Rakai Tait is a Wanaka based halfpipe snowboarder. With one parent from NZ and one from the USA, we're stoked that Rakai chose to ride for Aotearoa. In 2014 Rakai started spending his Winter seasons in Wanaka and found a home in the country where his father was born.
He represented New Zealand at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer and went on to represent New Zealand at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. This year he had his best ever World Cup results with a 7th place finish at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix and also qualified through to the finals of the Burton US Open.
Hometown: Originally Eagle, CO but now Wanaka, NZ
Career highlights: 2018 Winter Olympian; Representing NZ at the 2016 Youth Olympic Winter Games; 7th place finish at the Mammoth Mountain World Cup in 2020; Burton Open 2020 Finalist.
Rakai grew up constantly watching skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding videos, so it was only natural for him to pick up one of these board sports and pursue it with passion. Rakai learnt to snowboard when he was seven years old in Switzerland, but started out his competitive career in skateboarding.
When Rakai relocated to the mountains, in Vail, USA he began competing in snowboarding as often as possible, competing in all the Rev Tour stops in halfpipe and slopestyle. Strong results at these events saw him qualify for the 2016 Youth Olympic Winter Games where he finished sixth in halfpipe and 13th in slopestyle.
Rakai then began competing on the World Cup circuit and worked tirelessly to pursue his Olympic dreams. He met the Olympic nomination criteria and was selected as a member of the 2018 NZ Olympic Team to PyeongChang.
Rakai continues to go from strength to strength in his snowboarding, reflected in his strong results in 2020, including his best ever result at a World Cup event and competing in the finals of the Burton US Open. Rakai now calls Wanaka home where he works as a snowboard coach, a wax technician and spends all his remaining time training in the Olympic Halfpipe at Cardrona Alpine Resort.