|(Snow Park, NZ) Saturday, August 4th, 2012:Mother Nature has smiled upon organisers of the $30,000 Billabong Bro Down 4Star World Snowboard Tour event, with semis and finalists in all four divisions being decided in good conditions at Snow Park, near Lake Wanaka in New Zealand yesterday.More than 90 competitors representing 15 countries took to the perfectly groomed course that in 2012 features an impressive variety of new obstacles. The drop in feature leads into a junkyard consisting of a petrol pump and concrete mixer. From there it’s straight into a down rail over a container before a daunting triple jump line, each consecutive jump measuring approximately 40ft, 50ft and 60ft plus. The finish feature is a choice of either a pole jam or flat box.
Defending event champion, Roope Tonteri (FIN) of Finland qualified third in Heat 1 of the blue ribbon Open Men’s division to keep his chances of back-to-back titles well and truly alive, but the day’s highest scoring run of 82.00 points out of a possible 100 belonged to proud Kiwi import, Dutchman Stef Zeestraten (NZL).
Zee’s first run consisted of a switch 270 frontboard, a frontside 720 tail grab, a backside 900 Indy to switch backside 1080 mute grab on the 60 footer, followed by a 50/50 backside 180 off the pole jam to finish. The Bro Down mark’s Zee’s return to competition after suffering a serious ankle injury in February last year. The injury required surgery in October, but today’s performance indicates Zee is definitely fighting fit.
Another Kiwi rider, Hamish Martin (NZL), a local Snow Park, NZ coach, also impressed, he was the only rider of the entire field to hit the big gap to box located on the course’s final feature and he made sure he did it with style.
The 25 year old has finished well out of contention in the Bro Down the past four years, but today his super tidy run ensured his place in the semi-finals. Swedish duo Tor Lundstrom and Sven Thorgren were the only riders capable of overtaking Martin’s high-scoring first run, the pair managing to leapfrog the Kiwi by just a few points during the last runs of the day, scoring 77.75 points and 77.25 points respectively.
“Stoked, it’s the first time I made the semis or final in four years so I’m over the moon”, said Martin. “Conditions were reasonably good, some iffy moments where you could see some of the big dogs wanting to get stuff done, but I think they chose to stay on the saf er side, rather than try and give it their all, but everyone rode real well. Tomorrow is the day, make or break, when you’ll have to up the anti and hopefully take one, two or three (on the podium).”
Three local riders from the Open Women’s division also managed to qualify for tomorrow’s final with Shelly Gotlieb (NZL), Stefi Luxton (NZL) and Christy Prior (NZL) all factoring among the top eight.
Gotlieb made it look easy, qualifying in first on 53.00pts with a run consisting of a frontside 50-50 to frontside 180 out, followed by a cab 540 then frontside 360, a backside 720, before finishing with a 50-50 off the pole, however it was Hungarian Panka Gyarmati (HUN) who recieved the loudest cheers from the chairlift, pulling a stylish backflip on the third, and biggest, triple jump.
“There’s a strong bunch of girls coming out, all wanting to do a comp and the Billabong is a good one for them to do. There’s some top riders, some medium, some starting out wanting to do Slopestyle. I think we’re looking at a good final day tomorrow weather-wise and I’m sure we’ll see a good comp,” said Gotlieb.
Local rider, Tim Herbert (Wanaka) was earmarked for a big result in the junior men’s and he didn’t disappoint, qualifying first from 19 starters for tomorrow’s final.
“The course is real different this year, the park crew have been getting creative, especially in the top section. There’s all sorts of new features, they put five days of grooming into it. Nowhere see that anywhere else except for Snow Park. The jumps are perfect, couldn’t ask for any better, I’ve just been back from riding in the States, everyone knows where Snow Park is on the map and it’s so good to be back home competing here,” said Herbert.
A full list of points and qualifiers is provided below. Please note starting line-ups for the finals differs to the rider order below.
The 4Star World Snowboard Tour rated Billabong Bro Down event offers $30,000 in prize money, along with some insane prizes from presenting sponsor Sony, at the top of the heap is a Sony NEXF3 single lens kit camera.
Women Slopestyle Finalists & Day 1 Results
Men’s Qualification Ht 1 – Top 11 advance to semis (field increased due to no shows)
Men’s Qualification Ht 2 (9 riders advance to semi-final)
Junior Girls Final Results (presentation to take place Saturday arvo)
Junior Boys Finalists & Day 1 Results
Billabong Bro Down Final Day Event Schedule: