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Run With Gravity

Peetu Piiroinen wins the Finnish battle at the O'Neill Evolution 2009 quarterpipe final

Davos, Switzerland, 10 January 2009. It was a battle to the Finnish in more ways than one at the O'Neill Evolution 2009 quarterpipe final.

Peetu Piiroinen, the 20 year old Finn from Helsinki, beat his countryman Risto Mattila in a closely contested final, with the two riders matching each other trick for trick, and Peetu just taking the win with a huge bs540 on the final run.

Risto had led the way in the first two runs as both riders raised the level for this dramatic final. Risto's first massive bs 540 around the 5 meter mark, was followed by the same from Peetu who could only manage to reach the 4 meter mark.

Then came the battle of the bs airs. Risto started it with a huge 7.0m bs air – ensuring himself the $9,000 Highest Air prize, as Peetu reached only the 6.7m mark.

With the lead in his hand, Risto went back to the bs540 with more height and style, earning himself 82.5 points, and what looked like the event victory.

But that was before Peetu pulled out possibly the trick of the whole competition – the most stylish and perfectly executed bs540 reaching the 5.5 meter mark and earning him 93.83 points and the victory.

"I am feeling so good right now," Peetu said. "It's been a long day. I am so stoked to win this. It's also nice riding against a friend in the finals like this, because for both of us it doesn't matter who wins, we are just happy for each other."

Talking about their matching tricks, Peetu said "I was watching a bit what Risto was doing, we didn't talk about it and plan to do the same tricks though."

Risto Mattila was forced to settle for second place for the second year running at the O'Neill Evolution, but the 27 year old Finn was not despondent – quite the opposite in fact.

"I am pretty stoked," he said. "I just started to get used to the massive quarterpipe in the finals. I don't mind taking second place again. I am on the podium!"

In third place was the Dutch O'Neill rider Steve Krijbolder who narrowly missed out on the highest air prize with his 6.9m air. "I feel super good," he said. "This is my first finals so it was so amazing to finish third."

Janne Korpi missed out on the chance to close the gap on Chas Guldemond's lead, crashing the landing on his second run in the quarterfinals and breaking a bone in his knee.

"I am frustrated," Janne said. "But it's good that Peetu won because after I won the slopestyle I agreed to split half the money with him. But the deal was if he won the quarterpipe he would split half the money with me – I knew he would win it."

It was a spectacular final to end a spectacular O'Neill Evolution 2009, as the young superstar Canadian O'Neill rider Seb Toutant agreed; "Its one of my favourite events," he said. "It feels so special when you are here. It's such a good mix of all the good riders, the lights, the crowd and knowing it's on live TV," he said. "When you are doing an event at the top of the mountain with no crowd and no cameras, you aren't as motivated or you don't have as much fun."

"I enjoyed last year as well," he said. "But I loved the slopestyle this year, the new format was great, and the quarterpipe was bigger and better. This event gets better and better every time."

Seb finished in the top 16 of the quarterpipe and in 8th place in the slopestyle but continuously impressed the Davos crowd with his huge tricks and confidence. There was no question that he was running with gravity.

"We came up with that theme after trying to look beyond just the competition and understand the nature and the elements behind the sport," said event director Bernhard Ritzer.

"We looked into the basics of what was happening in the quarterpipe as these guys flew through the air. Basically they were using, playing with and fighting against gravity – so we took that theme and ran," he said. "Not only that but we wanted to go back to the nature within the sport, and really bring that through in this event."

The result was a stunning quarterpipe and slopestyle course sitting next to each other at the bottom of the Jakobshorn, with floating ecologically friendly balloon lights, recycled Christmas trees (to be recycled once again as firewood), and snow sculptures to enhance the theme throughout the slopestyle course.

"My favourite moment of the event was probably the slopestyle," said Bernhard. "It was a great addition to the event. It got great feedback from the riders and the crowd especially with the new format."

"This has definitely been the best O'Neill Evolution so far," Bernhard said. But no doubt it will be back next year with even more flair and originality.

1 Peetu Piiroinen FIN F 183.66
2 Risto Mattila FIN F 174.50
3 Steve Krijbolder NED SF 99.67
4 Arthur Longo FRA SF 58.67
5 Antti Autti FIN QF 148.67
6 Chas Guldemond USA QF 132.83
7 Gian Simmen SUI QF 119.33
8 Janne Korpi FIN QF 104.34
9 Manuel Pietropoli ITA 16 125.50
10 Sebastien Toutant CAN 16 111.84
11 Rocco Van Straten NED 16 106.50
12 Adrian Oesch SUI 16 106.34
13 Dimi De Jong NED 16 103.17
14 Kim Rune Hansen NOR 16 92.67
15 Allan Besse FRA 16 79.67
16 Benoit Thomas-Javid FRA 16 67.16
17 Colin Frei SUI Davos Platz 32 129.00
18 Jean Jacques Roux FRA 32 124.00
19 Olivier Gittler FRA 32 102.34
20 Iouri Podladtchikov SUI 32 101.67
21 Pal Sorensen NOR 32 97.50
22 Tim Humphreys USA 32 77.17
23 Ben Stewart NZL 32 76.50
24 Christian Kröll AUT 32 73.66
25 Fredrik Evensen NOR 32 54.33
26 Thomas Franc SUI 32 50.17
27 Nicola Boscacci SUI 32 46.50
28 Davide Vagheggi ITA 32 41.83
29 Ulrik Badertscher NOR 32 0.00
29 Mats Hofgaard NOR 32 0.00
31 Cody Hierons GBR Q 112.00
32 Corsin Simeon SUI Q 111.33
33 Wolfgang Beer AUT Q 106.00
34 Fabian Fassnacht SUI Q 101.34
35 James Hamilton NZL Q 93.67
36 Christian Weber SUI Q 65.67