Jordan Houghton and Luke Kneller in a tandem flip. Image:: Dan Warbrick
Words | Tess Cook
What began on Tuesday as such a promisingly sunshine blessed event deteriorated quickly into rain, hail and general mayhem; the final two days of the Rip Curl FreeRide Pro were one long squelchy shoe of water but, like jumping in puddles, the squelch was fun and a little bit manic.
If blue skies make for a successful competition day, dampness makes for interesting days. When the decision was made on Wednesday morning to postpone the finals until the following day, the Rip Curl team piled themselves into the event operations room to play with the 2011 Rip Curl outerwear that had been sent down for them to try.
From my position in the corner of the room I got a great parade of next year’s snow wear. On the must buy list: the new and improved heated vest – new design that looks good and fits better – and blue pants in the Ultimate range. Rip Curl is really raising the bar for Aussie snow wear; their Ultimate Range is hitting its stride – next year’s jackets and pants have a tech-stretch effect and the colours are sweet. I was also impressed by the boys’ gear, there’s a purple and tan combo Sam Tomasi is now rocking and a blue and yellow number that Jordon Houghton is sporting that look pretty good! I always love to play with gear and the huge piles of it through the media room were pretty exciting – for the riders it was like going shopping without a cash register!
When photographer Dan Warbrick gave everyone bubble gum so they could pose for their studio shots with a bubble the innate competitiveness that makes these guys so good at what they do came out in a bubble blowing showdown. As Boothy said “Who judges someone on whether or not they can blow a bubble?” Andy Finch’s answer, “we do, obviously.”
For the record, Andy’s bubble blowing skills are pretty impressive, Boothy has a bit to work on.
Rip Curl Throwdown
But it wasn’t just a day for inside activities. Come 6pm the riders were slopeside again for the Rip Curl Throwdown. Ok competing in the rain is never nice, and spectating in the rain is even worse, but the event had a pretty cheerful vibe despite that. The surprise fire twirler was a nice touch, rumour has it he’s a local Jindy kid who just wanted to be a part of the action so took it upon himself to set up his fire twirling in the big air gap; the effect was great.
Not so great was Anna Segal breaking her leg towards the end of the two hour session. The girl had been throwing down hard and still walked away with first prize for the women’s ski. She’d planned to take the rest of the season off to heal a problematic toe anyway, so it looks like Anna will be giving uni plenty of attention for the next few months.
Highlight of the night? For me it goes to Watkin McLennan for getting everyone into an impromptu dance off while ski patrol were tending to Anna at the base of the jump; a good effort that kept everyone entertained.
And that’s the Rip Curl FreeRide Pro over for another year.