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MASON AGUIRRE AND KELLY CLARK TAKE THEIR SECOND WIN EACH AT THE BURTON NZ OPEN SNOWBOARDING CHAMPIONSHIPS
By Press Release
Saturday, 5 August 2006
Lake Wanaka, New Zealand – August 5 2006 – US Olympians Mason Aguirre and Kelly Clark today proved they were true snowboarding champions after they won the Burton NZ Open halfpipe competition – their second win each at this year’s Open.
New Zealand’s biggest snowboarding event concluded today at Snow Park NZ with eight women and 16 men pushing their limits on the massive 150m long halfpipe, encouraged by a crowd of about 1500 and spurred on by the top prize of $5000 in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
Aguirre’s winning run included back-to-back 1080s and back-to-back 900s, while Clark was consistent with her amplitude, getting about 4m above the lip. Both also stole the show at last night’s invitational quarterpipe, with the best combination of landed tricks, winning them another $2500 each.
Clark (23) has returned to her top form after a five-month break from arm surgery and concussion. “I’m so stoked. To come back and do well in two different contests is really encouraging,” she said.
Aguirre (18) said he felt a bit rusty after not riding the halfpipe for three months, but the high standard of competition being displayed pushed him to ride harder. “I didn’t think it was going to be that high caliber of a contest, so the pressure was on.”
Olympian Juliane Bray was the only New Zealander to make the top six in the competition.
Burton NZ Open head judge Jason Grossi, from the United States, said he was incredibly impressed with Aguirre and Clark’s performances: “It’s proven that these riders are such good athletes. They were totally killing it last night, and coming back today - through a long day - and putting it together; it really shows everyone what they have. These riders are champions.”
Crowds of more than 8000 have gathered over the last three days to watch about 180 competitors battle it out for the $50,000 cash prize pool, including prizes supplied by Motorola.
The Open got off to a great start on Thursday with the slopestyle event, where Kevin Pearce and Hana Beaman, both of the United States, impressed judges over the technical course to win their events and take away $5000 cash each.
On Friday, riders fought hard on the 150m-long halfpipe for a hotly contested place in the finals. Friday night’s main event, the invitational quarterpipe, blew away a crowd of about 2500 as some of the world’s best riders performed tricks and got huge air for cash prizes.
Event organizers are ecstatic with how the NZ Open has gone. “The team work from the riders, the sponsors and the organizers has been amazing. This event has put New Zealand well and truly on the snowboarding map,” Burton NZ director Guy Alty said.
Snow Park NZ general manager Sam Lee said the Open had exceeded his expectations. “Between the weather, the organizers, the attitude of the spectators and our small crew at Snow Park, it has been fantastic. This event has been huge for us. We can build anything here, and the riders have been in a great mindset to push the limits of the sport, which is what it is all about.”
The NZ Open kicked off the 2006-2007 Burton Global Open Series, presented by Motorola. The Open Series constitutes five premiere snowboard events in five regions of the world. The winners of the 2006 Burton NZ Open slopestyle and halfpipe competitions are invited to compete in the next Open event, airfare courtesy of Burton Snowboards. Due to the recent cancellation of this year's Australian Open, the winners will be advancing on to the European Open in Laax, Switzerland, January 20-27, 2007.
For the first time ever, the Burton New Zealand Open is also a part of the Ticket To Ride (TTR) World Snowboard Tour that gives points to riders based on their results at participating TTR competitions. Created by world-renowned snowboarder Terje Haakonsen as an alternative way to rank riders, the 2006/2007 Tour is without question the largest culmination of independent Freestyle snowboarding events under one common tour organization. For more information on the TTR World Snowboard Tour, visit www.ttrworldtour.com.
For more information on the Burton New Zealand Open Snowboarding Championships, visit www.opensnowboarding.com.
BURTON NZ OPEN HALFPIPE FINALS RESULTS:
1. Kelly Clark (USA)
2. Sophie Rodriguez (FRA)
3. Soko Yamaoka (JPN)
4. Tricia Byrnes (USA)
5. Ellery Hollingsworth (USA)
6. Juliane Bray (NZ)
1. Mason Agguire (USA)
2. Louie Vito (USA)
3. Danny Davis (USA)
4. Crispin Lipscomb (CAN)
5. Steve Fisher (USA)
6. Rob Kingwell (USA)