The Legend Award is arguably the biggest honor a wakeboarder can receive. Created at the inception of the Wake Awards to honor those who paved the way and had the biggest impact on the sport, the list of winners is a who’s who of wakeboarding. And it is not awarded annually. In fact, it is only given out when the time is right. Since 2004, the list of winners now includes the following: Scott Byerly, Shaun Murray, Darin Shapiro, Parks Bonifay, Zane Schwenk, Erik “Gator” Lutgert, Greg Nelson, Thomas Horrell, Gregg Necrason, Cobe Mikacich and Randall Harris. For 2019, we at Wakeboarding felt it was time to add another member to this esteemed club, and one name in particular deserved it.
Let’s cut around the semantics and superlatives of Danny Harf’s career and just call it like it is: one of the most influential and successful in history. Simply put, you could make the argument that Danny is the best all-around wakeboarder ever. Beyond the basic checklist of wakeboarding career accolades like contest results, media coverage and progressive riding (which he has in spades), Danny has been an influencer unlike any other. Fans and fellow pros alike followed his lead for over a decade because he was much more than just the best. His style set trends, his pro-model boards have been top sellers year in and year out, and his easygoing personality attracts fans across all spectrums. Based on accomplishments and impact alone, Danny could have won the Legend Award back in 2010, but he was still at the top of the game, still pushing the sport to unbelievable heights, and still yet to release some of his most impactful video parts, including “Defy” and “Prime.” We had to wait for Danny to slow down enough to get the Legend Award, even though he’d long already been a legend in wakeboarding.
This highlight reel, created by none other than acclaimed videographer Sean Kilgus of BFY Films, sums up Danny’s career for what it truly is: unbelievable.
“I’ve known Danny long enough and competed against him in so many different things, and hands down, he is the most clutch individual I have ever met. If you’ve left even a small window open for Danny to beat you, he will.”—Parks Bonifay
“Danny was like a thoroughbred. The dude was fast, agile and strong as hell—but always so passive and calm off the water. During the days of the big rail stunts, I never saw him appear to be fearful. I always admired his confidence, and then his willingness to laugh off an intense moment with his goofy chuckle.”—Josh Letchworth
“‘Style’ is an interesting thing in wakeboarding, and one of the most difficult things to define is what makes good style. More importantly, style can and will vary from one definer to the next. But there’s one thing about Danny that nearly every person watching him ride will say: He makes wakeboarding look good.When I first saw him ride, he was 15 years old at the most, and I thought, Now, that kid gets it. He naturally makes wakeboarding look good. I can’t tell you how he does it, but for many years, he’s been one of my staple answers to the question I get asked often: Who’s your favorite rider to watch? And I know I’m not the only one with that answer.”—Shaun Murray
“When I think of Danny’s overall impact on wakeboarding, I think of the trends he set and the jaw-dropping moves: new wrapped tricks, backside off axis spins, double flips, and on down the line. As Danny rode, the rest of professional wakeboarding followed. For over a decade, Danny was at the forefront of the sport, and we were all happy to be along for the ride, because nobody else rode like Danny.”—Garrett Cortese
Danny’s résumé is way too long to fit into this special print issue, especially if we include his victories and accomplishments from his years in the Boys’ and Junior Men’s divisions, but we figured we’d come up with some of his biggest hits as a pro.
Pro Wakeboard Tour Rookie of the Year
Wake Awards—Best Wakeboarder
Pro Wakeboard Tour—Overall Champion
Rider of the Year—Alliance Wake
Wake Awards—Best Video Part: “Counterfeit This”
Wake Awards—Best Wakeboarder
Wake Awards—Trick of the Year: switch heelside 1080
Wake Awards—Best Video Part: “Drive”
Wake Awards—Trick of the Year: switch toeside 1260
Wake Awards—Best Video Part: “Out of the Pond”
Wake Awards—Best Video Part: “Defy”