Self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie Dixie Smith is one of the only two girls on UF’s nationally competitive wakeboarding team.
The 20-year-old was also the only woman from UF who competed in the Red Bull Rivals competition at the Orlando Watersports Complex on April 4.
She serves as president of the UF Wakeboard Club and president of Wahines of the Waves, an all-female extreme sports club.
“I’m an advocate for women being represented in extreme sports,” Smith said. “I don’t think that we should be belittled.”
The biology senior, who is graduating this May, has earned herself some respect in the wakeboard scene over the past three years.
In landlocked Gainesville, she is allotted only 15 to 20 minutes to practice wakeboarding on Lake Wauburg once a week.
“It’s definitely not nearly as often as I would like,” she said. “I could wakeboard all day, every day. By the end of 15 minutes, I’m just getting warmed up.”
Smith’s ability to balance extends beyond her wakeboarding abilities.
Her daily routine consists of attending classes in the morning, followed by volunteering as an orthodontics assistant at UF Health Shands Hospital, going to various meetings, working out at CrossFit and then heading home to study.
The busy soon-to-be graduate said she wants to take a year off after graduation before buckling down.
“I’m just trying to travel the world, get experience in the dental field and do as much as I can to live life to the fullest before I get serious with dental school,” she said.
Smith, who is heavily invested in the wakeboard club, said she thinks it will be in good hands once she graduates.
“I’m convinced that our members are the best members in the world,” she said.
Heather Bouchard, a biology freshman, who serves as wakeboard club historian, said Smith inspires her to work hard and get more involved.
“She puts her all into wakeboarding,” Bouchard, 19, said. “Whenever we do something, she wants it to be the best and as big as it can be.”
Both women credit the organization with making them feel more comfortable while being away from home.
Bouchard is from Massachusetts and said the club helped introduce her to a lot of great people.
Smith is from a town on Florida’s coast called Tequesta.
“I was afraid at first because I was away from home and the ocean, but UF Wakeboard Club taught me how to enjoy lake life,” she said.
[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 4/14/2015]
Dixie Smith, a 20-year-old UF biology senior, performs a wakeboard stunt on Lake Wauberg.