Massive news for British snowboarding, not only did Jamie Nicholls qualify for automatically for the final on Thursday, but Billy Morgan topped the semi finals this morning with what is arguably a stock run for him!
He put down a clean and tech rails section then a cab double underflip, front double 10 then a triple backside 14, even having time to open out at the end, then in his ‘victory lap’ showcased his cab triple under in competition for the first time. That’ll set him up well for the finals, only an hour away.
In another surprise twist, Sage Kotsenburg, ‘The Savior of Style,’ claimed second place and a spot in the finals with a run that included a hand drag to back 180 off the cannon rail, a front 10 cross rocket and his now signature double cork japan.
He’s now the only American making it through to the finals after Chas Guildemond only managed seventh place even after putting down a backside triple at the end, a few hands down costing him points.
The judges once again were scoring the runs based equally on style and substance; Seamus O’Connor hucked his triple underflip but looked pretty bummed when the judges scored him low, he was lucky enough to be here in the first place. We liked his claim straight after though:
Mark McMorris‘ score was probably the most controversial, for a few minutes it looked like his second run with a cab double cork, front double and back triple might not be enough after the judges seemingly marked him down for two hands on the floor on the last jump, but in the end 89.25 was enough for third and a spot in the finals.
Personal favourite Yuki Kadono got through on the bubble with the biggest smile of the day and will be dropping in first in the finals later on. Another example of the judges rewarding style and execution as highly as technicality; many of the riders lower down the pack still seemed to be hucking tricks under pressure and with the possible exception of Mark McMorris the guys that were having the most fun got through.
Seppe Smits was the unlucky one today, taking the 5th spot. But with a run that included back-to-back twelves he’ll be wondering how much more he could have done. Unlucky Seppe!
So there’s two Brits in the top twelve for the finals, twice as many as the Americans… Here’s our advice: go big, go clean, don’t let your mitts touch the ground and don’t forget to follow our liveblog here at 8.45am.