Ayumu Hirano Qualifies First For 2018 Burton U.S. Open Halfpipe Final—Top Three Runs
Ayumu Hirano might want another shot at Shaun White after coming up with a silver behind Shaun in PyeongChang, but since White is not competing at the 2018 Burton U.S. Open (we haven’t heard why), Hirano will have to settle for a first place semi-finals run leading into finals on Saturday.
Never giving up any emotion to the cameras, Hirano silently laid down a 92.37 on the first day of halfpipe competition with back-to-back 1080s in his signature huge style. Earning the right to drop last in the last major pipe comp of the season, he will have the last say in how the podium shakes out. Expertly pointed out by our own SNOWBOARDER Magazine Editor T.Bird, who is also announcing for the live webcasts this year, Hirano in the flat bottom is almost incomparable. Taking a clean and locked in line, Ayumu consistently keeps his speed throughout his run, allowing him to send each and every hit to the moon. This isn’t breaking news by any means, but Ayumu is one hell of a rider, and we are stoked to get to see him again this Saturday.
Following up Ayumu’s performance, USA’s Chase Josey and everybody’s favorite Aussie, Scotty James, rounded out the top three in qualifiers. Chase landed a perfect double Michalchuk, as well as a switch double Michalchuk on his last run to jump into the top three, while Scotty put down back-to-back twelves to earn his spot in the final. Other standouts in today’s semi-finals were the three junior jam riders that qualified for this event on Tuesday by getting a podium in the 14-and-under competition. You read that right, there were riders as young as twelve dropping today with the recently named silver and bronze medalist from the 2018 Winter Olympics. Jake Canter, Valentino Guseli, and Kyotara Tanaka held their own, finishing right behind the middle of the pack.
With a stacked field of homegrown and international riders, the 2018 Burton U.S. Open halfpipe final will easily live up to its reknowned name. Don’t miss the livestream this Saturday, full qualifying results below.
1 AYUMU HIRANO JP 92.37
2 CHASE JOSEY US 89.12
3 SCOTTY JAMES US 87.25
4 RAIBU KATAYAMA JP 84.75
5 PAT BURGENER CH 80.75
6 BEN FERGUSON US 80.50
7 JAKE PATES US 75.25
8 JAN SCHERRER CH 71.62
9 DEREK LIVINGSTON CA 67.12
10 NAITO ANDO JP 65.00