The eighth annual Burton New Zealand Open Halfpipe finals took place under blue bird skies at Cardrona Alpine Resort with Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) taking first place in the men’s event and Kelly Clark (USA) winning the women’s competition. Podladtchikov and Clark both finished the day NZ$6,000 richer for their efforts and set themselves up nicely with solid early season results counting towards the 2010/11 Burton Global Open Series and the Swatch TTR World Rankings.
Although the weather was perfect, warm temperatures meant the competition format had to be shortened, in order to keep Cardrona’s 22-foot Olympic sized halfpipe in top shape. All 38 men and 19 women semi-finalists went straight into a single final round, with the best of two runs counting for their final ranking.
The women were up first, and Kelly Clark threw down the gauntlet on her first run with a giant frontside air, backside 540 mute, frontside 900, method air, frontside 720, and Cab 720 mute for 88.70 points and her 2nd consecutive NZ Open halfpipe title. Kelly was very happy with her win saying, “I had a great day, it’s a great way to start off my season and I was really happy with how I rode today. I walked away doing the tricks I set out to do and had a lot of fun.”
Queralt Castellet (ESP) was the closest challenger with 82.45 points, also on her first run. Queralt’s run started with a backside 540 mute, frontside 540 melon, method air, and frontside 720 to place second. Taking third with 76.84 points was veteran Soko Yamaoka (JPN), who’s run consisted of a McTwist, frontside 720, Cab 720, frontside 540 melon, and backside 540. Kendall Brown was the top New Zealander, finishing in 8th place.
14 year-old Taku Hiraoka (JPN), who dominated the pre-qualifiers and qualifiers, continued to amaze with his first run score of 89.35 points setting the benchmark. Hiraoka’s run was a backside 540, frontside inverted 720, Cab 1080, and massive frontside 900 tailgrab. This Cinderella story proved that it’s possible to ride all the way from the pre-qualifier round through to the podium and second place. But taking the win was Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) who let out all stops on his second run with a huge crippler, double McTwist 1260, frontside 1080 tailgrab, and Cab 720 for an impressive 93.70 points. Louie Vito (USA) also had a strong second run to jump up into third place with 88.04 points. Louie’s run started with a frontside 1080 double-cork, Cab 1080 double-cork, double crippler, backside 900, and frontside corked 900.
It was also a monumental day for judging, with the newly developed Snowboard Live Scoring system (SLS) proving itself for the first time in the halfpipe. Scores are given for each individual hit during a run, as well as a flow score, to provide a very transparent and informative final score. Viewers of the live webcast on GO211.com were able to see this system in action and watch real-time ranking changes, among other features of the webcast.
Our post from last night
What 24 hours can do to the weather here at Cardrona NZ.
Today was a sunny powder day here at the 2010 Burton NZ Open, where about 15cms of fresh was waiting for all the competitors up the top of the mountain as a little bonus shred before they competed for the coveted Halfpipe title and vital TTR World Title points.
The halfpipe was in immaculate condition for the comp especially considering the recent rain and wind weather over the last couple of days Cardrona have done an amazing job at pulling this pipe together.
The girls were first to drop this morning and the late start meant it was straight to a super final with no semi’s. It was two runs – one counts.
For the men the sun was blazing at high noon and the crowd were cracking beers and waiting to see some of the most progressive halfpipe riding that will go down this year Down Under.
Now I’m going to give you the results but the full report and gallery of photos are on their way and you’ll have to wait for that about an hour.
I can say that in the men’s the most standout, mind-blowing performance of the day other than the winner – ‘Ipod’s’ run and Loui Vito’s 3 double corks in a row, was 14 year old rider Taku Hiraoka who was going huge with super smooth riding and technical tricks that left the crowd and other riders freaking out. This kid has just blown up in a way that’s reminiscent of Kazu Kokubo at the Burton US Open a about 7 years ago.
Burton NZ Open Halfpipe Results:
1 – Iouri Podlatchikov – SUI
2 – Taku Hiraoka – JAPN (14)
3 – Loui Vito (USA)
1 – Kelly Clarke (USA)
2 – Queralt Castellet (ESP)
3 – Soko Yamaoka (JPN)