Last Saturday (24/10/09) we witnessed one of the UK’s finest indoor ski competitions, the London Ride International Big Air at the Metro Ski and Snowboard show. This was the sixth time the Ride event has graced the Metro Snow show with its presence, and it is a crucial date on the calendar of any aspiring British athlete as it one of the few times they can get to test themselves against a field of international competitors on their own turf (or in this case snowflex). This year we were lucky enough to have some of Europe’s finest riders come over for the event, including freestyle legend Flo Wieser, Yannic Lerjen and new boy PC Fosse, who’s profile vid has certainly got people talking. However of the thirty strong competitor field, about 85% of them were Brits.
The afternoon qualification rounds came and went in a blur of moving metal and spinning bodies; two warm up runs and three judged runs meant that by the end of the session the crowd had been treated to around 150 individual tricks, ranging from styled out 3’s to whirlwind 9’s.
It was a tough one to judge, but luckily there were some stand out performances that made picking the top ten slightly easier. However of the ones not to make it through to the finals it is worth mentioning a few to keep an eye out for in the coming months. The girls were particularly impressive. British champion Katie Summerhayes looked typically at ease amongst the guys; throwing 7’s to the delight of the crowd, not to mention the MC, Pat Sharples, who pretty much lost his voice with astonishment. 14 year olds Rowan Cheshire and Sissy Herant were equally as impressive, and look to be fast catching up with Katie, at this rate the judges all agreed it was only a matter of time before one of the girls breaks through to join the finalists. Everyone was equally impressed with Cal Sandieson’s performance, who at 11 years of age seemed dwarfed by the kicker, but nonetheless was slaying it with styley 3’s – definitely one to watch.
With the field wittled down to 10 from the original 30, the judges thought they were going to be in for an easier ride, then James Machon flew out of the gates for his first run and nailed a nine nose. If anyone thought that this contest was going to start slow before building to a climax they were wrong. With James setting the tone, the riders knew there was no point throwing a safety trick and then stepping it up slowly, they had to better James’s trick from the outset or they may as well go home now. Suddenly the field went mad, 7’s and 9’s were becoming a staple, meanwhile a few stuck to the easier spins, mixing it up with technical grabs. Joe Tomlinson pulled his bow and arrow 5 like he was shooting for the moon, and PC Fosse narrowly missed his japan-nose. Meanwhile Tyler J Harding was stomping corked 7 mutes like an X-games veteran rather than the 5 foot, 13 year old that he actually is. Woodsy pulled out his stock switch rodeo 7 japan that saw him jump to the top of the board, but only for a moment as Murray Buchan stormed down the run in before launching a 9 nose that he not only managed to style out (a feat on a kicker of this size) but also stomp at the bottom of the landing.
Flo Wieser was equally as impressive nailing a nine, though not quite as far down the landing as the Scotsman. James Machon continued to threaten the leaders with another nine, this time with a shifty thrown in at the end for good measure. Meanwhile British freestyle legend, Paddy Graham decided the judges needed a bit of respite and showed off his extensive repertoire with an old school Backflip Cossack, and while it wasn’t enough to win any of the cash prize available, the crowd (and judges) definitely appreciated it.
In the end Murray Buchan’s 9 remained unassailable, and nobody came close to going as big (not even Murray in fact). Second to him was James Webb, who until his last jump was pretty quiet, then out of nowhere decided to nail a switch rodeo 900. The difference between 3rd place and 5th was less than a point, but in the end Woodsy’s switch rodeo 7 japan was just enough to see off the James and Flo.
This was another great Ride event, and once again it is clear to see that the level of British freetyle skiing is getting healthier year on year. Obviously this is pure speculation, but we suspect that the fact that the majority of the competitor field are Grom Camp participants may have something to do with it…
Photos: Pally Learmond
Pos. Surname Name Best Average score
1 BUCHAN MURRAY 17.66666667
2 WEBB JAMES 17.5
3 WOODS JAMES 16.66667
4 MACHON JAMES 16
5 WIESER FLO 15.83333
6 TOMLINSON JOE 15
7 HARDING TYLER J 14.66667
8 LERJEN YANNIC 14.5
9 GRAHAM PADDY 14.5
10 FOSSE PC 13.5
For those of you who weren’t there, here’s a video James Machon sent us to give you an idea of the jump:
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