Burton Australian Open 2008: Competition Underway

The second day of the Burton Australian Open go down at Perisher Blue Resort, where menís and womenís halfpipe qualifications took place.

Burton Australian Open Sage Kotsenburg (USA).  Copyright: Chris BoadleAthletes from all over the world were vying for a coveted spot in Thursday’s semi-finals and a chance to grab a piece of the $50,000 AUD prize purse.

The men were first to drop into the pipe this morning under cloudy skies, where 14 men were boiled down to six. Sage Kotsenburg (USA) took the top spot in men’s halfpipe qualifications by putting down a solid run that started off with a frontside 900 melon into a backside 540 mute, followed by a frontside 720 indy, into a switch frontside 720 mute, finishing with a stylish melon to fakie. Aussies Scotty James, Samuel Murphy and Charlie Steinbacher, in addition to Chris Sörman (SWE) and Marco Grilc (SLO) advance on and will be competing against invited riders Mason Aguirre (USA), Danny Davis (USA) and Kevin Pearce (USA), among others.

1 Sage Kotsenburg USA QUIKSILVER 90.00
2 Chris Sörman SWE BURTON 85.17
3 Marko Grilc SLO BURTON 80.17
4 Scott James AUS --- 74.50
5 Samuel Murphy AUS --- 73.67
6 Charlie Steinbacher AUS FORUM 55.67

The women’s field was dominated by Paulina Ligocka (POL) who stuck an extremely strong run, outscoring her nearest competitor by over 20 points. Ligocka, riding in her first competition after an injury set her back last year, proved that she is still a force to be reckoned with. Her second run, which scored her a massive 89.17 points, started off with lofty frontside air, followed by a method air, into a 540 tailgrab, followed by a backside indy, finishing with a 720.

Joining Ligocka will be two Aussies, Erin Tanner and Lauren Staveley who advance on to Thursday’s semis and will take on the likes of NZO halfpipe winner Jamie Anderson (USA) and Olympic gold medalist, Hannah Teter (USA).

Burton Australian Open Chris Sorman (SE).  Copyright: Chris Boadle“The men and women’s halfpipe qualifiers showed a glimmer of brilliance with the inspired riding of Sage Kotsenburg of the US and young Scott James of Australia leading the way,” said Competition Director, Greg Johnson. “Paulina Ligocka showed that she is back in a big way by locking in the top spot, truly an outstanding effort.”

1 Paulina Ligocka POL BURTON 89.17
2 Erin Tanner AUS BILLABONG 68.33
3 Lauren Staveley AUS --- 47.83

Boarder in a halfpipe.  Copyright: Oliver Kraus
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