Dane Wilson

A Life With Water

The Beginnings
From a young age I have been very active and pursued many different types of sports and physical activities. I played soccer, baseball, and lacrosse. I skateboarded, rode mountain bikes, and even played a little football and ultimate Frisbee. Regardless of how good I got at these other sports or how much I loved the different activities I always loved sailing over the other possibilities. I started sailing when I was just five years old. The first time was on my Dad’s Cal 20, a small family cruising boat. We would take the boat out almost every week and sail around on Lake Casitas with my Dad, my brother and myself. It was some of the most fun I’ve had sailing. I would feel lost out on the lake. It all seemed so huge. It felt like it would take forever to get around the small island in the center of the lake. It was all an adventure for me. We would come home after dark, wearing ski clothing to try and stay warm in the winter, we did a bit of fishing, and a little bit of falling over board. It was the start to my sailing career and why I still sail today.

Oceans Near and Far
As I grew older and moved to more advanced boats, I started to travel more and more and have new and richer experiences. When I just started racing in the US Sabot, we would travel a couple hours drive down to King Harbor, Alamitos Bay or Westlake to race. These trips seemed like we were so far from home and that they were such huge trips. Then we started sailing Optis and it was another ball game altogether. In the beginning our trips were just further up and down the West coast, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, but soon bigger and better things would arrive. My first out of state regatta was Opti Nationals held in Wisconsin on Lake Minnetonka with 400 plus competitors. We had to travel by plane, charter a boat, and stay with a host family. How crazy was that? Then my next big shock was competing in the United States Team Trials where I qualified for a spot to go to Belgium and sail in the European Championships as part of the United States Sailing Team. I was so excited and a little nervous. I was in another country and sailing against people who did not speak my language and didn’t have the same traditions. From that trip forward my sailing life expanded significantly. Since then I’ve traveled on my own all over the world and have loved every minute of being on the water. My brother and I started counting the oceans and lakes we’ve sailed and the count is pretty remarkable from Cyprus in the Mediterranean to the Baltic Sea, Atlantic and our home on the Pacific. Pretty great gift, sailing.

Life in the Water
As long as I can remember I’ve been drawn to the water. I spent days at the beach surfing, body surfing, sailing and now kite surfing. Something about the water calms me and makes me feel relaxed. If I’m away from the water it doesn’t matter where I am, or the person I’m with, or the thing that I’m doing, I am always missing the water. It’s home for me.

Dane in his element…

Dane in his element

Dane loving the Indian Ocean