ALL JAPANESE VICTORY AT LG FIS SNOWBOARD WORLD CUP
LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand (September 7, 2008) – The final day for the LG FIS World Cup started with a closely fought semi finals followed by a spectacular final which saw an all Japanese victory with Kohhei Kudoh and Shiho Nakashima taking out the men's and women's titles respectively.
The standard of riding in the men's finals was supreme with 18-year-old Kudoh's final run drawing gasps of amazement from the crowd. His resulting score was one of highest ever given out in the FIS World Cup Halfpipe's history. The score of 48.9 literally catapulted him into first place along with his massive amplitude, at times four metres above the lip of the pipe. This was Kudoh's first World Cup victory, twice having finished second behind team mate Ryoh Aono. However, his winning run of a method air, backside 10, Haakon 7, frontside 9 finishing with backside 5 mute, saw him finally beat his closest rival for first place.
Head judge, Ste'en Webster, said Kudoh's run was one of the best he had ever seen in his judging career. "Every hit in his winning run was sky high. As judges we hang out for years to see a run like that," he said. "His first hit was four metres above the lip of the pipe and he maintained amplitude for the rest of his run, grabbing everything solidly and landing everything perfectly. This was probably one of the best events we've seen in New Zealand to date and the work that Cardrona has put into the halfpipe has paid off as it allowed the riders to achieve this level of competition."
In second place, Ryoh Aono (JPN) had been the clear leader with his super high and technical first run that included 9's and 10's but Kudoh soon put paid to that. Highest scoring semi finals qualifier of the day, Crispin Lipscomb (CAN) took the final men's podium spot in third place with two consistent runs that firmly announced the start of his campaign for 2010. "It's so good to be back in New Zealand, it's like coming home and the level of support I get here is amazing," he said. "The riding today was top end, it was no easy field – I just went big and clean and that's how you get to the podium. Now I'm just looking to continue riding well and build confidence towards winning an Olympic medal."
In the women's competition, Shiho Nakashima took out her second ever World Cup victory with a technical and well executed first run that put her clearly in the lead with no-one else managing to close the gap with their second runs. Three points behind her, Sina Candrian (SUI) took second place while Linn Haug (NOR) came in third.
Highest placed New Zealander was James Hamilton of Auckland, finishing a respectable sixth in one of the strongest World Cup men's finals on record. Other New Zealand results are Juliane Bray in ninth and Ben Stewart in 13th.
Following today's competition, Ryo Aono maintains his position at the top of the men's FIS Halfpipe World Cup rankings while Shiho Nakashima takes pole position in the women's.
The next stop on the LG FIS Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup tour is at Saas Fee, Switzerland on October 31. For further information and full results, visit www.fis-ski.com.