Britain’s first male snowboarding Olympian, Dan has been riding the world cup halfpipe tour for the last 5 years of his life. There’s nobody on the planet more qualified to talk about what makes a great halfpipe board than Dan, especially as his opinions have evolved with his experience.
Dan Wakeham is a UK snowboarding legend. From snowless beginnings riding Plymouth’s bone yard (or dry ski slope to the locals) no one except Dan himself would have believed that he’d go on to become Britain first male snowboard Olympian. Dan didn’t just place; he achieved a very respectable 26th in the halfpipe at Torino, and made the whole nation proud as punch. Dan’s ridden more snowboards than you’ve had hot dinners and even had his own pro model, the Head Crown. Snowboard Review asked Dan what makes a smoking pipe missile.
“My name’s Dan Wakeham and I ride the Head Team 162 which I chose because it’s a good all-round freestyle board. I used to ride the Head Crown, my pro model, which was really stiff and aggressive but found that a slightly softer board aided my progression better.
A perfect pipe board for getting big airs out of the Pipe is similar to a boardercross board but a little shorter. Pipes are so big now (with the competition standard now 22ft) that a good pipe board has to be able to handle well at speeds and hold a perfect edge on ice and slush. The Head Team is quite soft in the nose and tail but still stiff between the bindings, this means that it’s still fast and grippy on the pipe wall. As the Team is a bit softer on the tip and tail that means that when you land it’s a bit more forgiving so you can get away with landing while still in the spin. If the same happened with a stiffer board then I’d probably catch an edge.
I used to have a pipe specific board, and rode a different model for cruising on the hill; the board I’m riding now works well in the Pipe and carving on the piste and because of the softer nose and tail it works well on rails and in the park. In short; if you want a good board for the Pipe you don’t necessarily have to buy a longer and stiffer board; as long as the board is stiff enough between the feet to hold an edge and handle comfortably at speed you can look at an all-mountain freestyle or park specific deck; this may aid your progression by giving you the confidence to spin and flip.”
Dan’s Sponsors are:
32 Snowboard Boots
Von Zipper Eyewear
Dan recently retired from following the world cup circuit and along with UK team snowboard coach Hamish McKnight is focusing his efforts on creating week long training camps for the general public, find out more at www.onesnowboarding.co.uk/.
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