Dan Mill AKA The wild Apricot is a wake skater from Israel, he is one of the few riders that was in Australia during the pandemic along with Cameron Graham. Him and Mikayo Mundy link up to make this baller of a wake skate edit and we sent him some questions to see how he was doing.
FW - What was the first initial reaction to realizing that you were trapped in Aus or was that something you were planning to let happen since the start?
DM- I fell in Love with this place as soon as I got here in October 2019, but with the start of the Pandemic and My Visa running out in October 2020, I slowly realized that no matter where I go, it can’t get better than here and there’s definitely no returning to Australia soon if I leave. So then I released that if I do my rural work, I would be able to extend my work visa. Was a bit bummed that though some comps summer 2020 were still on around the world, I wouldn’t be able to go, also a bit scared because I’ve never been in the same country (including my own) for so long. In hindsight I’m so relieved that I didn’t hop on those last minute flights out as Australia and it’s people really got it right when it comes to COVID and combatting it. I think the compliance and the understanding that it’s for a greater good and that is what we need to do to keep our lifestyle, is the reason that COVID was barely felt here.
FW - How did getting trapped in Aus effect your riding?
DM- Oh man! Well I believe I’m super lucky that instead of going to work in a farm for rural work (and extend my stay), I went to work at one of the best parks I’ve been to- WakeHouse Australia that is in Mackay- which is considered rural. I’ve always hung out and travelled to parks but don’t think I’ve ever HAD to spend time in one, nor do I think I’ve stayed next to a park for so long! It was so much fun and learning about cable, and teaching wakeboarding enriches your riding so much! Riding everyday and with a crew that pushes you whether in Mackay or on the Sunshine Coast does wonders. My time in Mackay made me a lot more consistent and understanding of my riding through teaching it, came with a kick flip and the occasional FS/BS flip and left with like 6 new tricks so Im stoked. After Mackay I left to the Sunshine Coast which (in terms of Wake) reminds me of Orlando, 3 Parks in an hour and a half distance, heaps of winching spots and home parks, and tinnie sessions! So My time there expanded my view on all the different ways to ride, winched a lot more, more boat, and got to ride the legendary Blackspot! So I think my time there made me a lot more creative and open ended on what to do with a skate.
FW - what is your perspective on the scene in Australia compare to back home?
DM- Well about the scene, depends where in Australia, I surprised there are so little parks for a country with such major surf - skate - snowboard influence. In Israel, mostly when you say wake/waterski- people immediately go “ go like in Lake TLV” and they know it, here people need to see a video and an explanation and they probably don’t have access to it as easily, Israel is tiny and has one park, Aus is like 350 times bigger, population is like more than 3 times as much with 8 parks pretty far apart (with an exception to SC).. Also here there are scenes you don’t know about, there are creeks with rails to hit behind a jetskis on the Coast that no one but few know about. There are cables at people’s houses that no one knows about, all these secret scenes within Aus is something so sick and shows the potential for growth. In Israel you’re either at the cable, or lucky to have a non choppy day on the lake, maybe one winch roaming around somewhere.
FW - Who did you get Trapped with?
DM- Honestly speaking came here on my own, was lucky enough to have Cam Graham who also can’t really leave around the Sunny Coast and I have someone that feels what it’s like. But have to say I feel super fortunate to make the friends that never made me feel alone and in fact now I’m feeling super at home! BIG BIG BIG shoutout to the WakeHouse and Bli Bli crews, to the Howdys and the Mundy Family!
FW - Favorite spot to ride and favorite bar to hit?
DM - Honestly can’t answer that haha, if Im on my board with a good crew Im happy but TWP has a special spot in my heart along with Wakehouse and Valdosta! A fair few of personal firsts happened at each! Also, anywhere with cheap cocktails will do the job.
FW - New wakeskate sponsorship, tell us more!
DM - So when I was in Valdosta in early 2019, was trying BS flips for days! Trav Doran and Jake Ramsdell were there and said try a Leaf board, used to be not the biggest fan of wooden boards but they told me to give it a go. First lap on it I was hooked! All my tricks, rail hits, butters, was just out of this world. Landed my first BS flip in like 3 tries on that board and ordered one the next day. One night around the fire I asked Jake how do I get sponsored/noticed, he said “make a badass edit”, that stuck with me! I was occasionally tagging Leaf Skates on IG, and was put on the team while filming this! Beyond stoked! They’re all hand made and the thing is unbreakable. I’ve broken a fair few wake skates over the years and I put my first Leaf board through some hectic situations, but the thing is so bullet proof!
FW - Vegemite or Hummus
DM - Is that even a question?! Can take the Israeli out of Israel but can’t take Israel out of the Israeli!
FW - Future plans?
DM - Well I just moved to Sydney and am saving up for a winch! Really wanna get more into winching and riding behind the boat now that I live far from a cable. Just got my working rights extended so pretty stoked, Australia is the place to be!