Lake Wanaka, New Zealand—The Burton NZ Open kicked off to a flying start today at the Snow Park, with judges wowed by the high standard of snowboarders competing in the slopestyle event.

Pro snowboarders Kevin Pearce and Hana Beaman, both of the United States, beat more than 100 competitors in total throughout the day to take away the winning titles, and $5000 cash each, in the men’s and women’s slopestyle events.

New Zealand riders Stef Zeestraten and Abby Lockhart both made it to the top-five in the finals.

The technical slopestyle course started with an urban stair feature, moving to a variety of rails, down to a 14m jump, followed by an 18m jump. Riders completed the course by either taking on a wall ride, a gap to rail, or over a jump box.

Pearce and Beaman won their events because of their smooth, controlled performances, the judges said.

Pearce (18) was one of the few snowboarders to ride the down-flat-down rail, landing switch and completing a cab 9 spin (taking off backwards, spinning two-and-a-half times in the air, and landing forwards), continuing his good form through to the end of the course. Pearce, who won the slopestyle event at the Burton Australian Open last year, said he was happy with his performance: “The jumps won it for me, as well as staying solid and doing everything clean.

Beaman (23) was one of the few females to ride the more difficult rail at the top of the course and completing it with solid rotations to end up with a flawless finish. Already having won the Burton US Open slopestyle competition last season, the New Zealand win was another under her belt. “I didn’t ride to my best level, but I had a good time and I rode solid.

Burton NZ Open head judge Jason Grossi, from the United States, said the judges were impressed with the high calibre of riders: “Riders have come here from all over the world, and the New Zealanders have really stepped up. They were pushing everyone else to ride better.

Burton NZ Open event organiser Reuben Yeoman said he was thrilled with how the first day of the three-day event went. “The conditions were excellent and the riders were outstanding. We’re looking forward to another brilliant two days ahead.Print-quality images are available through the official event website, www.opensnowboarding.com. The user name to access these is: nzopen06, and the password is: presspass. Please ensure that all images are credited to Burton NZ Open, as well as each individual photographer.

Slopestyle Results:

MENS

1. Kevin Pearce (USA)
2. Scott Lago (USA)
3. Mikkel Bang (NOR)
4. Matts Kulisek (CAN)
5. Stef Zeestraten (NZ)
6. Jah Harris (NZ)

WOMENS

1. Hana Beaman (USA)
2. Emily Thomas (AUS)
3. Ellery Hollingsworth (USA)
4. Leanne Pelosi (CAN)
5. Abby Lockhart (NZ)
6. Mary Sallah (USA)

For more information on the Burton New Zealand Open Snowboarding Championships, visit www.opensnowboarding.com.

To get the latest results from the event sent to your cell phone, sign up for free MOTOUPDATES text messaging. Just text “MOTO to 8824. Note: Initial registration is $0.20. All event text messages are free.