This past weekend, top international snowboarders like Zak Hale, Mark Sollors, Dylan Thompson, Yuma Abe, and Ethan Deiss brought their urban rail riding skills to downtown Tokyo for the 3rd annual Burton Rail Days event, where Zak Hale took home first place. Presented by MINI, Burton Rail Days drew the largest crowd ever for an event of any kind in Roppongi Hills. Over 5,000 people turned up and crammed into every available space to witness some amazing urban-inspired snowboarding under picture perfect conditions.
The event started in the afternoon with a free Riglet park for kids as young as three to try snowboarding for themselves. And fans of all ages filled the venue early to catch a glimpse of the completed rail setup that took almost two weeks to construct. The course included unique elements such as custom street art on a MINI Countryman and features painted by Japan’s top graffiti artists, Shizentomotel and Hitotzuki. Massive crowds filled the venue as the doors officially opened and fans were treated to an amazing live performance from DMC World Champion, DJ Kentaro.
(Check the gallery below for some sick stills from the night. Photos by Adam Moran and Fusaki Iida of DMKSnowboard.com)
Burton pro and street riding legend, Jeremy Jones sat on the judges panel and surveyed the field of 16 riders as they sessioned a variety of rails, walls, and transition features in a 40-minute jam to start the contest. The competition was fierce as the field was cut to four riders who moved on to the finals. Zak Hale (USA), Dylan Thompson (USA), Ian Sams (USA), and Yuma Abe (JPN) made their way back to drop-in and prepared to throw down three runs each in the finals to earn a piece of the $27,000 prize purse.
In the end, it was Burton Team Rider Zak Hale (USA) who proved to be the clear-cut winner. Hale posted a top score with his first run but didn’t stop there as he dropped in for his second run and threw down a crowd pleasing Wallride Transfer to a Lip Slide on the GoPro rail, to Alley Oop Wallride on the big wall, beating his own high score and posting a first place score of 88.67. Japanese rider and hometown favorite, Yuma Abe improved his position with his first run, taking second with an impressive Backflip to Alley Oop Wallride. And finally, Ian Sams took home third-place honors with a very technical Frontside 180 Switch 50/50 Half Cab Out.
“It was awesome to come to Japan and see that people are excited about snowboarding," said winning rider Zak Hale. “The setup was super creative and had tons of options, and to win, you needed to be consistent and use the entire set-up."
For anyone who missed the live webcast, visit www.Burton.com/BRD for a full event replay, as well as clips of the finals and top runs.
2013 Burton Rail Days presented by MINI: Final Results
1. Zak Hale (USA) - $15,000
2. Yuma Abe (JPN) - $7,000
3. Ian Sams (USA) - $3,000
4. Dylan Thompson (USA) - $2,000