Andy Nudds brought out his famous stomping legs of steel on Friday night to win the first leg of the Nike Chosen Series tour at the Hemel Snow Centre. With a North Korean-sized nuclear arsenal of technical tricks and sick style, Nuddsy was always going to be a contender in a comp that rewarded variety as well as technical ability. He was run close by the likes of Marc McClement and Jesse Smith, (who stomped double back and double front flips respectively) but in the end he clinched the win by landing two enormous frontside 1080s - the first time the trick has ever been done indoors.
The DWA crew at Hemel had stepped up their game for the competition, creating a beast of a kicker that measured 13 metres from lip to landing. While spectators got a chance to shred a specially-created park alongside, a collection of the UK's best riders lapped it, earning points for style and creativity in an open jam format session. Eventually, the initial list was whittled down to an eight-man final, which saw young gunners like Marc and Jesse (both of whom had come down from Scotland) pitted against more seasoned campaigners like Angus Leith and Scott Penman. The finals saw the level upped again, with McClement getting a super-stylee back 7 japan grab down, while Scott stomped a whole variety of tweaked out sevens and fives, and narrowly missed out on landing a one-footer. Angus meanwhile threw a massive front three off the right-hand side of the kicker, gapping to the side of the table as if it was a hip, and bagging himself the 'Most Creative Rider' award in the process.
Local riders Will Radula-Scott and Lewis Sonvico showed some impressively styled spins, but it was another local, Sam Cullum, who took the 'Most Stylish Rider' award. Stomping consistently - a testament to the time he's spent riding proper-sized kickers as part of the GB Freestyle team - Sam's steezy bag of tricks tricks included big 7s and textbook back rodeos. Becky Menday meanwhile impressed the judges enough to earn herself the 'Best Female Rider' award. But when the session finished and the dust had settled, there was little doubt in most people's minds that Nuddsy had done enough to take the title. As the winner of the first leg of the tour, he will be heading to Austria in April to compete against the other winners from all over Europe in the Chosen Series final, and there couldn't be a better representative for UK snowboarding. If he whips out those tens again, who knows, we could be looking at Nuddsy as European champion too!
As MC Lucas Bramall and Nike UK's representative Sam Nelson handed out the big cheques, there were smiles all round - especially when Nuddsy started posing for shots with Nike's 'host' for the night, Jamie Nicholls, who appeared only as a cardboard cut-out. Yes, that's right, a cardboard cutout. Apparently the real Mr Nicholls was busy riding in the Relentless Big Air Stuttgart, meaning that we had to make do with a two-dimensional copy! But don't worry Jamie, it's not like anyone would have taken photos of your cut-out in a variety of compromising positions and posted them on Facebook or anything. Surely not? ;-)
Keep your eyes peeled for the video highlights of the Hemel leg, dropping soon, and have a gander at nikechosenseries.com for more info on the tour - the next stop of which is in Hochkonig in Austria on December 28th.
NIKE CHOSEN SERIES UK RESULTS
Winner and 'Chosen One': Andy Nudds
Most Creative Rider: Angus Leith
Most Stylish Rider: Sam Cullum
Best Female: Becky Menday