John Dreiling is an up-and-coming rider on the international wake park scene whose riding got him on top of the podium at the Langenfeld Open. John, originally from Orlando, Florida, has really upped his riding lately, so we decided to hit him up and check in with him about it.
Where and when did you get your start wakeboarding?
I grew up watching my dad ski every weekend on the boat. So naturally as a kid I learned to slalom ski and fell in love with the water. When I grew older I learned about wakeboarding and tried it a couple times on the lake, but I really had no idea what I was doing. Then, my friend Wyatt invited me to OWC when I was 15, and I thought it was the sickest place. Once I got my license the next summer, I went back and bought a six-month pass. I rode every single day of those six months.
Who were some of your early influences and who influences your riding now?
My biggest influences were the guys killing it in Orlando when I first started riding (Julian and Yonel Cohen, Kyle Evans, the Worralls, and Ian Smith). As I progressed and learned more about the sport, I started getting influenced by some of the international riders like Daniel, Nico, Windsor and Felix. Over the last few years I have been influenced mostly by skaters, snowboarders, and BMX riders. Guys like Chris Joslin, Ståle Sandbech, and Kriss Kyle to name a few.
What have been some of your career highlights in the last year or two?
My biggest career highlight is winning Langenfeld Open. Just days before the event, my dad passed away. He has done so much for me to be able to live out my passion. We always dreamt about me standing on top of the podium at a major event, so it was literally a dream come true for both of us. I couldn’t have done it without everything he has taught me. I know he shared this win with me from Heaven and was right there with me on that podium. Nothing will ever beat that.
What plans are in the near future for you? Any special projects?
I’m actually planning on changing things up a bit in the future. I’ve always had a passion for producing my own video parts. I used to put together 6 a year, some better than others. I’m really looking forward to getting back into it after taking a break from it this year. However, this time I’m going to do things a little differently, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you guys in the near future.
It looks like you’ve been traveling the world quite a bit lately. What are some of the highlights or your favorite places you’ve ridden?
As far as countries I’ve been to, nothing beats Thailand! As for cables, I’ve been blessed to travel to so many incredible parks. It’s hard to pick just a few, but the ones that really stand out to me would have to be Liquid Leisure, Thai Wakepark, CWC, Cables Wakepark, all the parks in the Cologne area (Wakebeach257, Langenfeld, and the Bricks) and, of course, Area 52 and The Valdosta 2.0.
Are there any destinations still on your bucket list?
Does going back to Thailand count? Other than that, I would love to spend some time traveling through Africa and South America, starting with Brazil.
We’ve been seeing you on the podium more and more lately. Have you been doing anything different in the way you ride/compete?
I’ve definitely changed things up this year. I took a short break from riding in December to refocus. I changed up my diet a bit and starting treating my body better. I spent more time at home riding as much as possible and took it back to the basics, focusing on consistency and precision (making sure grabs were legit and locking in on the nose or tail on rails).
You’ve been hitting some pretty gnarly obstacles lately. Any serious “Oh $#!+” moments run through your head?
One of the most memorable would have to be on the Mega Ramp in Munich. In practice, when trying to do a slight off axis spin, I stuck to the kicker a little bit and the off axis turned into a cork. I got lost in the air. Luckily, the rope seemed to pull me out and I landed stretched out on my back. It didn’t hurt too bad but definitely scared the $#!+ out of me.
What’s the best way to not look like a kooky tourist in all these foreign counties?
Well, you probably shouldn’t walk through London wearing American flag Chubbies, a baggy tank top and have a camera hanging around your neck, or ask someone “How do you say _____ in Austrian?” But sadly, I’ve seen them both.
Who is the best person to have as a travel partner?
Other than my girlfriend/filmer? I would probably have to say Aaron Gunn. He is always down to ride any set up and get creative on it. He is also always up for anything off the water – from working out, to going to the movies, to skating through cities – We always stay busy. But the best part is having another rider that is so driven to create content and also knows how to film and edit. Together we seem to create more content than I can even post.
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Of course, my family, friends, and my beautiful girlfriend. They keep me sane through my travels and encourage me in the times when things can get stressful and hard. Jobe Watersports for making what I do possible and providing the best product. And most importantly, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for being there every step of the way and perfectly orchestrating everything to get me where I am today.