G.O.A.T. Grand Final, Saturday 7th November

19 Nov

After six months and twelve rounds, the G.O.A.T. series all boiled down to one night, where riders’ ability to call upon all the tricks learned during the series would be put to the ultimate test. The likes of Andy Wilson, Frazer Rennie, Vanners McLean and Andy Laird were absent, but it was still a strong field that headed out to compete, with Nicol encouraging a fun and relaxed atmosphere to the competition right from the start.

Barry Parker reaches for the air up there. LeBron who?

The rules were simple: three attempts at each trick, the rider with the most tricks landed wins. With the temperature dipping below zero, the riders were keen to get moving and soon set about stomping their stock tricks. In a hectic start it was Grant Donald and Ally Gray that stood out early on, landing trick after trick on their first attempt. Kris Bell struggled at first, missing his signature backside 540 twice in a row. Still, with the pressure on he managed to deliver on his third attempt, and soon he was right back on form. Fin Bremner was in a similar situation with his cab 5, eventually nailing it off the kicker after two sketchy tabletop attempts.

After a while the field started to separate, as the more challenging tricks proved too much for some riders. Ally, Nicol and Barry Parker had cruised through the rest of the list, with all air tricks coming from the kicker, but they all came unstuck on the switch backside 5. Barry came agonizingly close on his last attempt, throwing a perfect spin but bailing over his heel edge on the landing. Andy Gibson managed to step up and land his first ever switch back 5, but came up short over the battleship. In the end it was only Fin and Kris who got all the tricks on the list, both finishing off with a switch back 5 over the tabletop.

Matt Hellingoe throws in a grab, and borrow's Wilson's 'Blue Steel'

The ski final was a three-way battle with all the riders giving it everything. Matt Hellingoe hit a smooth 720 on his first attempt, but previous missed tricks meant that it was too late to catch Grant and Angus Jacobs. Grant couldn’t get his switch 5 but, as Angus had missed a trick earlier in the night, it looked like he’d done enough to take the win. Angus required his first ever switch 5 to draw level and take it to sudden death. With nothing to lose, he charged at the table and floated it round perfectly on his first attempt. With that, both competitions were still very much alive, and it headed into a sudden death trick-off…

First trick out the bag for the boarders was a frontside 3 in the quarter pipe. Kris dropped in and nailed it first time. Even with the pressure on, Fin hit a 3 that was just as big and smooth as Kris’. While the boarders headed back up for the next round, Grant and Angus took on their trick: a 720. Grant had fallen on his first attempt earlier in the night, while Angus had stuck his, so it was a very apprehensive Grant that was first to drop. Much to his own surprise, he nailed it, getting a solid rotation and showing great strength to ride away. Angus couldn’t match him and Grant was declared the winner, the crowd showing huge appreciation for both riders.

Meanwhile, the snowboard contest got more and more tense. With a backside 3 called, Fin once again followed Kris’ lead to send the sudden death into a third round: 50-50 to boardslide to fakie over the battleship. As usual, Kris owned the feature, even throwing in a noseslide on the down section. Fin was looking good but slid off the side of the rail before the end, and it was all over.

    

The riders headed to the shack for the prizegiving and a chance to warm up. As well as Grant and Kris, there were prizes for Fin, Angus, Matt, Andy Gibson and Natalie Riley, who all picked up some of the swag that had been generously donated by the slope.  All in all, we’d seen a phenomenal dedication to progression from the finalists. It was also amazing to see just how well the younger rippers coped with the pressure, and how strongly they stood up in a comp dominated by older, more experienced riders. A huge congrats to the deserving champions Grant Donald and Kris Bell, and to all the riders who made the final such a memorable event.

GOAT Champion (ski): Grant Donald

GOAT Champion (snowboard): Kris Bell

Best Junior (ski): Angus Jacobs

Best Junior (snowboard): Fin Bremner

Most improved (ski): Mathew Hellingoe

Most improved (snowboard): Andy Gibson

Dedication award: Natalie Riley

 

Thanks to Dave Jacobs and Katie Bremner for the photos, and to all the riders and supporters on the night.

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