From surfing the snow to surfing the waves
The last weekend of January marked a very special one in the long career of Rok Flander. The 2007 world champion, who has been part of the World Cup tour since January 2001, officially retired after his 143rd World Cup start in Rogla.
Unfortunately the 37-year-old missed the knock out rounds in his home soil race as 17th ranked rider of the qualifiers. Making it to the finals of the top-16 would have been the icing on the cake:
“Well, there is a little bit of a bitter taste finishing 17th in my home race. It would have been great to say good-bye with a performance in the finals.
I cannot say that I came here totally unprepared. I did windsurf a lot, and also four days on snow helped me to get back into the rhythm. I was close to the finals. But maybe, it wouldn't have been fair to qualify.”
In the end, the results didn't mean a thing:
“I didn't really focus on it. I did it more for the backstage atmosphere and the rest of the field.”
With three Olympic Winter Games and 13 World Cup podium finishes of which four were wins under his belt, the father of one can look back on a superb 16-year-long career.
“Being a pro snowboarder has been a privilege. It's a privilege to be in the mountains and the nature every day.”
That said, the focus has shifted back to the future and keeping on living the dream.
Flander and his family flew back to Mauritius which he calls home for now.
Having set up a touristic business on the island by owning a restaurant and several apartments everything is already in the right place for the career after the career.
Same for Flander who now enjoys the freedom of catching some more waves than during the last years on tour.