Celebrating Equal Pay, part three, by Andrea Gaytan

ALWAYS HOPE … Tarah Benzel Mikacich 2016 IWWF Boat Female Rider of the Year, a.k.a Tarah Mik, restores the faith in the Women’s Wakeboarding crusade as she rises through the ranks.

In 2014 they dropped women from the tour, this was a low point as women had almost no outlets to compete except the WWA Nationals and Worlds. Around this same time, the WWA had taken our Nationals and Worlds back to be produced ‘in house’ rather than by Bonnier.” Corrie Dyer, WWA Executive Director.

The decision came as an unexpected blow, when after eighteen years of continuous inclusion, the women wakeboarders were cut from the Pro Tour. The following year, Malibu and Nautique Boats, both added pro-women divisions to the Nautique World Series and to the Malibu Evolution Pro Series, and with efforts from the WWA and the IWWF, the women’s pro circuit got back underway.

The professional circuit is a blessing for all the up and coming female spectators and for loyal riders like Tarah Mik. She continues to progress and has remained at the top of the sport she has devoted her whole life to. Tarah recently took top honors winning Wake the Desert in 2019.

At the beginning of the decade, Raquel Hoffman was a virtually unknown free rider. She studied at the University of Chico in California and wakeboarded with her sister on her free time. Hoffman entered an innovative Wakeboarding video contest that sought entries from the world’s best. She surprised everyone with her array of spins and mobes and was the second girl to land a 720 (after Amber Wing). The prize was a spot in the inaugural Tigé MyWake Global Challenge, an international wakeboarding competition where Raquel, who won the video contest, learned to compete like a pro.


Early in the 2010 season, twenty-two year old Dallas Friday was still fresh from celebrating her comeback wins at the Queen of the Wake Series and at the 2009 World Championships. It had been a very special year for Dallas, who’d completely recovered and returned to the number one position after a three year hiatus since she’d shattered her femur in 2006. Dallas had started the season on a winning streak, when she suffered another devastating injury during a competition in Fort Worth Texas.

“Breaking my left femur in 2006 – mentally, that was just unbelievable,” she laments. “The knee was kind of the same thing, though, although the pain was worse than when I broke my leg. The knee injury was one of those things I never saw coming from a hundred miles.”

Dallas underwent reconstructive surgery, she injured her knee so severely, that she remained in physical therapy and out of the water for nearly 2.5 years. That injury has been the toughest physical and mental challenge of her wakeboarding career.

“I’ve never felt so completely heartbroken, drained and frustrated all at once. It took it all out of me and to get another injury, and to know what I have to look forward to, is really devastating. But through each injury, every athlete gets smarter and learns from it and grows as a person.”

Said Friday, staying positive while she recovered during an interview by Red Bull.


Full credit to the Wakeboarding Hall Of Fame, original posting here.

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