When: April 1, 2008
Where: Laax, Switzerland
Richard Hookes. Cab 9. Photo: Andrew Hingston.
7s and 9s were the order of the day as the British Champs kicked off its aerial antics in Laax.
The Onboard news team rocked up to Laax this morning where we’ll be reporting on all the action from this, the umpteenth British snowboarding championships. As with the BEO, the Brits has been based in this snowboard-friendly Swiss resort for the last 4 incarnations and that looks set to continue with the guaranteed shred-equivalent of red carpet being rolled out: kick arse freestyle facilities.
When I just wrote that we’d be reporting on ‘all’ the action, I kind of lied. We missed the Trespass boardercross yesterday due to a bunch of office stuff I won’t bother to relate, but suffice to say James Foster took his title back in the men’s, and for the ladies Zoe Gillings was head and shoulders above the rest. And that also included most of the men, being that her final run’s time would have seen her in contention if she’d had a penis, being that she posted the second fastest time of anyone other than Foster.
Anyway, the Quiksilver Big Air was the mouth watering dish on today’s menu, and from the off it was clear there were a bunch of new faces who were looking up for taking a bite at the mum’s Sunday roast that would best sum up this title. After last year’s controversy, the head to head aspect was abandoned in favour of the old fashioned 2 hits, best one counts formula. And probably a more thorough scrutiny of passports.
Despite the flat light, the big booter was attacked with a vengeance. And the knuckle claimed a few of the less fortunate. Burton’s James Carr hooked on take off and looked to be heading for a fs 9 until the reality of the speed-sapping hook became apparent: knuckle and back collided leaving the young buck with a suspected compressed vertebra. Get well soon, bozz. There were a few other heart-in-mouth moments, but I think pretty much everyone came away relatively unscathed.
Jamie Nicholls. Photo: Andrew Hingston.
So, to the action. In the grom’s division, unsurprisingly the Halifax prodigy Jamie Nicholls scampered away with the win. Word on the street is Jamie was putting down the 9s on the big kicker, but elected to play it safe in the finals by getting his extending landing gear fully down on a bs 7. Young Henry Shackleton also deserves props for taking on the big kicker, at a mere 12 or so years old. Imagine how big that frickin’ thing looked to him!
On to the senior girls and the first I saw heading in was a name I didn’t know: Claire Frost. Well, shows what I know as she landed two textbook backside 5s to bag the win ahead of Samantha Rogers, a young girl with a bright future too as her frontflips showed. Lindsay Ashdown rounded out the podium.
In the senior guys, again it was a mix of established and lesser-known faces who were making some noise. Andy Nudds had a mean fs 7 on him that was put down well, Jack Shackleton did the same with a cab 7 while the brothers Kern – Nate and Seb – were going for backside 9s and 7 respectively. Seb was having a bit more luck of the two, but none of these guys had enough today to break the top 3.
Third, eventually, went to my bet for the nicest guy in snowboarding – Nelson Pratt. Nellie stomped a nicely held cab 9, but half slid the landing which will have knocked him down a few points. Ben Kilner grabbed second with, to my mind, a backside 7 that you’d be hard pressed to find done better. Sure, a bs 7 ain’t the techest trick in the book, but the Scotsman’s style was from another level, holding the grab for an eternity, corking it out and stomping it with a boom that reverberated around the valley. But first went to the pretty unheard of Rich Hookes whose cab 9 nose was put down perfect. Fresh from 4th place in the Dalikfodda team at the Oakley Jib-Vid, where he’d sent a double backflip into pow in their sick short film, the word is Rich – at 27 years old – has only been riding for 3 years. But it looks like the boy’s got some mad talent, or some hell for leather attitude, or a healthy combination of both coz he fully deserved his first British Big Air title. Mad props, dude.
Right, we out. Pipe is up tomorrow, as will a report be shortly after.