Danny Davis easy livin’ with a backside tailgrab. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

PERISHER BLUE, AUSTRALIA (September 2, 2008) – Today saw the second day of the Burton Australian Open go down at Perisher Blue Resort, where men’s and women’s halfpipe qualifications took place. Athletes from all over the world were vying for a coveted spot in Thursday’s semi-finals and a chance to grab a piece of the $50,000 AUD prize purse.

Sage Kotsenburg snaggin’ that top spot starting with a lofty front nine. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

The men were first to drop into the pipe this morning under cloudy skies, where 14 men were boiled down to six. Sage Kotsenburg (USA) took the top spot in men’s halfpipe qualifications by putting down a solid run that started off with a frontside 900 melon into a backside 540 mute, followed by a frontside 720 indy, into a switch frontside 720 mute, finishing with a stylish melon to fakie. Aussies Scotty James, Samuel Murphy and Charlie Steinbacher, in addition to Chris Sörman (SWE) and Marco Grilc (SLO) advance on and will be competing against invited riders Mason Aguirre (USA), Danny Davis (USA) and Kevin Pearce (USA), among others.

Chris Sörman floating through the mist and into second place. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

The women’s field was dominated by Paulina Ligocka (POL) who stuck an extremely strong run, outscoring her nearest competitor by over 20 points. Ligocka, riding in her first competition after an injury set her back last year, proved that she is still a force to be reckoned with. Her second run, which scored her a massive 89.17 points, started off with lofty frontside air, followed by a method air, into a 540 tailgrab, followed by a backside indy, finishing with a 720.

Lauren Stavely blasting ahead of the competition with a frontside air. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

Joining Ligocka will be two Aussies, Erin Tanner and Lauren Staveley who advance on to Thursday’s semis and will take on the likes of NZO halfpipe winner Jamie Anderson (USA) and Olympic gold medalist, Hannah Teter (USA).

“The men and women’s halfpipe qualifiers showed a glimmer of brilliance with the inspired riding of Sage Kotsenburg of the US and young Scott James of Australia leading the way,” said Competition Director, Greg Johnson. “Paulina Ligocka showed that she is back in a big way by locking in the top spot, truly an outstanding effort.”

Men’s Results

1 Sage Kotsenburg        USA                QUIKSILVER      90.00
2 Chris Sörman             SWE                BURTON           85.17
3 Marko Grilc                SLO                BURTON           80.17
4 Scott James                AUS                —                  74.50
5 Samuel Murphy          AUS                —                  73.67
6 Charlie Steinbacher    AUS                FORUM            55.67

Women’s Results

1 Paulina Ligocka          POL                BURTON            89.17
2 Erin Tanner                AUS                BILLABONG       68.33
3 Lauren Staveley          AUS                —                   47.83

The Burton Australian Open continues tomorrow with the men’s and women’s slopestyle qualifiers. For further information visit here and watch live coverage of the finals and semi-finals here.