Local Wanaka Snowboarder, Stef Zeestraten (NZL), 27, has defeated a field of more than 50 international riders to claim the Open Men’s division of the Billabong Bro Down presented by Xperia Sony Smartphone 4-Star World Snowboard Tour event which wrapped up at Snow Park near Lake Wanaka, New Zealand today.
More than 90 competitors representing 15 countries took to the perfectly groomed course that featured an impressive variety of new obstacles. The drop in feature lead into a junkyard consisting of a petrol pump and concrete mixer; from there it was straight into a down rail over a container before a daunting triple jump line, each consecutive jump measuring approximately 40ft, 50ft and 60ft plus. The finish feature was a choice of either a pole jam or flat box.
Zee’s winning run was the very first of the final, the local favourite registering 79.30 points (out of a possible 100) from the judges. He began with a gnarly cab 270 gap to the down rail, followed by a frontside 720, a backside 900, switch backside double cork 1080 and a switch 50-50 on the final feature which Zee said he was “actually surprised” he landed.
The last competition Zee entered was in February, the Slope Japan, finishing 12th. Zee’s last win was in the 3-star rated World Tour event the Dew Jam, held at Mt Buller, Victoria, Australia in July of 2010.
Although Zee isn’t chasing points, Zee now has 500 valuable World Tour ranking points next to his name, US$5,000 in prize money and a swag of prizes that included a state-of-the-art NEXF3 single lens kit camera Sony Camera.
Japanese rider Yuki Kadono (JAP) was second on the final start list and the 16 year-old answered back immediately, locking in the second highest scoring run of the final 78.20 points (petrol pump tap, frontside lipslide to fakie, cab 540 underflip, front 1080 tail grab, back double 1080 and a nice little 50-50 frontside 540 exclamation point to wrap up the run). But as happy as Kadono was, the score fell a little short, coming in behind Zee by just over a point.
Defending Billabong Bro Down Champion Roope Tonteri (FIN) of Finland landed his run no problem, but fell just shy of the top spot on the judges sheet by two points. Three days of riding into a 90-day stint in New Zealand and competing in his first event of 35 scheduled in his itinerary, Tonteri has a long season ahead with plenty to look forward to.
Today’s result is a personal best for Open Women’s Division winner, Christy Prior (Auckland, NZL); the 23 year-old goofy only began competing internationally last season and she has already secured a wildcard for the upcoming invite-only Burton High Fives (Snow Park, NZ, Aug 15th-18th).
Prior’s run included an air over the petrol tank, a boardslide onto the rail, a frontside rodeo 540, a cab 540, backside 360 and then a method air off the pole to finish. Prior achieved a mini milestone with her win, placing on the podium’s top spot ahead of experienced local Wanaka local and Qualifying winner Shelly Gotlieb (Wanaka, NZL).
Canadian Tyler Nicholson (CAN) managed what Tonteri hoped for by going back-to-back in the Men’s Junior division. The 17 year-old 2011 Bro Down winner was going to enter the Open Men’s but decided against it following seven months rehab off the snow. In the World Cup at Stoneham, Quebec, Nicholson came up short on a cab 900, hit the knuckle and snapped his fibula and ruined his ankle.
The Junior Women’s division was decided on Day 1 with Aussie Alex Fitch (AUS) placing first ahead of Biba Turnbull (AUS) and Kiwi Fiona Brunton (NZL).
The Billabong Bro Down presented by Xperia Sony Smartphone is the first Southern Hemi stop on the 2012/13 World Snowboard Tour. The 10th annual Bro Down (held in August 2011) was the first of its kind on the global calendar since the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Executive Board confirmed the discipline for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Snow Park NZ is widely regarded as the best location for international teams and athletes to train in their off-season, along with the cream of the Southern Hemisphere’s top riders - making the Bro Down one of the most hotly contested Slopestyle events anywhere in the world.
The Billabong Bro Down was presented by Sony Xperia and supported by Sony, Mountain Dew, Skinny, Von Zipper, Dakine, The Edge, DVS, Snow Park NZ and the World Snowboard Tour.
Billabong Bro Down presented by Xperia Sony Smartphone
Snow Park, NZ Aug 3rd - 4th, 2012
1st Stef Zeestraten (NZL) 79.30pts
$5,000, plus Sony NEXF3 single lens kit camera valued at $999.95, 500 World Tour ranking points
2nd Yuki Kadono (JPN) 78.20pts
$3000 plus Sony HDRPJ200 projector Handycam valued at $899.95, 471.15 World Tour ranking points
3rd Sven Thorgren (SWE) 77.70pts
$2,000 plus Sony DSCHX20V Cybershot camera valued at $599.95, 450 World Tour ranking points
1st Christy Prior (NZL) 51.10pts
$2,500 plus Sony NEXF3 single lens kit camera valued at $999.95, 500 World Tour ranking points
2nd Shelly Gotlieb (NZL) 471.0pts
$1,500 plus Sony HDRPJ200 projector Handycam valued at $899.95, 471.15 World Tour ranking points
3rd Panka Gyarmati (HUN) 38.00pts
$1,000 plus Sony DSCHX20V Cybershot camera valued at $599.95, 450 World Tour ranking points
1st Tyler Nicholson (CAN) 72.60pts
$300 plus Sony MDRPQ2 Headphones valued at $129.90
2nd JJ Rayward (NZL) 54.00pts
$200 plus Sony MDRPQ2 Headphones valued at $129.90
3rd Tim Herbert (NZL) 52.40pts
$100 plus Sony MDRPQ2 Headphones valued at $129.90
1st Alex Fitch (AUS) 37.25pts
$300 plus Sony MDRPQ3 Headphones valued at $69.95
2nd Biba Turnbull (AUS) 35.50pts
$200 plus Sony MDRPQ3 Headphones valued at $69.95
3rd Fiona Brunton (NZL) 16.50pts
$100 plus Sony MDRPQ3 Headphones valued at $69.95