Dena Sodano is a pioneer in street freestyle, leading the way for a talented crop of women who have found a niche in what, until recently, was considered a sport for men. Her stunting skills have earned her two consecutive XDL Championship titles, a growing list of sponsors, and support from fans who want to see what she’ll do next.
For the past four years, Sodano has been honing her freestyle skills. When the XDL Championship Series–the premier freestyle competition series in the U.S.–added a class for women, Sodano was there for the inaugural round. That 2010 season opener in Daytona resulted in a win for Sodano.
That weekend, Sodano says, is her most memorable competition to date. “That was pretty cool because I had never won a competition, and to finally get some acknowledgement was pretty cool,” she says.
One win wasn’t enough for Sodano. During the rest of the 2010 season, she rode her Kawasaki 636 to a second-place finish in L.A. and another win in Indianapolis. Her skills and consistency resulted in the championship.
The 2011 XDL season was even better: Sodano won the women’s freestyle class at Daytona, Nashville and Indianapolis to earn her second consecutive championship.
While the championship trophies identify her as the best, Sodano says there is always room for improvement. “I’m always getting ideas from watching the other guys,” Sodano says. “I make a list of things I want to learn for next season. I try to get out as much as I can, and now that I’m in Florida it’s nice to be able to ride all year. I try to take small breaks, too, so I don’t get burned out. I try to have fun with it, because if you don’t, you get sick of it.”
Sodano’s freestyle skills are self-taught. She says, “I rode with a group of guys and saw them messing around on the streets. I wanted them to teach me but nobody would. I started teaching myself a bit here and there, and it turned into this!”
Now, Sodano has a growing list of sponsors, including Galfer USA, Shinko Tires, Racing 905, Speed & Strength and Sartso Jeans. And what does she use those Galfer brakes to stop for? As it turns out, freestyle is the only passion Sodano has time to pursue. She works full-time at a behavioral health hospital, but says that she squeezes in trips to the beach when she can.
Sodano’s advice to other women who want to freestyle is, “We all had to start somewhere. If you want to do it, go for it and do it!” As for her own freestyle career, she promises bigger and better things next year.
“I hope everyone is looking forward to seeing something that a girl hasn’t done yet!” she says.
We’re definitely looking forward to it.