After two days of riding the huge kicker at the Stylewars event, shred hungry competitors seemed a little wary of the implications of hitting the big jump.
Andy Finch (USA) had been taken down on the first day of practice and Quentin Robbins (NZ) went down yesterday during the first day of competition. Both riders are legends of our time and both were out injured. So the question was, could a session go down on this 120-foot (40-metre) monster, and who could pull it?
Norwegian Torstein Horgmo (DC, Oakley, Vestal) didn’t mess about today and stepped up with a speed check straight air which he described as, “one of the scariest things I have done in my life. Trying to get the right speed was critical because the landing was so short.”
After the speed was sorted Torstein unleashed his skills on what has been described as the biggest jump in snowboard competition history; 120 feet (36.5 metres) to the knuckle and about 150-160 feet (40-45 metres) to the sweet spot.
Torstein then rolled out 5 hits that went like this: Frontside 7 Mute,150 foot – perfect. Backside 7 Melon, 150 foot – perfect Frontside 10 Indy, 150 foot – perfect Backside 5 Stale, 150 foot – perfect Switch Backside 9 Mute – perfect.
“If I know the speed is good, then I’m good. I am then confident and I’m not afraid anymore, I can then concentrate on my tricks, which is the fun part.”
“I like to do my tricks slow and stylish, I would do the same ones if it was a photo shoot, today didn’t even feel like a contest”.
It was easily the most insane snowboarding ever seen in competition in Australia and the whole mountain seemed to be watching and cheering every time he stomped his tricks in perfect Torstein style.
Other riders were still on the hunt though and a handful of people stepped to the big jump, including Kiwi’s Jacob Koia, Will Jackways, Stef Zeestraten, Clint Allan, Marc Andre-Tarte, Dustin Craven and Nick Gregory.
Standout tricks came from Dustin Craven’s off-the-toe’s frontside 7, Stef’s Switch Backside 5 and Will Jackways Backside 9. Jacob Koia stomped the sickest backside 5 of the day but then came unstuck on an attempted double backflip! What! He survived to tell the tale.
“Seeing Torstein hit it first made me want to hit it and it looked to be working, the take-off was really smooth and the landing had little impact, but the run-in was super sketchy. I’d done a lot of double back flips in comps and in the backcountry, so after seeing that frontside 10 from Torstein I thought I would be stoked to do a double. I was going into the jump thinking ‘I’m about to try the most craziest thing in my life… I was lucky to just get a bit of my board back underneath me.” Jacob explained this afternoon.
Unfortunately both Jacob and Torstein had to sit out the afternoon hip session due to small injuries, which left the door wide open for the overall standings.
After day 2 (out of 3) the standings are:
1. Will Jackways (New Zealand) 140.2 2. Robbie Walker (Australia) 139.8 3. Stef Zestrazen (New Zealand) 138.4 4. Toni-Markus Turunen (Finland) 132.9 5. Wyatt Caldwell (USA) 128.9 6. Torstein Horgmo (Norway) 128.6 7. Clint Allan (Australia) 126.9 8. Shayne Pospisil (USA) 123.1 9. Jakob Koia (NZE) 122.5 10. Ryan Tiene (Australia) 122.2
Stylewars also includes the “Bledisnow Cup” an age-old battle between New Zealand and Australian snowboarders. The winning team is an accumulative score from the top five (5) riders from each country at the end of the event. The winning team takes home a garden gnome.
After a day one lead yesterday by the Aussie’s, the Kiwi’s have now taken the lead.
The final and third day of this epic style battle is set for tomorrow with weather forecasted to be clear. Stay tuned.