Tara received so many questions, we decided to put up two rounds of Hot Seat answers so she could get to as many as possible. If you still don’t see your question and an answer from Tara below, look in the March edition of Snowboard Life (out in January).
Q. I guess I’d like to start by saying that it is very cool of you to correspond with fans like this, and also I am truly humbled by your skillz. The bio I just read on the Web site refers to you as the “it” girl of snowboarding, and I’ve heard countless similar descriptions elsewhere. Do such lofty expectations cause you any distress? If so, how do you overcome contest anxiety? Do you do the whole visualization/meditation thing, or do you just chill and go for it? My other question has to do with an article I saw. It was regarding all of the injuries you’ve sustained as a result of snowboarding (damn girl you’re tough). At any point did you become discouraged and/or reconsidered your chosen career path? I know personally that shit sucks–I’ve broken my clavicle, as well as both arms, and I’ve had a herniated disk in my back since I was fifteen (I’m 25 now). Sometimes I get discouraged, but I can’t stop riding and skating–it’s like I’m driven by some strange outside force. Okay, I’m done. Thanks for your time.–Tony Carey
Okay, Tony, one at a time. Contest anxiety and people’s expectations, well, I take it as it comes. I ignore a lot of it, like the chatter in my head. It doesn’t do me any good to think about things like that, so I don’t–I just focus on what I’m doing at that particular moment. What people don’t understand is that I’m the same person I am now as when I was struggling to get sponsored, except I’m probably more fired up about snowboarding now then I ever have been, and that’s all that matters. When I compete I get quiet. I make decisions on what tricks to pull, see it in my head, breath and do it like I’ve done it a thousand times before. As for injuries, they suck. I don’t like to think about that either. I couldn’t stop, just like you said you can’t–It’s what I do. I get discouraged by pain, so I have to make myself stronger. I don’t think about doing anything else right now but I think about what I’ll do when I’m done, because I will be, one day, but not anytime soon. What will help is constant upkeep–like stretching, vitamins, sleep and lots of water. The force is there, and I guess I’m just going with it.
Q. If you could set up a show with two bands (dead/alive, broken up, from another era, whatever) who would you want to see?–Don Gunn, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Don, that’s a damn good questions. Let’s see. Sex Pistols for sure, and either Jimi Hendrix, Zeppelin, or Black Sabbath. There’s too many. Or wait, how about Pink Floyd and Nirvana … and Sex Pistols. That’s a tough one.
Q. I think you’re a great snowboarder and I love watching your parts. I just wanted to ask what do you think of the Sims team taking a whole other team (World) and adding it to theirs. If Sims is going to be like Forum, does that mean that you’re going to come with dreads and a bandana next year?
P.S. What do you think the “trick” will be next year?–Sk8ar316
Like you think I wasn’t gonna bust that shizz. I’m workin’ on my locks right now. And Sims didn’t take anyone. Those boys are old enough to make their own decisions. As far as I’m concerned I’m stoked. We all flow real well together as a team and having to travel the world together, that’s important. We all skate for the most part and we all just flow. Sims has been established for a long time, that’s what’s cool–the roots. And like anything that’s been around a while, it goes through times of being stale. But that time is done and established. Sims is now reestablished. The trick? Nollie take offs everywhere, switch 1080’s and wall rides everywhere.
Q. What’s up, hot stuff? I already know you’re a bad ass snowboarder but I want to know how well and often you ride dirt bikes and what you ride. Looks like a Honda CR 250 to me. Any way keep having fun but be careful, I wouldn’t want to see you hurt that gorgeous face.–Simon
Hey baby. You’re off on the ride. I have a Suzuki RM 125. I was on a roll of getting’ on it for a while but these days I spend my time skateboarding and surfing. Love the water. When I did ride, I spent a lot of time in the dirt, bending bars and breaking stuff–it was great. I might get back into it later, who knows. Thanks for the words.
Q. Tara you are the best! Not only are you one foxy lady, but you rip it up too! You are doing wonders for the sport and I was just wondering where you see women’s snowboarding going in the next couple of years?–Jeff
Hey Jeff. In the next couple years there’s gonna be foxy ladies ripping all over the place! Seriously, I see it only getting better. I think it’s inevitable! Thanks for your words–you’re sweet.
Q. Hi Tara, I have an eleven-year-old little girl who has been riding for eight years. I am an old school rider from the Northwest–I started riding in 1986. My question is this: At what age do you think I should let her start competing? She’s a solid rider, and really enjoys snowboarding. I don’t want the competition scene to distract her love of powder riding and having a good time. We live at Mt hood, and she gets to ride between 45-70 days a year. Thanks for your time.–Tim Miller
Hey, Tim. Wow, I can’t believe the super groms these days. They just get younger and younger. I think if competing is what she wants to do then there is some good small tour type things she can get into through, I think, the USSA or the USASA. Or at least they would probably know. Kids are amazing. I know Mammoth has a team of kids that age. They have days in the park, days in the pipe–like coaching style–and they make sure the kids have a day riding powder and the whole mountain, so they don’t get sucked into just park riding and then get bored. It’s what the kids want to do these days it seems–just ride park and pipe. I know I did. You may be old school, but parks and pipes are all over the place. It’s not a bad way to go and there are a lot of cool programs for kids that age out there. You sound like a cool dad and that you have a little charger on your hands. If competing is what she wants, I say feed the fire. I competed in several different sports but mostly gymnastics since I was seven. It was my nature–I wanted to train and compete. My parents never had to push me because it was what I wanted to do. I’m so glad I got into the sports I did at a young age and that my parents helped me with what I knew I wanted to do. Hope that helps, and good luck.
Q. Hey Tara, do you have a boyfriend?–Brad from Canada
To Brad from Canada: not at the moment. In fact I haven’t had one in sometime now. Why, you have someone in mind for me? Busy, busy!
Q. I know I don’t turn sixteen ’til New Year’s day but I think you should just give me a chance. The way you ride just turns me on so much–to the point I just know we’re going to get married. Well I know you won’t marry me but, uuhhhh, what the f–k? You look hot on the back page of that new TransWorld, too. I think you should talk to Santa Cruz about them hooking you up with a contract. They’re so much better than Sims–trust me, I’ve owned one Sims deck and four Santa Cruz. Well I don’t know what the point of this was but let’s go ride if you’re in Utah.–Boardpunk
To my fifteen-year-old cutie with no name. By the way you write I can tell your gonna be a straight lady killa, the girls are gonna be all over you. Good try but your a little young, why don’t you call me in about ten years. I’ve got two Sims boards I’m designing to my likening this year so I’m pretty set but thanks for the info. Sims makes some seriously high quality boards, you just have
to make sure you pick the right one for your size and what style terrain you want to ride. By the way, I plan on spending a good amount of time in Utah this year–who knows maybe we’ll run into each other.
Below are the first wave of Q & A:
Tara Dakides has a few fans out there. Out of the gazillion questions that spilled in for Tara, this is how they broke down: Thirteen wanted to tell Tara how much she rules, nine wanted to go on some kind of date–snowboarding or otherwise, nine also wanted to tell her how beautiful she is, eight wanted trick tips, seven of you wanted to know about sponsorship, four proposed marriage, three asked where she’s from, and someone wanted info for an English report. Others ranged from “Are you a pyro?” “What kind or music do you like?” to “Are you a bitch?” and so on and so forth. Wow. You guys are keeping me busy. Read the following to get a little insight into Taraworld, and look out for Round Two in a few days.–Jardine Hammond
What is the most recent trick you learned?–Kirkos
What up, Kirkos? The latest is a backside rodeo. I’ll be working on bringing it to seven this winter and some other trickity tricks for sure.
Where can I check out some of your poetry?–Chris
Nowhere. I keep it safe in my journal. Every now and then when a brighter one comes around, I’ll let it go. My last one published was in my TWS check out years ago. I’m always writing though, so I may have some words out soon.
Who personally has pushed your level of riding? What do you notice in a guy you find interesting?–Anonymous
Myself, and all my boyz who constantly support me and basically make me do shit, whether I like it or not. As for the interesting guy thing, I usually fall for the funny personality things. Looks only go so far, ya know what I mean?
How do you get the courage to go so big and try new tricks? Keep it real. Thanks.–Andrew
Sometimes I think it’s just straight stupidity. Other times it’s my “I can do anything” complex, and besides, it’s in the contract–I might get fired if I don’t!
Hey, Tara. Well I must say you are so incredibly pretty. I think you are so much prettier than all of those supermodel girls, so I was just wondering, seeing as how you would blow all of them out of the water, would you ever model? Bye, beautiful.–Mike
You definitely know how to flatter a girl. I’ve never given it any thought, but thanks. I’ve got too many scars from skating (mostly) to go that path, anyway.
Yo, you throw down some real sick backside rodeos, is that trick hard or what? I figure I’ll try one sometime this year, just looking for some pointers. Whatever you’ve got to throw my way, I’d appreciate.–Big Lukedawg
What’s the haps Big Dawg? I’ll throw some shizz your way. When you go off the lip, roll–and I mean roll, off your heals. Curl tight and look to the sky. I’d say pray, but that trick’s not all that hard so you’ll be fine. Just pick a soft spot. Go build a small kicker somewhere, and you got it.
Statement: your womanly charms arrest me. Your unique and timeless beauty lifts my soul to heights unattainable by mere plebeians, rendering me helpless in your gaze. I dare not continue in this vein for risk of baring myself too openly, but I must add that your riding destroys all preconceived notions and inspires a playing field devoid of gender separation. He who knows that not is truly a fool.
what I would like to know is, do you have male groupies following you wherever you go? How do you deal with their pathetic come-ons: do you blow them off, or do you put them in their place like the like the superior female snow warrior that you are?–Spaceminer
could I interest you in watching the sunrise over the golden sands of blissful eternity?
Dearest Spaceminer–Wow, you’re quite the wordsman. Your poetic skills have left me giggling through the halls of TransWorld. As far as pathetic come ons, if they’re stock, I merely give a yawn of boredom and blow them into infinity. Thus, them being more of an intriguing approach, I may not destroy them immediately with my snow warrior weapons. As far the golden sands of blissful eternity–how about I’ll meet you there. You’re a charm and thank you.
When did you decide to show up all the guys in snowboarding? You rule. One of the best parts in Amp for sure. For a minute I thought that you were Michalchuck. Huge.–Scott
Thanks for the love Scott. Hugs right back at cha. As for showing up the guys thing, I still got a ways to go, but I’m working on it, you can count on that.
Q. Tara, you’re the coolest female rider around, not to mention that nice ass. Will you marry me? I always wanted to marry a snowboarder chic. We could rip it up everyday. You could teach me all of your cool moves and then we could go back to the condo and I could teach you all of mine … I’ll stop there–you can imagine. Anyway, keep rippin’ it up.–Trevor
Trevor baby, first of all where’s this condo at–you know a girl’s got to be set up? And another thing, I’ve got this crazy imagination, so I hope you can keep up. XOXO.
Q. Just wanted to say that you are amazing … will you marry me?–Braden
You’re cute. Thanks and I’ll think about it.
Tara, my name is Neil Bunker, I’m 14. I like to skateboard, wakeboard, and snowboard. I live in Manchester, New Hampshire with my mom. I’ve tried to reach you at Athletes Direct, but you never wrote back, so I figured that I would try this. This is probably the corniest letter I’ve ever written so I hope that they don’t put it in the magazine. I’m writing you because I absolutely love you, have since ’95, and would love to meet you. If there were any way that I could, I would be there in a second. Even if I had to fly to Cali. So if you could write back that would be the best. Thanks.–Neil
Neil, I’m sorry about the Athlete Direct thing. I’m not too up to date on it, but I’m glad you reached me here. My schedule these days leaves me at home for usually no longer then five to six days, and I never know where I’m going to be next. But I will be at the X-Games in Mt. Snow, Vermont, this year. We could possibly meet there. Listen, if you can make it to the X-Games then come find me, and we’ll take a run or something. Good luck, little buddy and thanks for the love. Smiles, T.
The following questions are from Sisi Blessud:
Do you think that girls are generally getting more into riding, or are they fading away?
Definitely getting into it more.
Are girls generally more just into buying the clothing and hanging around the guys than riding?
I’m sure some are, whatever floats your boat though, ya know? From my impressions, I see more and more girls taking riding to heart.
Do people expect you to know everything about anything when it comes to snowboarding?
People expect me to know everything about anything and everything.
Do you have any new sponsors?
Do you ride with girls or boys?
I’m not prejudiced–I ride with both. More often guys, though.
I hope you’ll do good and have fun, always!
Same to you.
Hi my name is Wind. I’m a sixteen-year-old Swedish snowboarder. You’re definitely my favorite girl snowboarder. I wonder how you became an elite snowboarder? Isn’t it hard to try new tricks? You must be a little bit crazy to do the tricks the first time. When I first started to do flips I was very sca
red. How does it come that you, a girl, can do all the crazy things that boys can do? My English isn’t the best, but I hope you understand what I mean. You can answer my question in Swedish if you want. A hint–start with: hej, Wind. And when you say goodbye, you say: hej da–The Real Swedish Meatball!
What’s up?–oh wait, hej. Well, me being a girl and yes probably partially crazy, I don’t think about the differences between men and women when it comes to riding. In somewhat of a strange sounding way, I’m neither, I just am, and I want to learn as much as I can. I feel comfortable upside down. All the years I spent in gymnastics helps too. Later, Meatball.
Tara, I’ve seen Amp and read Four Girls I’ve Never Kissed, in the March 2000 issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding, and basically found that you are awesome. I’ve been boarding for about two years and I’m ready to step-it-up–like contests and stuff. When in a contests (best trick or slope style) do judges look for style or big super-crazy airs? Or both? And also, does it help a lot to be sponsored when getting into contests? Or does it really matter? Thank you.–Emory
Hey, Emory. It always helps to be sponsored, ’cause of all the free shizz, but if you’re not, contests are a good way to get some recognition–especially if you do well. As for judging, to me it’s always about the style. That’s what separates you from the rest, ya know what I mean? Good luck.
Tara, I just wanted to tell you that you are one of my favorite riders and obsessions. You have it all–mad skills on the mountain and you ain’t missing anything in the looks department either (I’m not trying to be sexist, I think you’re beautiful). How much time do you spend in Mammoth during the season? I know you live there, but do you travel or do you get to ride there a lot? I ride there, but have never gotten to see you ride in person. Keep up those sick tricks. Peace.–Steve Miller
Mista Miller–I don’t feel like I get to spend much time at home, and probably the reason you don’t see me is because I like to sleep in a lot when I am home. But I’m there. Mammoth is my favorite place to be in the spring, because it’s always sunny, soft, slushy style, and the park and pipes are all-time. I’m there a lot at that time. Where are you? See ya, maybe, and thanks.
Tara, my seven-year-old son has a real interest in competing this year. What would you suggest we do as far as getting into competition? How did you get started and at what age? Any advice you might have? Thanks.–E.
Wow, that’s cool you’re so supportive. I didn’t start competing until I was about eighteen and I started out slow–meaning I did fun little contests here and there at my local mountains. We have a lot more tours and things around now. You can probably find out a lot online. Try contacting the USASA or the USSA if you’re serious. That’s a good question for Shaun White. Hope that helps, and good luck.