(Merced, CA) - Finishing atop the podium since '92, Darin Shapiro is definitely the longest running success wakeboarding has ever seen. His titles over the years include 6-time Pro Tour Champion, 2-time World Tour Champion, X-Games Champion, U.S. Open Champion, Masters Champion and so many more. With those wins under his belt Shapiro has had plenty of opportunities to ride behind the industries best towboats. This year with his wakeboard experience focused on finding a new boat and a new team to ride with Shapiro chose his favorite the Wakesetter VLX and Team Malibu.
Growing up, Shapiro spent most of his water-time skiing or surfing. It wasn't until wakeboarding's introduction that he truly found his kindred sport. "I felt more natural wakeboarding than anything else that I had ever done before," Shapiro recalls.
Now Shapiro can rarely be found doing anything else, but wakeboarding. If he is not out on the lake with fellow Malibu team members Gerry Nunn, Dallas Friday, Brian Grubb or Chad Sharpe he might be making his music or surfing at his pad in Kauai. Then again, he could be on the water at his wakeboard camp, Ride The Spot. There he has a solid excuse to wakeboard year round.
The bond that Shapiro shares with wakeboarding is obvious in his outrageous performances. He is constantly breaking new ground and making new rules for the sport. Sound familiar? Shapiro attacks the sport of wakeboarding the same way Malibu builds a wakeboard boat. The school of thought is, "a performance [or a boat] is never as good as it can be," so they make it better each and every time. A proactive back-to-the-drawing board attitude has made the Wakesetter VLX the number one choice of professional wakeboarders and Shapiro the greatest performing wakeboarder of all time.
Being the greatest and a pioneer of the sport, Shapiro is a very accurate barometer of the state of wakeboarding. According to him "The sport will be seeing lots of growth in the next few years." Shapiro believes most riders are looking for competition formats like the Malibu Just Ride Series. "The events [Just Ride Series] are better because the riders have a good time riding with, instead of against their peers." Shapiro's insight when it comes to competition planning will give Malibu another edge when designing the 2002 Just Ride Series and the Malibu Open.
When asked about the Wakesetter VLX that is on its way to him, Shapiro excitedly rattled off, "The Malibu Wakesetter VLX has been my favorite boat to ride behind since the first time I rode behind Gerry Nunn's." With a tone of conviction he added, "The wake couldn't possibly be any better."
The folks at Malibu are just as excited about Shapiro as he is about the their boat. Lani Farmer, Malibu Boats Event and Team Director, explained, "Darin has always seemed like an extension of the Malibu team. He rode for other companies until now, but his relationship with our riders and his Pro-Malibu attitude always made him an honorary team member." Farmer added, "We are so jazzed to have Darin as a genuine part of the team. Things are as they should be now and we expect more great things from him this year."