Kelly Clarkson Repping USA With Top Spot At Burton 'High Fives' Competition
August 18, 2012
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Despite suffering a heat wave in Southern California, the snow sports community got some action on the other side of the world at the first annual Burton 'High Fives' competition at Snow Park in Wanaka, New Zealand. The competition, presented by MINI had quite a dramatic closing in the halfpipe finals with Burton's very own Kelly Clark and Ayumu Hirano earning a cool $10,000 USD for their outstanding runs while the Japanese swept the competition on the men's side.
Kelly Clark and Spaniard Queralt Castellet came out to thrown down in the one-hour jam session that ended with Kelly's second run which included a backside 5, cab 7 and stalefish to earn her a whopping 94.60 and eclipse Castellet by a mere 2.20 points. Kaitlyn Farrington would round out the podium with her score of 75.40.
“The girls rode really great today and Queralt and I were run for run throughout,“ said Kelly. “But in the end I was really happy with my riding and it was so much fun to be putting down 9’s and 10’s in the summertime.”
In the men's halfpipe finals, the Japanese riders clearly stood out from the rest of the competition, sending it out of the pipe with gravity-defying acrobatics. Nowadays, with tween superstars grabbing the spot light in the action sports world left and right, it was 13-year-old Ayumu Hirano of Japan who set the competition standard with his first run and following the highest score of that round with a 92.40 to claim a spot on top. His frontside air, front 10, cab 0, alley-oop rodeo 5 not only impressed the judges but his fellow competitors as well. And for all the skeptics out there, Ayumu blasted the competition at the Junior Jam at this year's US Open in March, shattering all sorts records. 2011 Burton NZO winner Ryo Aono took second with a 89.60 and Kohei Kudo landed a spot on the podium with a 88.60.
“I am so stoked to have placed first today in my third run of the jam at the Burton High Fives,” said Hirano. “I am now ready to go even bigger in my next competition.”
The official press release as follows:
The amazing week of competition started with a non-traditional approach for a snowboarding event as riders showed off some of their unknown talents in unique Kiwi-influenced, off-snow team challenges at Oxbow Adventures, taking place at Ferguson Lodge, and the MINI Countryman Winter Driving Challenge. Riders were grouped into 12 Teams of five to compete in fun and rugged outdoor activities like skeet shooting, ATV racing and knife throwing, to name a few. Heading into the individual snowboarding events, team ‘Low Fives’, consisting of Roger Kleivdal, Kaitlyn Farrington, Scotty Lago, Kyle Mack, and team captain Kelly Clark, had taken a commanding lead in the team challenges. The ‘Bench Warmers’ were in second and went on to achieve solid results on snow, but it wasn’t quite enough to beat the Low Fives team whose strong snowboarding scores rose them to the top. The Low Fives gang took home the trophy and US $10,000 to split between them.
“The Burton High Fives’ creative approach to a snowboarding event was a lot of fun to be a part of,” said Kelly. “My strategy in team selection was to pick great riders with hidden talents like Scotty Lago with shooting and Kaitlyn Farrington with driving. That then set us up to do what we do best - snowboarding.”
Prize money today totalled US $35,000 for the Halfpipe, with an additional US $10,000 going to the winning Low Fives team. The 2012 Burton High Fives has dished out a total prize purse of US $80,000 - the largest to date in New Zealand snow sports history.
The halfpipe awards ceremony was as unique as the Burton High Fives itself, complete with boardgiveaways and live sheep. It was followed by the High Fives Sunset Sessions on the sun-drenched deck at the Woolshed at Snow Park NZ, featuring Dudstown Soundsystem. The entertainment will continue later this evening with the High Fives Closing Party at Opium Bar in Wanaka, alsofeaturing Dudstown Soundsystem.
For fans that missed it, the live webcast of the Burton High Fives can be viewed on demand at opensnowboarding.com. The 2012 Burton High Fives is the first event in the Burton Global Event Series and is a 5star event on the World Snowboard Tour. A special thanks to High Five partners MINI, Nokia, Red Bull, Snow Park NZ, Jagermeister, Juice TV, Skinny Mobile, The Edge, Stoke Lager, and Mighty Campervans.