There was double joy for Japanese snowboarders on the final day of the halfpipe World Cup event at the Cardrona ski field near Wanaka today.
Kohhei Kudoh won a spectacular men’s final, the 18-year-old drawing gasps of amazement with his final run which scored 48.9 points, among the highest in World Cup history.
He sometimes cleared 4m above the lip of the pipe to claim his first World Cup win, having twice finished second behind compatriot Ryoh Aono.
The order was reversed today, with yesterday’s top qualifier Aono still leading after the first run today before being passed by his brilliant compatroit.
However, Aono holds onto his position atop the World Cup rankings.
The highest-placed New Zealander in a respectable sixth place was Aucklander James Hamilton, with Ben Stewart 13th.
Shiho Nakashima took out her second women’s World Cup win with a technical and well-executed first run that put her clear in the final.
Nakashima headed Sina Candrian of Switzerland and Linn Haug of Norway third to climb to the top of the women’s world rankings.
New Zealand’s Juliane Bray was ninth in the women’s competition.
The next stop on the snowboard halfpipe World Cup tour is at Saas Fee, Switzerland next month.
The video below shows you where these guys learnt their skills – sure looks like fun and do you notice the slopes are almost empty – not sure whetehr that has something to do with the distance you will have to travel or whether people are put off by the Japanese attempt at yoddling! Thanks japantravel for the video and to the Otago Daily Times for the report.