Cardrona, New Zealand - August 15th, 2009: The Swatch TTR 5Star Burton New Zealand Open came to a climactic close today with history making Halfpipe runs from one of the most heavy-hitting rider contingents the NZO has ever seen. US riders and former TTR World Champions Kelly Clark and Shaun White each bagged their first results and Halfpipe titles of the 09/10 season along with 850 TTR ranking points while fellow US pipe shred Mason Aguirre moved into the Tour Lead.
While many riders locked in two results in New Zealand by competing in both the Slopestyle and Halfpipe, White only claimed one TTR result, moving him into World No. 10. Luke Mitrani's second place moved him into World No. 15, while Kokubo's third place finish bumped him into the TTR Top 30. After struggling slightly in yesterday's Slopestyle with a fourteenth place finish, Mason Aguirre managed to bag enough points with a fourth in the pipe to move into Tour Lead ahead of now World No. 2 Sebastien Toutant (CAN). Charles Reid, also from Canada, holds on to TTR World No. 3.
While the pipe remained a little softer than most prefer, the finals still hosted some incredibly progressive riding on all fronts. Japanese hero Kazuhiro Kokubo set the pace early on with a huge Mctwist off the first hit and massive spins in typical Japanese fashion. But as the riders continued to drop in, it quickly became apparent that double corks were the name of the game with a close battle opening up between Shaun White and Luke Mitrani for top spot on the podium.
Mitrani's double cork 900 off the first hit of his first run in the finals raised the bar for the remaining competitors, with only Shaun White able to outdo him after laying down back-to-back double corks in his second and winning run that included a frontside Lien air, backside 900 Melon, frontside 1080 Stalefish, switch double cork 1080 stalefish and frontside double cork 900.
Similar to the top tier competition among the men, the women's field saw a matchup build between Chinese rider Jiayu Liu and US pipe champion Kelly Clark. In 2008, Liu managed to beat out Clark in the New Zealand Pipe taking second place, but today in 2009 Clark put it all together to earn her first Title result of the season. Clark's run included a FS Air, BS 5 Indy, FS 7 Tail, Cab 7 and a FS 5 Indy and she now sits as TTR World No. 7. Jiayu Liu now finds herself in the TTR Top 25 with a second place with Zhifeng Sun rounding out the NZO podium in third.
Despite only finishing eighth in today's Halfpipe contest, Jamie Anderson (USA) maintains her TTR Tour lead with her win in yesterday's Slopestyle event. Norwegian rider Lisa Wiik moved up into World No.2 with Silvia Mittermueller of Germany sitting comfortably in World No. 3.
With the Swatch TTR 5 Star Burton New Zealand Open complete, focus now switches over to the next Southern hemisphere event, the legendary 4Star Stylewars in Falls Creek, Australia taking place from August 24th to 28th, 2009. Head on over to ttrworldtour.com to read the freshest news, full result lists, most detailed blogs, statistic-rich rankings and action packed video-highlights as the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour ventures into the 2009/2010 season.
Top 10 Season 09/10 TTR World Snowboard Rankings as of 15.08.2009:
- Aguirre, Mason USA 3341.75
- Toutant, Sebastien CAN 3316.36
- Reid, Charles CAN 3313.87
- Longo, Arthur FRA 3311.08
- Horgmo, Torstein NOR 3301.1
- Haller, Christian SUI 3292.11
- Holvik, Tore NOR 3282.88
- Sandbech, Stale NOR 3281.51
- Lago, Scotty USA 3276.46
- White, Shaun USA 2269.95
- Anderson, Jamie USA 3389.06
- Wiik, Lisa NOR 3349.91
- Mittermueller, Silvia GER 3336.65
- Pancochova, Sarka CZE 3329.06
- Maas, Cheryl NED 3321.6
- Candrian, Sina SUI 3304.91
- Clark, Kelly USA 2286.69
- Davis-Meehan, Michaela AUS 6248.5
- Sadar, Cilka SLO 3224.2
ABOUT SWATCH TTR:
Founded by Terje Haakonsen and industry innovators in 2002, the Swatch Ticket To Ride (TTR) World Snowboard Tour is a non-profit, rider-driven organization with the mission "to create the highest quality competitive snowboard environment in the world, using authenticity, accessibility, innovation as guiding principles". Since its foundation, the Swatch TTR Tour has been developing into the most exposed snowboard tour worldwide featuring global grass root and key independent freestyle snowboarding events over a ten-month period from Southern to Northern Hemisphere locations. Events are rated via a 1-through-6Star system, with points allocated accordingly, a 6Star event holds the highest (1000 points). Any rider participating in these events, from up-and-coming to professional talent, earns ranking points and a position on the Swatch TTR World Ranking List. The top male and female rider based on an average of their best six results of the season (5+1 system) is crowned Swatch TTR World Snowboard Champion. For more information visit www.ttrworldtour.com