US Open Pipe Finals
Photos: Nick Hamilton
Words: Joel Muzzey
All of a sudden style matters at contests—at least at this one. All season (one of the most contest-heavy seasons ever), through Grand Prix’s, World Cups, and Dew Tour, we’ve counted up rotations as twirling, double-cork combos have added up to reveal the podium order and yet this weekend, it seems style is what matters. Why the change? What does it mean? Well, that’s up for debate. But today in the pipe—as Iouri Podladtchikov stomped a few of Shaun White’s hammer trick, the backside double McTwist along with huge Cab ten doubles and Louie Vito stomped Cab ten doubles, double crippler, and a giant, last hit twelve, the crowd seemed more than a little surprised at the final outcome. That’s how it goes, though, right? Apparently.
The big winner was Kazuhiro Kokubo. When you watch him, you see finesse, flow, power. His run: Front nine, McTwist, front ten, Cab ten, front ten double. All of it real clean and stylish. A pleasure to watch.
When the massive crowd started booing as Louie Vito’s score posted to the board, it took away a bit of the magic of the moment. But hopped up on Amp energy drink and hot Tweets, the crowd was quickly distracted. Scotty Lago and the Mitrani bros held it down for the Frends crew—they have fun and it shows, they were cruising around and hyping up the crowd. Luke went for the Double-chuk but didnt quite nail it and Lago went bigger than anyone. Scotty took home an extra three grand in pizza roll dollars for the Highest Air award. TTR Superhero Peetu Piiroinen took home a check for 50 grand for his BGOS tour title and also a little extra jing for his trick of the day, a monstrous Cab ten double.
For the ladies, Kelly Clark took home her fourth USO pipe title with a few stomped, lofty runs and she even tried to put down the front ten. Didn’t quite stick that, but whatevs, she has done it and will dial-it in the future. Kelly is gnar, period; she also snapped the highest air of the day for the ladies. Behind her, Kaitlyn Farrington snagged second with back-to-back sevens and an alley-oop five. Young Ellery Hollingsworth got third. She also nabbed that pepperoni pizza loot with a hefty Michalchuk on the first hit. Extra three grand for that one—a banger.
Nobody seemed to notice the absence of Olympic heroes Torah Bright or the Flying Tomato. Actually, there was one mention of Shaun—when a call from Danny Davis and Kevin Pearce was patched in over the PA system and Davis said Shaun should “quit being a pussy” and come ride the pipe. Aside from that friendly jab, the crowd seemed totally entertained by I-pod, Vito, Kaitlyn, Kelly, Peetu and Kazu who were in the zone and putting on one hell of a show.
So, is the contest season over? Pretty much, sorta, almost, we think.
Video by Steve Schultz