nz open

halfpipe_finals_hilights.mov    more >
1/2 PIPE FINAL
I've just come back in from the prize giving......and before that THE FINAL - how was it?? - off the scale man!!!!!!!!!!!!

How do i start....Beats ringing out - Downtown brown from Sub culture on the mix, sun beaming down, barely a light breeze in the sky , spectators lining both sides of the 500ft long pipe with 17 ft walls ready for a pounding, media - cameras snapping & rolling, notepads out...
The judging tent below was packed with action & sponsors all around then at the top - riders clustered at the big entry gates waiting for their call to drop and unleash.......

I was mostly right under the first hit on the sunshine side with a bunch of camera people around having the same idea - stand under the fattness & be amazed!!!
- when you watch the riders coming down and they peel from the other side roaring up the pipe wall below you then explode into the air sailing over your head in a timeless drift - the first thing that usually happens is some kind of twisted howl coming up from your lungs along with all the witnesses beside you!!!!!

Starting with a first run - you would expect saftey all the way - but it seemed that as riders dropped; the safety bar was thrown out the window.
The girls were flying as in the earlier semi but now with the stakes higher so was the amplitude - Kelly Clark - wow!
The boned grabs & spins by all the girls had mad style - they rode in fast with most nailing a good first run - of course that opens things up completely - being the best run of three scored. They continued to whip the crowd into noise through the next two runs...

The men repeated this - ahhhhh!!!!!!! it was mayhem - some nailed first runs some didn't, but when they went for the second it made no difference - they pulled 110% out!!!! - the amplitude was incredible eg Mason Aguirre, - they were all so high skyward, fast, tweaked, boned, twisted, upside down, spinning 900's into 1080's flat and corked back to back etc etc - we could barely believe it - every rider seemed to amp the next one into some sensational frenzy...no spectator will ever forget it... by the time the 3rd run came most boosted jaw dropping 4 -5 hits until they over cooked,
1st run unreal - I put the 2nd run through as the peak, top to bottom - the 3rd was dessert time!!!

Nobody wanted to miss seeing a run or a twisted version of some trick you have seen on a video or playstation - but here it was in real life and how can you beat that!!!!!

That was the way i experienced the final - in pure stoke at every run - they all went at it so hard that history was definately made! The Burton Open supported by motorola was a huge success!!!!!! So many props go out to the riders, organisers and the spectators - and of course Snowpark!

some highlights - far to many to mention, it pretty much has to be said anyone in the final is a legend!!!!!!!!

Kelly Clark USA - huge frontside, B/s tail grab to f/s 720 to cab 360 to nose grab to method tof/s 540 big amplitude all the way down!!!
Mason Aguirre USA massive f/s rodeo to b/s 540 to f/s 1080 to b/s 1080 to f/s 900 tob/s 900 to stalefish - you can imagine the grabs and tweaks in there!!!!!!
Julianne Bray NZL f/s bone to b/s method to 540 to b/s 540 to stalefish to air to fakie to cab 540
Crispin Lipscombe CAN - off the hook!!! massive Ally oop to b/s 900 to f/s 1080 to cab 720 to f/s 900 to crail to Ally oop 360
Mitch Brown NZL b/s air to f/s 900 corked to B/s 540 to f/s 720 to Hakkon Flip to Ally oop to b/s 720
Rob Kingwell USA f/s to b/s to f/s 540 tob/s 540 to f/s 900 to b/s 900 to sato flip - best trick!!!!!!!
Danny Davis USA f/s 900 to b/s 900 to f/s 1080 to b/s 1080 to alley oop rodeo into the deck -sick!!!!!!!!!!!
Torah Bright AUST f/s to b/s 720 to f/s 720 to cab 360 to big stalefish - blazing last run
Tommy Czeschin USA f/s to b/s to720 to 720 to 900 to revert 180 to alley oop - big!
Kazuhiro Kokubo JPN drifted massive mc twist to 1080 tof/s 900 to b/s 900 to b/s 900
Sophie Rodriguez FRA f/t 720 tocab 360 tof/t 540
Ellery Hollingsworth USA f/s corked 540 to shifty f/s totail grab tof/s 540 to b/s 720 - best girls trick!!!!
Louie Vito USA switch 1080 to f/s 1080 to 720 tof/s 900 to b/s 900 to 360 to cab 900!!! right on!!!!!
Takaharu Nakai JPN f/s 900 to b/s 900 to ft 1080 to cab 720 to f/s 720 to cab 1080 - he was going massive all day!!!!
James Hamilton NZL huge b/s method to f/s 900 to 540
Steve Fisher USA f/s 1080 to cab720 to f/s bone to b/s 540 to f/s 900 to tail slide - height+!!!!

After the comp - Crispin Lipscombe CAN hiked back up the pipe to finish his day, dropped in to stomp a big clean 1260 then out - no shit!!!!!!!!! witnessed by many...

Tonight after party's will be crazy in Queenstown & Wanaka - Wanaka has 'Shapeshifter' as the official headliner - they will tear the roof off!!!!!!! so have a drink with us after you read this where ever you are - NZ is rocking tonight!!!!

cheers & thanks for tuning in,

Luca Soulos




pipe update 1.30 pm
The second round has just started so have to make this as fast as possible - the action has been sick!!!!!!!!!!

We were all up there - miles, woody and i felt like we were under an arial assault with bombs going off every side of us by riders as they tore the sky apart

The girls have taken amplitude to new comp levels in the sithern hemisphere
Torah Bright AUST massive f/sd air to cab 7 to japan to stalefish
Ju Bray NZ huge f/s to b/s to 540
Kelly Clarke USA big f/s mass b/s - 720 overhead
Sophie Rodriguez FRA big 720 first hit to back to back 540s
147 Rana Okada JPN ALLY OOP big! -f/s 540 - 720

In the guys & all this is at height!!!!! as we look up to check it out!!!
Olly Burke NZL boosting crippler 540 -b/s method to stale - alley oop rodeo to crippler 720 -sick
Danny Davis USA sickest runs - 900 to 720 to 720 to b/s 900
Steve Fisher USA mass 1080 on the first hit!!! to cab 7 to
corked 540 to 900 to japan grab tob/s 720 - sweet!
Takahiro Ishihara JPN air to fakie over the moon to cab 900 to f/s 900 to 720 to 900
Crispin Lipscombe CAN - pulled the sickest 2nd run - 720 to big 1080 to720 to 900 and all the extras - clean
Mason Agguirre USA 1080 to f/s to cab720 tof/s 900 aww!!!
Luke Mitrani USA - 900 to 900 to invert 1080 to 360 - big!!
RMB NZL f/s 540 to b/s 540 melon grab to tail slide
Johnathon Cheever mad mix of tricks!!!!
13 yr old USA Spenser Shaw - killing it - 720 to cab3 to back to back 540s with big amplitude in his second run
James Hamilton NZL going big! - mass b/s to f/s 900 to switch b/s 540
Tim Jackways NZL - F/s 720 to drifty b/s!!!
Chris Walker USA overhead!!! b/s to corked 900 to 540 to 540 to 720 - massive

The Quest Store boys have their rider BBQ cranking at the bottom to keep it real and keep the belly's full,
So much for the judges to cope with - what a job!!!!! how do you decipher with this quality??!!!!

Jay on the mc and P digs up there as well! - the beats are spot on!!!

With out doubt there is more but i have to get back up to the pipe because it's sick sick sick!!!!!!!! to watch - i feel like i'm on red bull without drinking one just from watching...

talk to you soon

cheers

Luca Soulos







BURTON OPEN PIPE 10.30 am
It's Saturday morning!!!!!! Yee Haa!!!!!! PIPE DAY!!!!!!!

The boarderzone crew emerged after last nights quarter pipe celebrations - (into the smaller hours with zin dog, Olly Burke, Reon, Miles, Woody, Legs, Chris, Sally & more...) , from the snowfarm accom - (thanks Mary) - to an absolute bluebird day....looking out of the window over cross country skiiers grunting it out on the xc trails?? - it was way better for me to just get in the shower and think about breakfast.

We jumped in the 4by's and shot down the road to the snowpark - for breakfast!!! Frank Wells has been working through the night manicuring the pipe to perfection - you could shave with the edges of that beast! A shout goes to all the snowpark team - it's is an incredible sight looking out across it from the flash new Bar/restaurant and decks - they have all worked like demons & everyone here is stoked.

Pretty soon we will be underway with the womens semi final then into the mens semi 1 and 2 then my friends it's the Burton NZ open FINALS, if you are on the way up make sure your memory card is empty and your battery fully charged because the camera will be working overtime!!!!!!!

There is no shortage of 'big' names in the line up - far to many to list - If it was Hollywood there would be a car park full of stretch limo's.

With what we have seen so far from NZ riders and visiting Pros - this open is set to go down in the history books!!!!!!

I'll post highlights as fast as i can after & perhaps during but as you can imagine - a minute missed on the side of the pipe is like mum telling you, you can't have any lollies until after dinner...

Right now Guy Alty - Captn. Btn NZ, is across from me on his laptop, Sonny Fisher and Dyl Butt are charging around making sure every nut is tightened and in place, Dawn from Burton is working with her team on Media, Spy & Steen are going over every judging scenerio, T.V crews are setting up, Photographers are picking their spots, the riders are gathering, Car park filling, Kickers being sessioned already in Video style & still the beats crank on out across the park!

It's a sat morning wet dream up here for any snowboarder,
keep checking in & if you can't be up here - imagine your brothers and sister doing it for you - this is freestyle snowboard culture in all it's glory and about to explode...

talk soon,

cheers

Luca Soulos





pipe first round Qualify 1.45pm
Yep...there is definately a substantial pipe session going on!

Chris and i have been up on the side along with woody and miles on camera, for the first heat round (approx 27 riders twice thru) once again a good mixture of nations - two rounds to go & happening now, only 10 guys and 5 girls from 80 will go through to join the comp line up tomorrow.

- the strongest three USA, NZL and Japan - the japs are killing it as they do in the pipe, hitting that first wall with the pent up power of a diving tank thrown out of your office window & hitting the ground 8 stories down. followed with precision and inverts to make you hold your breath.
94 Riyuka Narita JPN eg b/s nose grab way over head to ft 720 to cab 720 to stalefish grab to big front 900
84 Itaru Fujinuma with the sweet back to back tec invert run,
and in Asian flavour 12 Jung Min Yoon KOR threw the fattest corked 900 you've seen

Downtown brown spun records all morning then Rafstar will take it into the afternoon - smooth tunes to compliment the amazing conditions.

Grabs - huge backside airs, seatbelt nose ,stiffy's, chicken, backscratcher? hakkon flips , fast fat mc twists along with the 5's 7's and 900's being spun off both walls
But not being super human - and since it's the qualifying rounds there has been a fair share of slapping taken by riders pushing the limits mostly putting big spins down.

A few groms NZ, USA & CAN were in around 11 and 12yrs - all sponsored up, - madness and the little buggers were still right out of the top of the superpipe
49 Ben Stewart 12yrs NZL stood out - solid grabs to mc twist to front 540 to back 5 to 360 to cab 540 to switch 540 - sweet! go groms...

There is a big presence of American riders here - training & on team tours, along with burton pros bought over for the event - the riding level is super high - in the perfect Frank Wells shaped pipe - a blend of nations from all around is just pushing things higher!

more highlights -
Chris Walker USA massive first hit backside
Jake Black USA 720's & 900's all the way down - tec and big
Todd Malus CAN huge frontsides! to 720's
Sebastian Runeare USA crail - ft 540 tail grab to 720's
Conner Harding NZL K2 rider - f/s 540 to b/s 540 tof/s 720

it's impossible to list them all but a few moments for you to imagine above - being on the side of the pipe to catch that winning view as someone sails way over your head with a board boned hard out & looking for the next wall while fresh tunes fill your ears is a special thing...!

Well done Burton & Motorola the open is in epic status and the Snowpark is groomed to perfection with fantastic effort put in by all the staff here - looking out of the window right now a groomer & team of shapers are going hard out working on the 1/4 pipe to have it in pristine cond. for tonight, above that the pipe rocks on,

talk soon,

cheers,

Luca Soulos


Day 2 - PIPE 11am
Bluebird!!! Welcome to day 2 boarderzone watchers, what a start to a day of pipe competetion. As riders amble around the base building and the car park starts to pack out you can look up to the pipe and see a swarm of what looks like insects all over it - flying out of the sides, up, down, left and right. Girls and guys on the case.

It starts with practice runs then runs straight into continuous qualifying heats all day, as we all know, the qualifying rounds are intense as riders know they have a slim shot to get into the main event tomorrow - but to do that they have to stand out and put it all on the line - miles is out for some money shots today with his camera & without a cloud in the sky we should see some treats

I've just been filling up on coffee down in the snowpark bar with wanaka boys Jah Harris, Tim Jackways, Olly Burke & J,
the breakfast feast has been desimated and everyone is heading out onto the snow to make the most of perfect conditions & get ready for their heats.

It's a 2 run set up - best of calculated, so a full on but saftey run perhaps then an all out 'what have i got inside me', and if you make it through then it's celebration tonight

last night it was Kora playing in Wanaka - also King Kapesie
I'm not sure who's on tonight after the 1/4 pipe - i have a feeling Downtown Brown from Sub Culture in QT. will be on the mix at the event! Sat night sees Shapeshifter in Wanaka town - you know the roof will be blown off with those guys! - it's impossible to keep your feet still with kiwi music at it's live best - in the way they put it out there!

We'll head up to the pipe to watch so we can take a step sideways & bring you our updates through the day

Don't forget to tune in tonight for the monster 1/4 pipe running 5-10pm


- Luca Soulos


PHOTOS
RESULTS
PRESS RELEASES