotting?
A: I’m traveling with Nick Jones and Austin Hair. They’re both roommates of mine back at home. Also, the top 16 wakeboarders in the world are here so we have a big group when we go out. The best part is learning about the way of life of the people in that particular country. The different cultures are crazy! Everywhere we go is so different from the place before with new languages, currency, food, and water color/temps. It’s sweet to try and speak different languages!
Q: What’s something a lot of the pro wakeboarders seem to be talking about lately? Any new trends for the new season?
A: New trends for the season seem to be flashy gear…like neon colors on our boards and life vests! All the riders are on top of there game this year. Everyone is talking about creating new tricks and winning Wakeboarder of the Year.
Q: How about after the sun sets? What types of shenanigans do you and your friends get into when you’re overseas?
A: Well we try to be good boys considering there are death penalty for laws we have never even heard of…but shenanigans are always fun to play on each other at the hotel! Example: Giving shots of vodka to Philip Soven when we are all taking water, hoping he would ride bad the next day. It never works.
Q: So is the nightlife over there a lot different from the U.S.?
A: The night life is pretty mellow in Abu Dhabi. Their religion it pretty strict on consuming alcohol and staying out late, so it’s pretty much a dry city for drinking. I think only tourists party hard here.
Q: What are your personal goals for the competition?
A: I’m trying to get top ten this weekend because that’s where the money is! This is the first stop of the WWA World Series, so good points give me good seeding for the rest of the season.
Best of luck to Danny and all the other riders! You can check out Danny’s website at DannyThollander.com and follow the WWA on Twitter for contest results all year long. Danny would like to thank Hyperlite Wakeboards, Accurate Lines, Rockstar Energy Drink, Zinka Sun Protection, and Nautique Boats.
Be sure to visit DBOT.com for more inside scoop on the never-ending whirlwind lives of these pro riders!