Dustin O’Ferrall is one of the nicest, most laid-back shredders. I had the privilege of meeting him when we lived together for a month on sketchy Lake Howell in Orlando, Florida. There I learned that Dusty has nothing but a positive attitude and just wants to get gnarly. Whether it be on snow or on water, he rips. After taking the Men’s 1 (19-24) WWA world title and winning the amateur crown at Wakestock, he’s constantly pushing his skills, earning a spot on the Canadian national development team for wakeboarding and on the British Columbia provincial team for snowboarding.
How did you get into wakeboarding?
I’ve been wakeboarding for about six or seven years, and before that I’d gone a couple times each summer behind friends’ boats and such in the summer. I got into it for the first time when my family used to rent a little cabin out on the west side of Lake Okanagan [BC]. My buddy, Conner [Korberg], had a boat we used to go out in and mess around waterskiing. His dad came home with a rented wakeboard one afternoon, and we all took turns learning how to get up and stuff. But it was when my parents got a boat later on and I started riding out on Woods Lake at JD Wakeboard School, taking lessons and stuff, that I really got into it.
Were you bummed at the end of the summers because you had to wait another eight months before you could ride?
For sure, I was bummed. That’s all I wanted to do in summer. And because it’s such a short season, that made me want to do it more. I eventually got a drysuit, and that extended things for a bit, but as soon as it was too cold to have the boat in the water, we had to pull it out to winterize it. But the good thing to look forward to was snowboard season; that pretty much gets rolling around the end of November.
What about school? Any plans on going to college?
I’m definitely planning on furthering my education. I have a few ideas and things I’m interested in. I wanted to wait until our road trip was over before I applied for anything or made any decisions.
What sort of ideas did you have in mind?
I’m strongly considering an electrical apprenticeship, or possibly some web and design stuff. I’m pretty good with computers and electronic shit. I’m a big nerd when it comes to that stuff, so it’s right up my alley.
How many times have you been knocked out while wakeboarding and snowboarding?
Twice on snow and twice on water.
Is that why you’re so smart?
Well, it probably doesn’t help much for anything.
Your résumé from last season is impressive. How do you feel after taking the amateur division at Wakestock, then going on to take the Men’s 1 WWA world title?
Pretty good. I mean, I was riding the best I had ever ridden around the time of those two comps, for sure. I’d been riding lots in the summer and I put together some solid runs, so it all paid off for those events.
What does next year hold? Will we see you at any of the Pro Tour stops, Nationals or Wakestock?
I’m going to make it to Wakestock again this year, for sure. It’s just such an awesome event, so much fun and tons going on. I’m going to go to Nationals, and I’m going to try and make it out to the first Pro Tour event. I’m really looking forward to the shred season this year; it’s going to be fun.
Do you feel a lot of pressure to progress in contests?
For sure. I just want to keep progressing, learn new tricks, grab differently, and sort of keep things going. I try not to think about contest passes and such all that much, but in the back of my mind they’re always there. I love freeriding and trying to hit lines so it can keep things consistent for contests.
Where do you freeride and with whom?
I ride on Lake Okanagan in the Vernon end, usually with Matt Bibby, Jessie Schipfel, and a few other local guys: Todd [Munroe], Kim [Henderson] and [Matt] Peterson. We have a pretty good crew. Everyone is so pumped to ride all the time, and we all pitch in to build rails that we have hidden on the lake. Okanagan is such a massive lake and can be a complete gong show, even midweek, but the Vernon end is so good because we have a bunch of arms and some good lines to run almost all the time. I also ride out on Woods Lake a bunch with Bibby, and go to JD Wakeboard School to ride with Kris Killick. I learned so much from riding there; it’s a super-sick scene. And when I was growing up, [I got] to watch Steve McKinley, Jesse Finestone, Evan Stait, Chris Canuel and Kevin Henshaw when he was in town, the whole OGC boys. Watching them basically made me want to progress, to be able to ride like them. I learned a ton from Schipfel as well. Riding with him and Bib on Okanagan, pushing each other, it’s just rad.
What’s the rail setup like?
On Okanagan we built a Relentless-style jib. It’s 98 feet long. We also got a pretty dope A-frame that’s got two 30-foot up-slopes and a little seven-foot section in the middle, so it’s super fun. We’re building a flatbar out there this summer, so it will be a good line.
Is it hard to manage snowboarding and wakeboarding now that you’ve gotten serious with both?
I’ve been pretty lucky with both, just being able to shut off one in the off-season. This was the first year I actually had to make a decision with the Living the Dream road trip to stop snowboarding midseason and wakeboard. The past years I was able to basically shred on snow from November to April and start wakeriding when the local hills close and continue into the summer. I also work up at Silver Star Mountain in the Telus terrain park. It’s such a sick scene up there. Our park is just happenin’: sick rails, sick jumps. Look for it in the PARK CHECK in Snowboard Canada magazine. For me, it was kind of a big decision coming off a pretty good snow season last year, but I’m so pumped on what we were able to do with the road trip, and I’m not really dwelling on anything, so whatever. I’m just really stoked on where both sports have taken me so far, and how they benefit each other is good. I mean, I guess I’m serious with both, but I don’t think I would ever be able to just stop doing one.
When was the last time you showered?
Yesterday… the day before yesterday, yeah. I’ve been in the lake a lot.
How’s that been going for you?
It’s been really good. You, me and Bibby are just living five minutes down the highway from Henshaw’s place, so we’ve been shredding with him and James Balzer. The Saskatchewan crew is, like, 30 seconds away from there, so we’ve had a lot of people to ride with. It’s been fun.
What would your dream day be?
It would definitely be a sunny, warm, glass day on Okanagan in the summer, out where the rails are at so you could hit a nice wake line and a few jibs in there. You would be there, Bibby, Balzer, the whole Vernon crew, OGC, a fully loaded-down VLX, just shredding the lake.
Your eyes are different colours. Do they ever help you pick up ladies?
Not really. Doesn’t stand out that much.
Let’s get into some rapid fire: Favourite food?
Best moment in your wakeboarding career?
Landing a new trick.
Blonds or brunettes?
Respect for both.
Healthy food or junk?
Favourite wake videos?
Butter Effect, Incomplete, Metronome.
Most inspiring riders to watch?
Travis Parker, Steve McKinley, Danny Harf, Randy Harris… the list goes on. Too many for all the different styles of riding.
Gas or diesel?
Mac or PC?
Favourite video game?
Icy day on the hill or walter rollers on the water?
Icy, ’cause you can still hit jumps and you east-coasters can come over and be right at home.
High five or props?
Wake or rails?
First off, my parents. They have supported and helped me out so much. They have allowed me to pursue both snow and wake. From driving me to different places to ride growing up and helping out with funds or taking me for a pull behind the boat, I couldn’t do any of this if it wasn’t for them. They’ve always been there for me. My sponsors: Ronix, Lost clothing, Dragon, Jet Pilot, Malibu marine, Attridge Ski & Board Shop, Burton. All my family and friends, my sister, Stevo, Canuel and you for letting me stay in Florida with Kris Killick, Balzer, Bibby, Rathy, Jessie Schipfel, Todd Munroe, Derek Pankoff at Silver Star Mountain, all the riders who pioneered and push the sport, especially Jeff Heer for Canada. Everyone in the industry who makes it what it is, thanks.