This is how the American Navy's (really?) Big Air event kicked off last night; one of the biggest jumps in the competition circuit gave Halldor Helgason the chance to send one of the most tweaked and extended methods we've ever seen, by no means an 'easy' trick. (We're pretty sure this wasn't switch though, regardless of what the video title says)
This followed on from his slopestyle antics earlier this week; it's so good to see someone at his level not take competitions to seriously. His partner in crime from the slopestyle, Sage Kotsenburg, was killing it too, but sadly neither of them got through to the finals despite throwing some of the most stylish and progressive tricks of the night.
In our opinion anyway; Sage got a backside double cork 1260 with a double tail grab (a double double?) whilst Halldor landed a frontside double cork off-the-toes and back dub 10 method. Videos below...
Anyway, to the finals. This year the technical standard last night would have been the stuff of computer games ten years ago, with all who made it through, apart from Seppe Smitts, landing at least one triple variation. Not that Seppe wasn't impressive to watch, his flat-spun cab 1260 and cab 1440 earning him fourth place. Sven Thorgen spun a rad flat-but-off-axis (what?) 1440 as well as a cab triple under flip, but in this crazy age that was only enough to finish fifth.
The mega-spin-wizzle count went even higher on the podium, much to the confusion of some previous X Games competitors, Pat Moore:
Watching the @XGames big air. I'm confused and dizzy.
— Pat Moore (@PatMoore_nhd) January 25, 2014
And Todd Richards:
Snowboarding is going full rotard. Everyone knows you never go full rotard.
— toddrichards (@btoddrichards) January 25, 2014
'Never go full rotard,' good quote, but you have to admit this was an impressive display of snowboarding's potential, to say the least. A fully camoflaged (perhaps for due to the American Navy theme, at least it wasn't a sailor suit) Stale Sandbech got the bronze with backside 1440s of both the flat and triple-corked variety (that for only third?!), but Yuki Kadono bested him by a whole 11 points with a slightly cleaner backside triple 14 and and the same again with an extra 180.
The deserved winner though was the possible next Canadian superstar Max Parrot with the same back 16 trip as Kadono, but paired with a cab triple 1440, both stomped. After a good performance in the slopestyle qualifiers yesterday he could be a dark horse for Sochi 2014.
So that was that, possibly the craziest snowboard display ever. We're not saying best, it takes more than super-spins to be truly great, and display definitely feels like the correct term; spins of that magnitude are hard to follow with the naked eye and can become a bit mesmerizing and indistinguishable, a bit like being hypnotized. Not saying we didn't enjoy it though!
Anyway, here are the highest scoring tricks from the top three riders, see if you can get your heads around them. Plus, if you're interested, the spin stats from the top five finalist's top-scoring hits.
Total number of inverts: 12
Total degrees spun: 14400°