Wakeboarding club president is quite the ?Bright? dude

Marshall Hampson

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Sacramento State’s Wakeboarding Club has a national champion leading it. His name is Dan Bright.

Bright, who became the club’s president this year, came to Sac State for the same reason a lot of students do – an education. He also came to the school to wakeboard.

Bright, a senior business marketing major, said one of the reasons he came to Sac State was to be a part of the wakeboard club. He has wakeboarded for a majority of his life.

“I started wakeboarding when I was about 7 years old,” he said. “My parents were really into boating and waterskiing. And basically when the sport started, they picked me up a little board and threw me out there.”

As Bright grew older and started learning more tricks, the wakeboard industry started to notice Bright’s ability. At the age of 17, he landed his first sponsor with Hyperlite Wakeboards.

Hyperlite Wakeboard Designer and Marketing Manager Greg Nelson said the company picked up Bright because of his talent and character.

“His riding is insane and his personality is even better,” Nelson said. “We work with people who have good personalities. You need to be great on the water, but you also need to have a shining personality.”

Bright receives brand new wakeboards as part Hyperlite’s sponsorship and said he loves the fact he represents the company.

“Right when I picked up my first sponsor, I realized I can go somewhere with this,” he said. “It was cool. Just to have a label on you that you ride for this company is an exciting feeling.”

Bright has recently been sponsored by Empulse Clothing and Off-Axis Boardshop. He began riding in contests in 2005 and was part of the Sac State wakeboard team that made it to the Collegiate National Championship in 2008.

Bright said gusty winds during the 2008 Wakeboard Collegiate National Championship, held in Colorado, almost led officials to stop the competition.

The finals consisted of eight riders who were all looking for a shot at being the Collegiate National Champion. But on that day, Bright was crowned the 2008 Wakeboard Collegiate National Champion.

“I was probably mid-pack. I wasn’t the best guy there by all means,” Bright said. “The choppy water leveled the playing field for everybody. I guess I was the one that put down the best run on that given day.”

Not only did the win give Bright the title of national champion, but in the same year, he also placed first in the Delta Riders Association Tournament. Bright’s sponsor was pleased with his multiple wins throughout the year.

“It’s great for Sac State, it’s great for Hyperlite and wakeboarding in general,” Nelson said. “College wakeboarding doesn’t get a whole lot of financial support to begin with and the athletes are doing every thing because it’s what they love to do.”

Jenni Quincy, freshman recreation, parks and tourism major, joined the wakeboard club this year and said Bright has been a mentor to her.

“Dan definitely has taught me how to love what I accomplish, be it small or large,” Quincy said. “He always tells me that if I crash hard, that just means that I am trying to do something amazing.”

Quincy gets on the boat three times a week with Bright and witnesses his skills firsthand.

“I think Dan is an amazing wakeboarder. He is a lot of fun to watch ride,” she said. “To see someone as good as he is trying to land a trick and succeed, definitely gives other riders, like myself, hope that it is possible.”

Bright made it back to the 2009 Collegiate National Championship, but lost in the semifinals to Hank Carter of the University of Texas.

Bright usually competes individually. However, he said he enjoys trying to make everyone who is involved in the club a better wakeboarder.

“It comes down to that moment when they actually learn it,” Bright said. “We spend a day, a week, a month trying this new trick and I’m helping them do everything I can. The day that they actually land that new trick or learn that new skill is very rewarding.”

As Bright continues to ride for Hyperlite and operate the Sac State wakeboarding club, Quincy said the passion he has for wakeboarding is his most important quality.

“He gives off a great vibe on the boat,” Quincy said. “A real wakeboarder has to love the water, love what they can do on the water and share with others that love. Dan does it all.”

Marshall Hampson can be reached at mhampson@statehornet.com