Dan Wakeham, the first British male snowboarder to compete at the Winter Olympic Games, has today (19 May) announced his retirement.
The 27 year old from Plymouth has been riding with the British Snowboard Team since 2002 and is one of Britain’s most successful snowboarders, recording numerous top ten results at World Cup level.
Wakeham commented “After a lot of serious thought, I have decided to retire from World Cup snowboarding. At the end of each season for the last few years I have wanted to quit, but people always seem to talk me into staying with promises of funding and sponsorship".
“I have a solid CV and I have had some job interviews. It will be refreshing to start a new project and I am keen to get a job with stability and a regular income. I want to work in the extreme sports industry and I would like to stay closely connected to the snowboard world”.
“I am not quitting snowboarding. My sponsors are cool with my decision and I will continue to represent them. I’m not going to lose my skills overnight, I'll still be able to throw down some hammers for a few more years and I plan to still go on photo shoots, trips and events such as the Brits - you never know I might win the masters competition. What I am saying is I'm not just going to drop off the radar”.
“As they say ‘when you’re done you’re done’”.
“Finally, I’d like to thank all my sponsors and to people who have helped get me where I am today but especially Nick Atkins and the guys at Kaos”.
Referring to Wakeham’s decision to retire, John O’Grady, Snowboard Director for SnowsportGB commented “Dan is an inspirational rider who by doing what he does has encouraged those around him to push themselves harder and raise their goals. He has had some fantastic results and will go down in history as Britain’s first Olympic male snowboarder. We wish him well in his career and I suspect we will see a lot more of him in the future even if he isn't competing”.
Leo Addington, British World Cup Half Pipe Team coach also commented “It was great to have had Dan involved in the World Cup Halfpipe Team. He will be missed both on and off the hill, by the team and the association. He was a leader and inspirer. Good luck in his future endeavours and we hope to continue to see him achieve further success in snowboarding and in life.”
Wakeham burst onto the British Snowboard Team in the 2002/2003 season at the age of twenty having only started riding at fourteen. Within two years he was crowned Europa Cup Champion – the first Brit to win this title across any snowsport discipline.
He has had much success on the World Cup Halfpipe tour, his best performance being fifth in Leysin, Switzerland in January 2006. Further to that he had an additional two top ten results, one of which was at the World Cup Finals in Valmalenco, Italy in 2008 and eight top twenty World Cup results.