Canada’s Zak Stone on his way to winning the Billabong Bro Down
Seventeen-year-old Canadian snowboarder Zak Stone won the Billabong Bro Down Big Air event held today (Saturday, 29th August) at Snow Park, Wanaka.
A late entrant on the morning of the event, Stone left his best until his last run of the day when he stomped a corked backside 1080 to score 27.7 out of a possible 30 points for the win.
Stone was ranked 178th on the Tour and jumped over 100 places to now be ranked 60th in the world.
“I stomped that jump for the first time ever today” commented Stone in reference to his corked backside 1080 adding “I was pretty happy about that after falling the first two jumps”.
The perfectly executed jump was even more impressive considering the often difficult conditions today. “It was a little bit windy but the weather for the finals improved somewhat” said Stone.
Stone had been languishing amongst the bottom placed finalists before his last of three runs which edged him ahead of Takahra Nakai (JPN) in second and top placed New Zealand rider Mark Anderson (Queenstown, NZ) in third.
Under pressure on his final run of the event Takahara knew he had to leave nothing to chance to edge past Stone. Nailing a cab 900 he scored 26.7 coming up just short of Stone’s score to finish second.
Local snowboarder Anderson led the finals from the outset scoring 25.5 on his first jump after stomping a clean switch backside 900 only to be ousted from first place during the final three runs of the event.
Top ranked TTR rider going into the event, Seppe Smits (BEL), placed fifth today and will move inside the top 20 improving from his current ranking of 21st.
Current Swatch TTR Women’s World Snowboard Tour leader Jamie Anderson (USA) continued her exceptional run of form winning the Women’s event and in doing so retaining her Tour lead after the final event of the Southern Hemisphere leg of the TTR.
“I feel pretty good at the moment” said Anderson. “The conditions were good, they could always be worse. But the wind was blowing in all directions and the jump was a little sketchy but it was fun”.
Anderson has tasted sweet success several times at this Billabong event winning for the past three years.
The 18-year-old American stomped a backside 360 to win out over her counterparts Sarka Pancochova (CZE) who placed second and Shelly Gotlieb (NZL) who placed third.
“It is not the most technical trick in the world but I was falling all over the place and so was everyone else” commented Anderson.
Sarka Pancochova (CZE), currently ranked fourth on the Swatch TTR Women’s World Snowboard Tour led the final five riders until Anderson’s last jump. Pancochova had been going big all day posting 21.1 on her first jump of the finals. However a heavy landing on her second jump prevented her from completing her final run of the day and holding Anderson out of first place.
Sporting a heavily bruised and graced face, Pancochova accepted her second placing at the prize giving. As a result of her excellent result, she will jump into second on the TTR ratings after this event.
Matching her fellow countrymen, Mark Anderson for third position as the highest placed Kiwi’s was Shelly Gotlieb (NZL). Gotlieb was another that went all out for first place attempting big 540s but ultimately coming unstuck too often to win the event.
Final results from the Billabong Bro Down are as follows:
1st Zac Stone (CAN)
2nd Takahara Nakai (JPN)
3rd Mark Anderson (NZL)
1st Jamie Anderson (USA)
2nd Sarka Pancochova (CZE)
3rd Shelly Gotlieb (NZL)
The Billabong Bro Down at Snow Park is the final event of the Southern Hemisphere leg of the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour.
All riders wound down the finals day of the Billabong Bro Down at the event after party at the Snow Park’s Woolshed with all time tunes from New Zealand’s top DJs.
Powering the Billabong Bro Down at Snow Park for 2009 is Sony, Monster, MTV, ZM, Von Zipper and Snowpark.