Kelly Clark & Shaun White Dominate US Open Halfpipe Competition

2002 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark and 2006 Olympic gold medalist Shaun White won today’s US Open halfpipe competition, the culminating event in the international Burton Global Open Series, Presented by Motorola. Following the halfpipe awards, Jake Burton, Founder and Chairman of Burton Snowboards, presented the first ever Burton Global Open Series Championship awards to Torah Bright and Shaun White, handing them each a $100,000 cheque – the largest single payout in snowboarding history.

“Man, I’m so pumped right now, and I’m definitely pumped on Jake for throwing this much cash out there," said Shaun White. “It’s one of those things where I was going for the title, but it didn’t seem attainable. A few years back, I felt like I had a US Open curse on me because I never won it, now I feel like the curse is broken for sure."

Torah was literally speechless when told that she had won the Global Open Series championship title. “I can’t talk – oh my goodness. It’s like I scratched a scratchy (lottery ticket) and won $100,000 – if only it was that easy. Now I’m going to buy a black Porsche for my dad – it’s his dream car."

For eight months, riders have been competing at Burton Global Open Series halfpipe and slopestyle events in New Zealand, Switzerland, Japan and now the US, earning points towards the championship title. Torah Bright earned the record-breaking payout after taking first place in halfpipe and 6th place in Park Style at the Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open 2007 and second place in slopestyle and third place in halfpipe at the 2007 US Open. Shaun White moved up the ranks in the Burton Global Open Series standings by taking first in the halfpipe and second in Park Style at the Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open and third in slopestyle and first in halfpipe at the US Open.

In the halfpipe finals, it was a tight race between halfpipe superstars Kelly Clark, Torah Bright and Gretchen Bleiler and showcased some of the most progressive riding in women’s halfpipe history. Kelly took the lead after her first run with a frontside air, backside air, frontside 540 indy grab, frontside 720, Cab 360, earning $20,000 and a Motorola cell phone. Torah’s air to fakie tailgrab in her first run earned her the $5,000 Best Trick award presented by Nintendo and a new Nintendo Wii system. Gretchen took second place in the women’s halfpipe finals followed by Torah in third place.

“It’s pretty amazing to win the US Open halfpipe event again," said Olympic gold medalist and Vermont native Kelly Clark. “I’m the only girl who has won the US Open halfpipe three times, so it’s a huge honor for me."

The men’s halfpipe finals featured the heavies from the sport including Mason Aguirre, Travis Rice, Danny Davis, Kevin Pearce, Steve Fisher, Antti Autti and of course Shaun. Shaun stole the show from the start and just kept outscoring himself. His best run earned him 94.75 points for a frontside 1080, Cab 1080, frontside 900, backside 900, frontside 720 ending with a switch alley oop backside rodeo 720. Danny Davis finished in second place for the second year in a row. And Markus Malin from Finland rounded out the podium with third place. Michael Goldschmidt won the $5,000 Best Trick award presented by Nintendo Wii and a Nintendo Wii system for his double grab air to fakie.

In addition to winning the US Open halfpipe contest and the Global Open Series title, Shaun White was also named the male TTR World Snowboard Tour Champion. The women’s TTR World Snowboard Tour Champion will be announced after next week’s Roxy Chicken Jam in Park City, Utah.

Check out the webcasts of the event on www.burton.com.

Images ©2007 Robb Farrington