|Honours:||(2001) European Champion Pro Men, 3rd IWSF Worlds Pro Men
(2002) UK National Champion
(2003) Wakestock Champion, UK National Champion
(2004) Wakestock Champion, UK National Champion, 3rd European Championships
(2005) 3rd World Cup Stop Singapore, 5th Overall World Cup
(2006) Wakestock Champion, 3rd European Championships, 4th US Masters (Callaway Gardens – Only European male ever invited)
(2008) European Champion France, Wakestock Oxford Champion UK, 2nd European Masters Ukraine, 3rd IWSF Worlds Qatar, Spanish Open Champion Vigo, 3rd UK Nationals, 1st South American Championships Paraguay, 5th Overall World Cup Tour
(2009) European Champion Portugal, 3rd Wakestock Abersoch UK, 3rd UK Nationals, 2nd South American Championships Paraguay, 5th Overall World Cup
Hi Dan, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. So, what have you been up to this year?
At the beginning of 2010 I headed out to Argentina for the off-season as I have done for the last 4 years. It’s great to get out there as it is their summer during our winter. My girlfriend (also a pro rider) is Argentinean, so I stay out there with her and ride with all the locals on their boats.
Cool, sounds like fun! So what will the rest of 2010 hold for you?
Well it’s going to be a busy one for me. There are a lot of contests this year, including the rebirth of the UK tour which I am really looking forward to. My next contest is the FISE (Federazione Italiana Sport Equestri) in May, which is a rail-only event and is always fun. I will also be traveling around the world quite a bit, going to Spain, Russia, Sweden, Korea, China and many more countries hopefully!
Where did you learn, and what made you start?
I started when I was about 4 years old. My parents put me on a pair of skis for the first time and from there I would occasionally go skiing or knee-boarding, but I was never really that bothered with it. Then one day when I was about 10, I saw a wakeboard and had to have a go on it! I instantly loved it as I had been snowboarding before, and from then on I just practiced as much as I could.
What do Wakeboarding competitions usually consist of for you?
I usually ride in the boat contests, which is 2 passes of the lake or course and normally has 1 or 2 rails in the middle. Recently there has been a big increase in the rail-only events as they are very easy to set up on bodies of water in towns and cities, where boat riding is impossible. The Syestem 2 is a 2 tower cable system that can be put up on almost any body of water, and setup within a day.
Where in the UK would you say are the best places for Wakeboarding?
For me, the best place to ride in the UK is Quayside wake and ski in Mytchett, Surrey. Down there is the only place in Britain that has a boat that is properly set up to have a big wake, and they also have the National coach Stu Mackie there. That was also the first club in the UK to have a System 2 open to the public.
Surrey is brilliant for Wakeboarding, with some of the best locations in the UK including Thorpe Cable, which has some good rails to hit there. LDB boat is also really good down there.
Milton Keynes has a nice cable park with good obstacles, making it a pretty decent location.
There are loads of other cables located all around the UK, in places such as Cirencester, Skegness, Sheffield and Cardiff, to name a few.
Where are the best places in the world for Wakeboarding trips?
The best place to go for a weekend trip is Spain without a doubt. They have a number of boat wakeboard schools and 2 cables. The weather there is always good for wakeboarding. If you were to go for more than a weekend, then Florida is the place to go as it is the heart of wakeboarding.
What has been your best memory in the sport?
Probably my first 900 in a contest, or winning the European Championships 2 years in a row.
Have you ever been injured?
I have had a lot of tweaked knees and ankles, but the worst injury I’ve had is 2 broken ribs just from landing on the water. They took 3 months of not moving much to get better!
What is your best / favourite trick?
I like spinning a lot, doing 7s and 9s are always fun. Also, a trick that I love to do is a toe-side mute off axis 3. It’s not the most technical trick but it feels great when you land it.
Have there been any big developments in the sport during your time, and do you see any coming in the future?
As I said earlier, the System 2 is a big step for Wakeboarding. So it is completely moveable and brings Wakeboarding to locations that weren’t possible before. The next thing that all wake boarders are waiting for is a boat that runs on something other then petrol…
What equipment do you recommend using at first? How much do you think it realistically costs to set up?
Well, when you first start out you don’t need to have any of your own equipment. Most places that do lessons for beginners will have all the equipment that you need to get going. So once you get started and you feel like you are going to be doing it a lot, you can start to think about getting your own equipment.
To get yourself set up to ride you are going to need a board, a pair of bindings and a wetsuit (for the wonderful British climate!)
You would be looking at around £500-£600 for the basic set up.
How did you begin and how did your training progress?
I started riding without any coaching or training and only rode occasionally. This was until I landed my first invert, after that I started riding a lot and joined the Quays club to get some professional training.
What would you advise for getting started and improving freestyle techniques?
The biggest factor to getting good in wakeboarding is time on the water. The more that you do it – the better you will get. Also getting good coaching will help greatly.
Thanks for talking to us Dan, good luck this year in your competitions!