Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN) and Kelly Clark (USA) won today’s US Open halfpipe finals, where thousands of fans enjoyed some of the most progressive riding in halfpipe history. Today’s win marked a historic moment for Kelly Clark, who is now the only woman in US Open history to win four halfpipe titles. Kazu’s win was also a landmark as it was his first time winning a US Open title.“It was so great to win here, especially because my good friends Mikkel Bang and Charles Reid also won titles, which made my win feel even better,” said Kazuhiro Kokubo.
In addition to the coveted US Open halfpipe crowns, three major titles were also awarded today, including a new Volvo to top US Open male and female overall riders Ulrik Badertscher (NOR) and Jamie Anderson (USA). Peetu Piironen (FIN) was on the podium for three different awards, taking home a total of $103,250 in winnings today alone. He won the $3000 Kodak Best Trick award for his Cab 1080 double cork, the $50,000 men’s Burton Global Open Series (BGOS) title, the $50,000 men’s Swatch TTR World Tour Championship title, plus $250 for his 12th place halfpipe finish. Fellow Finnish rider Enni Rukajärvi (FIN) won the women’s 2010 BGOS championship title and a $50,000 check. And for the first time, second and third place BGOS ranked riders took home $30,000 and $20,000 respectively.
“This is so special and overwhelming – I’m the first guy who has won both the BGOS and TTR titles twice,” said 2010 Olympic silver medalist Peetu Piiroinen. “I’ve had an incredible season.”
The women’s halfpipe contest was dominated by the Americans, who swept the podium. Kelly Clark secured her fourth US Open halfpipe title with her first run, earning an unbeatable 94.17 with her signature style and huge airs. Her run started with a huge frontside air, a backside 540 mute grab, a frontside 720, and a Cab 720 mute, finishing with a frontside corked 900, which also earned her the $3,000 Totino’s Highest Air Award. Coming in second place was Kaitlyn Farrington (USA) with a strong run that included back-to-back 720s. Ellery Hollingsworth (USA) rounded out the women’s halfpipe podium with her third place finish and also earned the Kodak Best Trick for her Michalchuk.
“It’s amazing that it’s my fourth US Open halfpipe title,” said Kelly Clark. “It’s so great to come home after such a long season and win here.”
Double corks were the trick of the day in the men’s halfpipe competition, with podium winners throwing down double corks in every run. First Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) stepped it up with a mind-blowing run that included a backside 1260 double cork in the middle of his run. Then Louie Vito (USA) topped Iouri by nailing three double corks in his first run, taking the lead by a mere fraction of a point. But it was Kazuhiro Kokubo’s signature smooth style that put him on the top spot of the US Open halfpipe podium for the first time, with a run that included a frontside 900 melon, his crowd-favorite McTwist Chicken Wing trick followed by three 1080s. 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Scotty Lago (USA) won the Totino’s Highest Air award.
Tomorrow, the juniors take to the adult-sized halfpipe where boys and girls 13-years-old and under will compete in the US Open Junior Jam.
Be sure to watch the US Open on ABC on March 27 at 5:00 pm EST and 3:00 pm PST.
Follow live updates from the event on twitter @BurtonSnowboard