What strange things fascinate people. A huge crowd watched a selection of international and home grown riders hucking some super sick tricks over a 35 foot gap. The jump sliced and diced a few people:some of the Japanese riders were redefining their roles as Kamikazes. New Zealander Matt Findlay broke a few ribs after catching an edge on the landing but no one noticed because one of his friends filled in as a substitute. The crowd seemed to be pleased by the fact that some heroic snow boarder was risking life and limb for their entertainment. A warm up to this event was the Hawea Hotel Rave and the Rip Curl Heli Challenge:an extreme skiing/snowboarding competition held over the ten days prior. The Rave was a sensible two days before the Rip Curl Streetstyle Big Air: the 3rd year it has run. The public were promised a pro fest at this pre party but all I noticed were lots of colourful lights and many people charging.
The competition came down to local pride versus the rest. A campervan full of Canadians turned up, and Rob Dow and Devun Walsh stomped a few crowd pleasing tricks for Canadian pride. The competition leaders were the ones who landed their tricks, with flips being the flavour of the night. Ollie Burke, a Wanaka local, took first place with a selection of seriously tweaked grabbing flips, and a styley 540 Stoney Melloney he spray painted W.S.C (Wanaka Skate Club) on the ramp as a good luck charm. He is sponsored by Atlantis’s, Concept and The Boardhouse. New Zealand adopted American, Evol rider Rick ‘Sic Rick’ Clairmonte stomped a front flip in the finals for second, making a one/two for local pride. Austria’s Maggo (Marcus) Strelle floated a few clean rotations for third and New Zealand’s Quentin Robbins inverted himself for fourth (watch out for this man in Arnette’s next video). Sasha Ryzy from Australia won first place from the strong competition of Josianne Brunau of France (2nd) and New Zealand’s Vic Newman (3rd). The high level of riding from all these individuals rocked the crowd.
The After Party was held at Barrows in Wanaka. After the prizes were announced a full partying riot kicked in. Wanaka has wild snowboard parties, and they always reach an entertaining point of pure chaos¿this year it was the Arnette boys versus the rest in a rugby style scrum/sumo wrestling match.
Super thanks to Rip Curl for being the main sponsors of this competition, and Tony Harrington who conceived and nurtured this international event. To top it off, Mother Nature dumped 3 feet on the local mountains that evening. FINAL RESULTS MEN
1ST Ollie Burke (NZ) Concept, Atlantis, Boardhouse.
2ND Rick Clairmonte (USA) Evol.
3RD Marcus Strelle (AUSTRIA) Flow.
4TH Quentin Robbins (NZ) Arnette,Unit,Simple, Rachie.
5TH Arlo Barnett (NZ) Unit.
6TH Takamasa Kato (Japan)
7TH Andre Mortimer (NZ) Salomon.
8TH John Harris (Canada)
9TH Tom Rechel Flow.
10TH Grant Quinn (Aust) Flow, Palmer, Dragon, Fila.
11TH Ryan McCune (Ak USA)
12TH Kentaro Watanabe (Japan) Burton, Fishpaw, GShock.
13TH Rob Dow (Canada) Switch, Vans, Rewind, Hyperlite, Iris.
14TH Steve Scott (NZ) Arnette, Quicksilver, Reef.
15TH Deni Bevan (NZ) Burton, Volcom, Oakley.
1ST Sasha Ryzy (Aust) Firo, Burton, Oakley, Volcom.
22ND Josiane Bruneau (Canada) Sims, Powerbar.
3RD Victoria Newman (NZ) City Snowboards, Sessions.
4TH Nagako Mort (Japan) Sub20, Salomon, Briko.
5TH Yasuko Akutsu (Japan)
6TH Natsumi Arahari (Japan)