Burton New Zealand Open Pipe Qualis won by 14-year-old!

NZ Open qualifiers - this isn't the kid who won it btw

What are they feeding the kids in New Zealand? First there’s this ridiculous video of children who sound about 10 double corking everything in sight and now there’s this – a 14-year-old Japanese kid has just beaten the field of qualifiers to go through to the Burton NZ Open semi-finals in first place!

The pint-sized prodigy Taku Hiraoka threw down a run that went: method, crippler, backside 540 mute, frontside inverted 720, with a huge Haakon flip to finish, that earned him a cool 87.83 points. Just behind him came Keito Kumazaki with a score of 87.51. Bad weather apparently blighted many of the riders’ runs, but the Japanese shred-heads managed to soldier on regardless.

The story was the same with the women’s qualis – as the day went on, the weather got worse and many of the ladies struggled to land their tricks. Again though, the Japanese pulled through, claiming four of the five semi-final spots available. Hikaru Oe took the top spot with an impressive 95.00 points in a run that started with a Lien air, backside 540, frontside 540, backside air, and a stalefish. Haruna Matsumoto was second with 87.67 points, and Ryoko Iijima third with 79.83 points. Akiko Miwa and the German Silvia Muttermuller also qualified.

With the invited riders being given a direct passage through to the semi-finals, the competition is set to get more fierce, as the likes of Iouri Podlatchikov, Louie Vito and Kelly Clark are unlikely to roll over and let the kids win – but the fact remains that Hiraoka’s first place is a seriously impressive achievement. We’ll be keeping an eye on him in future!


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