It was a clean sweep of the top podium spots for America at yesterday’s Burton US Open, and very nearly a complete clean sweep for Burton. Only Queralt Castellet’s silver medal spoilt the perfect 1, 2, 3 for the Big B in the men’s and women’s halfpipe finals.
China’s Yiwei Zhang had threatened to piss on the Americans’ proverbial chips after qualifying through in first place with one of the most technical halfpipe runs we’ve ever seen, but in the end he couldn’t put down a clean run in the finals, finishing in 10th place.
Even if he had landed cleanly though, it’s debatable whether he’d have been able to beat Taylor Gold’s massive first run, which included rad tricks like a cab 1080 roastbeef grab and a crippler with a chicken salad.
A line-up of the world’s best pipe riders tried to topple Taylor from the top spot, but not even the best efforts of Olympic bronze medallist Taku Hiraoka or multiple X Games medallist Louie Vito could do it.
China’s Yiwei Zhang had threatened to piss on the Americans’ proverbial chips after qualifying through in first place.
Taku’s massive second run came close, but Vito unfortunately didn’t stick a clean one and in the end it was Burton-sponsored David Habluetzel of Switzerland who finished in third. Just behind him was the impressive 19-year-old American Ben Ferguson older brother of Gabe, who despite being just 14 years old had also made the finals.
The women’s comp also saw young talent shining, with the tween-aged prodigy Chloe Kim claiming the third podium place behind Kelly Clark and Queralt Castellet. Clark, having qualified through in first looked pretty much unstoppable from start to finish landing all three of her massive, technical runs.
It was the 30-year-old’s 7th US Open title making her the most decorated rider in US Open history. She had described the pipe as being “perfect” and judging by the amplitude all the riders were getting throughout the day she was probably right.
The pipe was running so well that at one point commentator Jack Mitrani claimed it was the best display of halfpipe riding he’d ever seen. Despite the fact that arguably the top three men in the discipline (Shaun White, Iouri Podladtchikov and Ayumu Hirano) were all absent.
After the disappointment of the Sochi pipe, which didn’t allow people to perform as well as they might have liked, it was wicked to see snowboarding’s blue ribband event given the kind of course it needed to be at its best.
burton us open 2014 halfpipe resultsWomen’s Halfpipe Final Results:
1. Kelly Clark (USA), BURTON, 89.33
2. Queralt Castellet (ESP), YONEX, 85.73
3. Chloe Kim (USA), BURTON, 83.95
4. Hannah Teter (USA), BURTON, 75.03
5. Rana Okada (JPN), BURTON, 67.15
6. Sophie Rodriguez (FRA), OAKLEY, 59.80
Men’s Halfpipe Final Results:
1. Taylor Gold (USA), BURTON, 87.63
2. Taku Hiraoka (JPN), BURTON, 86.88
3. David Habluetzel (SUI), BURTON, 83.23
4. Ben Ferguson (USA), BURTON, 77.93
5. Kent Callister (AUS), LIB TECH, 77.58
6. Gabe Ferguson (USA), BURTON, 73.10
7. Jake Pates (USA), BURTON, 73.00
8. Louie Vito (USA), VIVE, 68.28
9. Christian Haller (SUI), BURTON, 67.38
10. Yiwei Zhang (CHN), MINI, 62.03