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"A boundary tester and lucky to have found sports."
Angel and Lew Shapiro along with their son, Jarrett, moved to Florida a few years before Darin was born in Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 25, 1973. Darin grew up riding a bike to school, skating ramps and flipping on trampolines. He even did back flips off the roof of the family’s house for kicks. He grew up, as he says: "a boundary tester and lucky to have found sports."
Water skiing started for Darin in 1984 at age 10, riding the cable park in Deerfield Beach. Every single day for three years his mom would drop him off at the park after school. He would have slept in the pro shop if they had let him.
At the age of 13 he was beginning to get into competitive water skiing when the manager of the cable park invited him to go ride with Mike Ferraro. Darin was always the worst one riding with him, also the newest and the youngest.
When HO skis manufactured the first Hyperlite board in 1991, Herb O'Brien sent Darin a board. Since he surfed most of his life, Darin was anxious to try it. He was hooked. Darin heard about the 1991 world championships in Hawaii and wanted to go with the offer of a free ticket. His parents let him take the trip, where he took second place behind Eric Perez.
After that, Ferraro, a few others and Darin started to think about what tricks were possible on a wakeboard. "I used to do a trick on my trick ski around corners of the cable park that we called a layout,” Darin recalls. “My friend Chet Raley kept telling me that I should try it behind the boat on my ski board. After I made it, I couldn't think of a better name than the "Air Raley."
With the development of wakeboarding, there was nothing to watch or study, you just had to do it. Darin invented tricks called the Speed Ball, Orbital and Orbital 540, but was most well-known for his S-bends, Vulcans, Front Flip to Blind and Tantrum to Blind. He is believed to be the only wakeboard athlete to ever land a double front flip off the double-up on the Pro Wakeboard Tour.
Darin retired from competition in 2004 at age 30 as the winningest rider in the history of the sport. He was known for charging the wake harder than any other wakeboard athlete. He was a six-time Pro Wakeboard Tour champion, four-time world champion; four time Masters' champion, three-time Big Air champion, three-time Wakestock champion, and a gold, silver and bronze medalist at the Gravity Games.
Darin was 36 at the time of his induction, residing in Orlando with his wife, Heather, and son, Kien, and working as the owner and operator of Ride the Spot wakeboard camp.