The competition day on Saturday 31st of July started off so horrible with lovely pissing rain all over the mountain at Mt Buller – riders were drenched through on the one-lift ride to the course, but surprisingly the course held up and the park boys at Buller had been slaving on this thing for over a week and it was looking solid. Props to Adam, Stu and all their park crew the setup was truly sweet.
By 2pm when practice rolled around all the riders were finally in up on the hill and ready to roll. The fog was the new problem, but it didn’t really stop anyone throwing down. The new feature next to the Mt Dew hut – Frank the Tank, was getting heavily sessioned with some wall-rides to spins off and on then some dudes were getting crazy throwing some backflips or rodeos off the roof. 17-year old Tim Laidlaw started the craze with a 50-50 to backside rodeo gap to the landing from the apex of the roof.
The theme of practice was carried through to the main event – more fog. At least with darkness the 8 lighting towers that Dew had rolled in made a big difference and at least the rain had stopped. The Park crew were again incredible and the course was looking mint. The other theme that carried through from practice was that the Oakley team from NZ – Jake Koia and Stef Zeestraten were killing it. Riding super smooth with technical tricks and riding together complementing each others skills.
The team format of the event again caused some havoc because if one rider from a team doesn’t land their trick the team gets a zero for that run. With a 90 minute jam session and a tally of landed runs making up the winner, teams who struggled on consistency really fell back. Mel Simmons – Head Judge and Southern Hemisphere TTR World Tour Representative said:
“Team format presents a high pressure contest. In a normal contest you rely solely on yourself to kill it or kook it. In a team event you’ve got your buddy to look out for the whole time, so if you kook it your buddy goes down for it too. That is the most intimidating thing in a team event.”
“The Oakley team took it into account that it was a team challenge, they showed us what we were after, they used the entire feature, they used it together and had overall consistency. Chris DeCampo (Gatorade Rookie) threw down and was really consistent on the night and he deserves everything that comes to him.” Head Judge Mel Simmons concluded. Although after Chris received his oversized check for $4,000 he said, “I don’t know where I’m going to cash my check because I’m not even sure if I have a bank account!”
Stand out tricks on the night were the gaps off the up-box on the side of the roof. Andy Loyd, Stef Zeestraten and Jye Kearney all threw a back flip from the top of the box at speed gaping down to the landing before Andy Roth came through and threw a backside rodeo from it – stomping it deep. Secondly the stand out trick was the one that won best team trick. Clint Allan from the Billabong team stopped on the apex of the roof and held his legs in the air to make a flat base 4-foot above the apex. His teammate Robbie Walker then fast-planted on Clint’s board while airing from the big jump – Robbie cleared the whole house one footed and stomped it way down in the slushy landing. Hectic!
Mt Dew Hut Jam top 6 Team Placings.
1. Oakley – $12,000
Best Team Trick: Billabong – Fast Plant gap. $3,000
Gatorade Rookie Award – Chris DeCampo $4,000
Some of the tricks we noticed that stood out from hundreds of hammers:
They were always dropping super tight together, were consistent and way more technical tricks than the other teams.
Double Method together over the hut – Stef’s was switch!
They had great Front 7 and back 7 combo’s landed back to back together.
They hit everything.
They both dropped 180 on -180 off’s on the tank.
They did a barrel double hit on the tank, with one frontside wall ride to front 3 out and the other 50-50 back 180.
Stef tailslide 270 gap off on the upbox while Koia gap front boarded to fakie.
Jye Kearney from the Burton Team threw a double backflip oover the hut in the dying seconds but cam unstuck on landing.
Andrew Roth from the Ride Team threw a huge backside rodeo off the high up box stomping it clean.
Ryan Tiene from the DC Team tailslide on the upbox to 450 gap off that had the judges drooling.
Jake McCarthy from the Ashbury Team was unlucky with the landings but he was impressing the judges throwing down some heavy tricks going all-out with “amazing style”.
Lance Reese from the Technine Team who lost his teammate Lucas McGrath halfway through the event due to a knee injury deserves props for trying some super technical tricks including one he was so so close to getting: Back 180 switch 50-50 on the up box to cab 180 50 50 down the rail.
Ben Willick and the Destyn Via Team that included Cohen Davies impressed all night. Ben stomped a solid front board on the up box to back 270 gap.