Day 3 down under was to hold host to the halfpipe comp at TNF Freeski Open. Ready to take the top spots were two Americans – Taylor Seaton and Devin Logan.
Mother Nature has been particularly unhelpful throughout the competition but she could’ve been much worse. That being said, the wind in the early morning made the decision to move straight to a men’s semi final as easy one. The wind would eventually die down to push the riders to go bigger but from the off, it was a conserved approach.
David Wise took the top spot out of the qualifiers with a score of 82.75 followed by Nils Lauper, Guns Kenworthy, Peter Crook, Cyrill Hunziker, Wing Tai Barrymore, Taylor Seaton, Yannic Lerjen, Klaus Finne, Kentaro Tsuda, Kalle Hilden and Geoff Straight. Notable absence from the HP comp was local lad Jossi Wells. He pulled out of the event saying, “My knee is a bit sore today. I decided to be proactive and prevent possible injury so that I can keep charging hard for the rest of the season.” Sound words from the Kiwi and probably something we should all keep in mind when riding.
Skip forward to the finals and it was amplitude and execution that won it for Seaton according to head judge Rafael Regazzonin. Taylor’s run consisted of a 270 on, switch 7 truck driver, right 9 mute, left 9 tail grab, alley-oop 540 blunt and a right alley-oop 540 tail grab, which gave him 84.25. The more impressive feat was that he broke a boot after the first semi-final heat so was on one borrowed boot for the rest of the comp! With a stunning run under his belt and a win, Seaton will be looking towards making himself known for a spot on the USA Halfpipe A Team. David Wise and Gus Kenworthy are in there and they finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
David Wise was a close second to the defending champ after a good run in the semis. With a left 9 nose grab, alley-oop rodeo 360 mute grab, switch left 720 double japan, right 9 tail grab and left 1080 mute grab he managed to clock up 81.25 points – 3 points behind Seaton.
Gus Kenworthy settled for third after a run consisting of a left cork 9 tail grab, right 720 tail grab, switch 720 Japan, allep-oop 540, left 1080 tail grab and a switch alley-oop 720. Completing a very high standard trio, the world number 1 will be disappointed that he didn’t win but he knows he lost out to better runs on the day.
Devin Logan topped the women’s event yet again with a score of 85.25 from a run of a Japan air, left 540 tail grab, right flair, mute air, alley-oop rodeo 540 and a left 540. A better score than Taylor Seaton and well deserved at the same time. Amy Sheehan and Janina Kuzma battled it out for second and third place but there had to be one person on top and the kiwis did not disappoint. Amy Sheehan grabbed second by a point with a left 540, right 360, switch alley-oop 360, straight air and left 720.
Kuzma had a run of a straight air, right 540, left 540, safety air, left 720 and a switch alley-oop. Sheehan grabbed 70.5 points with Kuzma on 69.5 making it a damn close call.
That’s pretty much it… isn’t it? Nope! The North Face Freeski Open returns in September (14th to be precise) with the Big Mountain qualifiers so make sure you keep your eyes on Ski Union for the latest news.