At the pipe finals of this year’s US Open Kazu Kokubo laid down what was perhaps the most peculiar pipe run ever seen in the contest’s 30 year history - considering this is an event known for its poachers that is quite some achievement. We wanted to know what was up...
Having qualified directly for the finals by winning last years pipe Kazu was the third rider to drop following Shaun White, who as you will already know tore the pipe a new arsehole with a faultless first run, and Danny Kass. But rather than stoke out his voluminous fan club with the classic Kazu style he side-slipped the pipe and threw his bib into the crowd.
This being days before the anniversary of Japan’s terrible Tsunami we, as well as most others, assumed that he may have been paying homage to those who lost their lives in the tragedy but not wanting to jump to conclusions we thought we would ask Kazu himself.
Onboard: We are assuming that your side-slipping of the pipe was a homage to all those who lost their lives in the Tsunami of last year?
Kazu: Everybody thinks that but no. It was the honourable way to apologize to everyone for not being able to compete.
Onboard: Was it something you planned to do or was it something you did off the bat?
Kazu: It was not planned.
Onboard: Why did you not compete then?
Kazu: Something twisted on a 12 in practice and I knew I couldn’t perform 100%. I thought I could take the first run but I couldn’t.
Onboard: Damn, well what was your opinion of the riding, particularly that of the top three riders, in the contest?
It is the same as last 2 years. If I can learn double rodeo 12 in 3 days more people should learn new tricks in 2 years.
Onboard: True that. You got your place from winning last year but do you know why Shaun didn’t have to do semis?
Kazu: Same as Danny Kass and I. They said last 4 years winners go to finals. It doesn’t really matter. All 3 of us would make finals anyway.
So there you have it from the horse's mouth. All we can say is that we are looking forward to seeing him ride again next year and here’s wishing him a speedy recovery.