14-year-old Japanese ‘freak’ takes 2nd in NZ Open Halfpipe

As anyone who followed our coverage of Kazuhiro ‘Kazu’ Kokubo at the Olympics this year knows, Japan has a knack of churning out incredible pipe riders. What we really love about them too, is they like to go HUGE. Yesterday the world learned of a new talent from the Land of the Rising Sun, Taku Hiraoka, who at just 14 years old grabbed silver at the 2010 Burton Open in New Zealand. Hiraoka, a virtual unknown coming into the contest, surprised everyone with a run which combined technical rotations with monstrous airtime. Even more impressive was how smooth the kid was. In doing so, he pushed US Olympian Louis Vito into third place and inspired one local website to label him a ‘teen snowboarding freak’.

Watch the video now, and as Clive Tyldesley once said about a young Wayne Rooney, “Remember the name!”

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