Twas a late night for some on Wednesday, with the Urban Knights VJ dirty, grimy session keeping people in the Indy Bar til late. But others (including me) were up and at em for the halfpipe contest this morning. I always feel a bit sorry for the female and younger male riders as their practice and qualifier rounds take place early in the morning – not good if you’ve had a late night. But when it’s spring and the pipe is soft, the earlier the better seems to be the rule so the girls actually lucked out.
Lesley McKenna has won the halfpipe contest here many times but she’s not here this year – opening up the championship to other riders. Kate Foster set the standard for the day’s riding – going huge out of the massive pipe. Also looking impressive was little Katie Ormerod. She’s a mere 12-years-old but has got fantastic style and tons of pop – definitely one to watch as she grows.
Kate Foster was the title winner, unsurprisingly, with Stefani Nurding coming second and Ivy Taylor taking third.
We also got to celebrate the birthday of one of the masters female riders – Kat Miller – and cheered on Sue Garlick from Westbeach, who made a surprise and welcome appearance in the same category and picked up second prize.
The younger guys had a great session, with several making it to the final. Sam Turnbull and Angus Leith had some fun in the practice runs as Angus jibbed Sam’s board as he held it up on the side of the pipe.
The men’s finals saw some awesome riding – huge rotations and massive airs. For years it’s been Dom Harington and Dan Wakeham tussling over the title. Now they’re increasingly challenged by the brilliant Jamie Nicholls and Sam Cullum – who is just returning to competition after the serious pelvis injury he suffered at the Metro Ski & Snowboard Show in London last year.
In the end Sam took third, Dom came second and Jamie took the title and £400 in what James Thorne reckoned were controversial results.
Stu Brass (who took second in the masters) also pointed out to the assembled crowd that, although he was injured and not competing today, Ben Kilner was doing great things for the sport through his performance at the Olympics in Vancouver recently.
Also of interest at the prize giving, Charlotte Bankes picked up her second title of the Brits. She won the boardercross on Tuesday and today added the skiercross title to her collection. Her brother, who won the boardercross, came second in the skiercross. A talented family, for sure.
Tonight we’re headed to the Indy Club again for the 7 inch Throwdown. Anyone can bring records and Stu Brass has threatened to bring out his copy of Nelly The Elephant, so it might be an interesting night.
However it might end a little earlier than planned. There’s bad weather on the way and there’s a 1pm deadline to get the competitions finished on Friday. There are 80 riders expected in the slopestyle contest so the organisers have opted to give them all one qualifying run and then the finalists will get two runs. So it’s an early start and an early finish tomorrow – fingers crossed the weathermen get it right and at least give us enough time to get done by 1pm.
Today’s board was the Volkl Impress SQD 148. Didn’t get a whole lot of riding in as I wanted to watch the halfpipe but I got a few runs in on it. It’s a twin tip board with a rocker shape. Even though it’s billed mainly as a freestyle board I found it pretty stable on slush and speedy pistes, would be happy riding this all over the mountain. Also loving the grip-laquer for the old-school grip tape look. It’s functional too – acting like an invisible stomp pad for getting off lifts and one footed tricks (although I can’t say I attempted any of the latter today). Really nice all-mountain play toy – one I’d happily spend more time getting to know.
More info on the week’s events at www.brits10.com