The Oakley and Shaun White Air and Style went down in the majestic Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing this afternoon and saw 24 of the world's best riders battle it out head to head for a share of a bulging €75,000 prize purse. Despite our plans to live blog the event being foiled 'due to rights restrictions' on the live stream, the World Snowboard Tour have uploaded all of the runs for us to catch up on.
As you would expect from any 6 star event these days, the level of riding was nothing short of insane. Slow, stylish double corks seem as stock as frontside 360's used to be and spins of 1080 and above seem to be the norm, with many riders going above and beyond of course. Mark McMorris was the first rider to stomp a backside triple cork 1440 in the event and while you probably would have expected to see it from the high-flying canuck, nobody imagined that 16 year old Yuki Kadono, a rider that few people had heard of before today (we hadn't to be honest), would step up and chuck the very same trick, in the very last run of the competition, to steal the victory at the last possible chance from Peetu Piiroinen. Watch the winning run below (it's utter madness - he's 16 ffs!).
Peetu Piiroinen had been looking incredibly strong throughout and was in poll position with this textbook cab 1260 melon until Yuki dropped in to pip the win at the last possible chance:
Stale Sandbech landed himself in third place for the second time with this super tech backside 1440 mute:
Peetu and Stale's hits were undoubtedly stomped slightly cleaner than Yuki's, but there really is no arguing with that final result. Everyone loves an underdog and what a way to leave an impression! Is Yuki Kadono going to follow in Shaun White's footsteps as the next young snowboarding prodigy? His victory today does infact make him the youngest winner of the Air and Style ever, besting the previous record set by Shaun back in 2003...