http://mpora.com/videos/3t78JXXLn The term 'comeback' always comes with a bit of skepticism, does it not? Spice Girls, Michael Schumacher and Take That (shudder) have all given it a go, with varying degrees of success. When it comes to the first male snowboarder to qualify for the Winter Olympics, there was always a chance Dan Wakeham would become the next Eddie the Eagle. They fly once, we all go 'Oooh, in't he good?' and then they pitter away into nothingness before they've reached the bottom of the slope. Fortunately for us, after several years away from the sport we all knew he loves, Dan Wakeham has defined the perfect comeback. But Christ, don't call it a comeback.
Well i am close to hitting 30 years old. I have had a good life as a pro snowboarder but never hit the top. Have been close at times but blame it on what you will. Lack of funding, no real coaching program like many other national teams have. But a few years away gave me an urge to get back and push for myself. Not for any brand, sponsor or ranking. Just for satisfying my own personal need.
In 2009 Dan, along with British Freestyle Snowboard Team coach, Hamish McKnight decided what was best was to put their knowledge and experiences to great use by founding One Snowboarding. Together they set up training camps for budding British snowboarders on an invite-only basis, finding the young talent of tomorrow through talent scouts and videos of themselves riders sent in. Now also in charge of the Junior GB team, Wakeham and the rest of the One team have made the most of the Burton European Open by heading over and slicing up the slopes in Laax, Switzerland. Can't be wasting a perfectly good halfpipe now, can we?
Here's a sweet video of one of Wakeham's promising pupils Joe Howard pulling off one of his first double backs:
After the success of One Snowboarding and the GB Junior team, Wakeham's started his own blog, reporting the team's early warm-up over in Colorado, along with his own attempts at a tricky double cork: "I know im not the first person to do a double but its not something to be taken lightly. Its scary shit!"
He's clearly got his feet still if he can pull those off, and the industry hasn't forgotten him. O'Neill have signed the veteran boarder (don't call him that) to their outerwear team, which features top riders like Gian Simmen, Frederik Evensen and JJ Roux, providing a promising future for any boarder who's scared of getting a little older. We at Whitelines salute you, sir!
To follow the One Snowboarding blog, head on over to www.onesnowboarding.co.uk.