The TTR FIVE(5)STAR Oakley Arctic Challenge 2007 goes down as one of the most important chapters in snowboarding history as Terje Haakonsen (NOR) sets a new World Record for the Highest Air at an incredible 9.8-metres — whilst Kevin Pearce (USA) claims event victory and takes over the TTR World Snowboard Tour lead.
On Friday 02nd March 2007, at Midtstuen, Oslo, against the backdrop of a 12-metre Norwegian Viking sword in fine Arctic weather, Haakonsen (NOR) reached the 9.8-metre marker above the scientifically constructed Quarterpipe with a perfectly executed backside 360. The record-breaking feat, part of The Oakley Arctic Challenge (TAC) ‘Highest Air’ contests, beat the previous 2001 record of 9.3-metres held by Heikki Sorsa (FIN). As the world went ballistic, Haakonsen (NOR) as event owner and TTR patron, continued with the organization of The Oakley Arctic Challenge in preparation for the following day’s Quarterpipe Super Finals.
Despite Saturday’s misty, wet weather, the mass of Norwegian snowboard fans were not disappointed as yet another groundbreaking day in snowboarding progression enfolded. Fourteen semi-finalists competed for eight Super Final spots in a fierce competition that saw riders continually push the boundaries of transition. Judged on consistency, amplitude and trick variation, overall impression also based performance on height.
The Oakley Arctic Challenge Super 8 Final showcased a highly charged American/Norwegian battle. It was consistent, stand-out rider Kevin Pearce (USA) — pulling off smooth alley-oop chuck flip Japan amongst his sack of tricks – who was ultimately pronounced victorious. Claiming the event title, 15,000 USD and a hefty 850 TTR Ranking Points, Pearce (USA) landed straight in the TTR World Nr 1 spot on the Men’s TTR World Tour Ranking List presented by Swatch. Climbing an incredible five places, Pearce’s (USA) event win provides him his 6th TTR result of the season and adds to season Slopestyle victories at the TTR FOUR(4)STAR Burton New Zealand Open & recent TTR FIVE(5)STAR Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open. Pearce topples nearest rival Iouri Podladtchikov (RUS) from his 4-week TTR lead into the TTR World Nr 2 spot by a slight margin of 29.47 points.
Pearce (USA), over the moon with his double-result, explained: ‘I’m pretty excited to take the Tour lead and was not expecting it at alI. I knew I had to finish at least 7th to move up into the TTR Top 3, but winning TAC and landing in the TTR World Nr 1 spot was a surprise! Terje’s invited me to to a heli-trip tomorrow so I won’t make the World Superpipe Championships but I’ll definitely be at the US Open.’
Two-time TAC winner and local hero, Henning Marthinsen (NOR), showed an impressively high level of spins off the quarter and gracefully accepted 2nd place overall, albeit missing the hat-trick. Adding 800 TTR Ranking Points, Marthinsen (NOR) jumps up the Ranking List from Nr 9 to TTR World Nr 3 and looks in good form to be a strong contender for the TTR World Snowboard Champion title.
Third place went to the sublime Pat Moore (USA) who also secured the Best Trick prize with a stylish McTwist revert 6-metres off the coping. Young gun and Vermont local Jake Blauvelt (USA) also received a special ‘Highest Air of the Day’ prize, having stomped an impressive 9.4m backside air, just short of Haakonsen’s (NOR) fresh record. Overjoyed at winning on home soil in front of his heroes, Staale Sandbeck (NOR) won the ‘Rookie Session’ and a 5000USD sponsorship prize from Protest.
Watch in awe Terje Haakonsen’s (NOR) record-breaking 9.8-metre backside 360 Highest Air, and the complete finals from the Oakley Arctic Challenge 2007 on www.freecaster.com.
The Oakley Arctic Challenge 07 Top 8
1/ Kevin Pearce (USA) BURTONSCOTT
2/ Henning Marthinsen (NOR) NIKEACG
3/ Patrick MOORE (USA) FORUM
4/ Kim Rune Hansen (NOR) BURTONANON
5/ Terje Haakonsen (NOR) BURTONOAKLEY
6/ Jake BLAUVELT (USA) FORUMOAKLEY
7/ Steve Fisher (USA) SIMSHELLYYHANSEN
8/ Danny Davis (USA) BURTONAGDRAGON