Japanese 14 year-old Ayumu Hirano‘s rise to fame has been swift. Only two years ago he was poaching the U.S. Open Junior bracket aged 12, and this year, with ongoing support from Kazu Kokubo, he took Silver at Winter X Games in Aspen with a flawless run! In the media storm that has followed, much like Jack (the mythical one with the magic beans), Ayumu has been hailed as some sort of giant slayer. For the hopeful who have seen too many years of Shaun White’s gingery pipe domination, this prodigy could signal his downfall, and the battle lines have been drawn.
Somewhat conveniently, while Shaun couldn’t make the X Games in Tignes because of other commitments, Ayumu was too ill to compete and had to bail, so we’ve had to take a rain check on the match-up. With the season starting again in August Hirano has already notched a first place in FIS Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup event in Cardrona so be prepared for the hype to begin again.