Westbeach Freestyle Comp 2011

19 Oct

Read the official Westbeach write up here

Saturday 8th October saw the Westbeach Snowflex Freestyle Series 2011 roll into the relatively new Aberdeen Snow sports Centre, and with near perfect conditions for a snowflex competition, it was sure to be another un-missable event on the UK freestyle calendar. Despite being one of the newer snowflex dry slopes in the UK, the level of riding coming out of the almost perfectly sculpted slope is mind blowing.  When you have a combination of good management, typically wet Scottish weather and a gang of dedicated skiers and snowboarders, the result is only going to be some of the best kicker riders in the UK.

Skullcandy’s DJ Aberdeen 2011 – Photo courtesy of Rus Shea

With registration quickly over and done with, it was time for the Jam Session Qualifier to start and it wasn’t long until the slightly damp spectators were being treated to back rodeo 5’s, huge front 7’s and equally stylish 9’s. Again, living proof that a jam session format reduces the pressure and allows the riders to throw down their biggest tricks. As the 45 minutes came to an end it was a tightly contested competition with any one of the riders good enough to make it into the top 6 Under 16’s, and the top 8 men in snowboarding.  But it was the style, technicality and amplitude that eventually separated the field.  The standard of women snowboarders was also a positive sign for the British scene with Vaila Chapman, local Lara Wood, Bradford University student Anna Beswick and Salomon rider Sophie Addison all making it through to the jam session final.

With only 8 places up for grabs in the first of the two finals for the Under 16’s ski, it was a battle from beginning to end but it all came down to who went the biggest, who was the most stylish and who landed the more technical tricks. After a difficult decision for the judges it was Chris McCormick, Angus Jacob, Fraser McIssac, Cal Sandieson, Tyler J Harding, Harris Booth, Finlay Jacobs and Cameron Wood who made up the final 8.

Chris McCormick Aberdeen 2011 – Photo courtesy of Russ Shea

Even with the closest indoor dome being over 100 miles away, a wide range of rails and boxes means the locals are not rail deprive. Not to neglect the snowboarders who prefer rails it was time for the Stepchild sponsored rail jam. During the ‘Child Support’ rail jam the riders had a choice of a down bar or a box, and had 30 minutes to throw down.

Neil Cruikshank Aberdeen 2011 – Photo courtesy of Russ Shea

The usual array of rail trickery was witnessed including front boardslide pretzel out, 270 on 270 out, there was some truly sick riding but it was Ben Parker a local unsponsored shredder who took away the Stepchild Jibstick.

Following the Rail Jam it was time to focus on a 30minute jam session on the perfectly sculpted quarter pipe, with a stack of prizes going to the skier who got the highest air. With the rain coming down hard, speed wasn’t an issue and after each hit, a new record had been set, but it was Lewis Wilson who took the honours as he boosted straight up and out of the Snowflex quarter pipe.  After a short break it was time for the qualifying skiers to step it up once again and claim their spot in the super final, with only 3 spots available for each age category it was going to be another close call.

With the slope running super fast and everyone used to the wide run in and long landing; there were no warm up runs in this jam session.   In the Under 16’s anything less than a switch 7 wasn’t going to cut the mustard. It was looking promising for Chris McCormick as he stomped a 1080, only for Tyler J Harding to step it up with a switch 10. The jam session was definitely heating up. In the men’s category there were more 10s, switch 7s and a handful of crowd pleasing backflips, but it was Cory McVicar in the women’s category that really impressed as she nailed a huge 9.

Tyler J Harding Aberdeen 2011 – Photo courtsy of Russ Shea

Next up it was the snowboarders, in the Under16’s it was the same final as last year with Matt Corey, Fin Bremner and Matt McCormick all making it through to the final 3. The men’s category proved to be a hard decision for the judges with everything from cab underflip 7’s to switch backside rodeo 5’s being stomped but it was Westbeach rider Jesse Smith, Grenade rider Danny McCormick and surprisingly unsponsored Matt Gibson making it through to the super final.

Matt Gibson Aberdeen 2011 – Photo courtesy of Russ Shea

For the skiers it was Head’s Chris McCormick, SnoZone’s Cal Sandieson and Salomons Tyler J Harding deservedly making it through for the Under16, with Sam Harrison, David Bilsland and Grant Donald taking their place in the men’s final.

With only two runs each in the super final the pressure is on to land the best trick. The rider’s have the decision as to whether they go down the safety run route or all out ‘im taking home a stack of prizes’ route.  For the Under 16’s it was the stack of prizes which made their decision, as each of the snowboard groms threw down 7’s but with only Matt McCormick landing his, he had the upper hand. In their second run he once again landed bolts, this time a backside 9, with Matt Corey landing a front 5 and Fin Bremner just sneaking out a cab 7.

The skiers made their way to the top of the steep run for their super final with the Under 16’s category continuing to raise the standard with Cal and Chris throwing identical tricks but it was Tyler who once again stepped it up and nailed a switch 9 when it mattered.  In the men’s final it was another close call with Sam landing a super stylish 7, David upping his game by landing a 9 and Grant Donald taking the top spot with a crowd pleasing 540 screaming seaman followed by a huge 7.

Grant Donald Aberdeen 2011 – Photo courtesy of Russ Shea

In the Mens snowboard category it was another case of winner takes all, with Matt Gibson and Jesse Smith landing almost identical tricks and Danny McCormick cleanly landing a back 9 nose grab. With the pressure piling on Matt and Jesse they both fell on their second runs, resulting in the judges asking them to return to the top to battle it out for 2nd and 3rd place. With Matt Gibson taking a slam in his run, it was down to Jesse Smith to land on his feet and take 2nd place.

Danny McCormick Aberdeen 2011 – Photo courtesy of Russ Shea

As the second leg of the Westbeach Snowflex Series 2011 came to an exciting end, it was time for the winners to be announced and for the van load of prizes to be dished out. Big shout out to all the riders, spectators and sponsors, and we’ll see you all again at ‘OWN IT’ on Saturday 22nd October. Be there or be…………… well………….. somewhere less awesome!!

Check out the video footage of the day’s actionSnowboardSki

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