Japanese boarders dominate Snowboard FIS World Cup opening

At the 2009 Snowboard FIS World Cup kick-off in Cardrona, the snowboarders from Japan have shown once again that one has to have them on the list when it comes down to halfpipe competitions.

Colin Frei in the pipe.  Copyright: Organiser In the strong starter field of the Cardrona halfpipe contest, Shiho Nakashima and Kohhei Kudoh were able to celebrate victory. In the ladies’ final, Nakashima (41.3 points) relegated Switzerland’s Sina Candrian (38.3) and Linn Haug (NOR, 37.4) to the second and third spot. On the men’s side, Kudoh was ahead by a nose in a duel with his fellow countryman Ryoh Aono. Scoring 48.9 points from the five judges today’s winner edged 2007 World Cup winner Aono (47.6) by 1.3 points. Crispin Lipscomb (CAN, 44.6) rounded out the podium in third.

That the Japanese squad would be among the aspirants for the win was expected prior to the competition. But no one would have imagined that they would prove it in such an impressive way at the first halfpipe contest of the 2009 Snowboard FIS World Cup. In fact, even triumphing Kohhei Kudoh, who threw in an almost perfect run deservedly earning 48.9 of possible 50 points, was surprised by the scoring. The perfect result to start a season with: “I’m glad that I finally was able to win a competition”, said the 18-years-old who so far had two second World Cup ranks on his belt.

In Furano and Calgary 2007 he was beaten twice by last year’s winner Ryoh Aono. “We are pushing each other in our team to our maximum. This is very important for me to get the best out of me.” And so Kudoh did with super high tricks in a technical run. After an unbelievable Method Air, he showed a Backside 1080, a Haakon 720, a Frontside 900 and wrapped up his run with a Backside 540. Asked if he is aiming for the World Cup title now, he simply but nevertheless confidently said “Yeah!”

But in the battle for the Crystal Globe of the Snowboard FIS World Cup Kudoh not only has to face internal competition. Also Crispin Lipscomb is confident for the upcoming months after finishing third today: “I know that I still can improve but I got a good feedback from the judges today. This is good for my training and also for the confidence.” Lipscomb who worked for nine years in Cardrona as a snowboard instructor has the title in mind: “The result is good. I guess I will do six of the following eight halfpipe events and we will see what comes out.”

On the ladies’ side, Shiho Nakashima was celebrating her career’s second World Cup triumph weeping tears on the podium. ”I’m happy that I won the season’s first contest. I will try to tie up to this in the next competitions” said the 30-years-old.

Results of the Snowboard FIS World Cup 2009 in Cardrona, Neuseeland:

1. Shiho Nakashima (JPN)     
2. Sina Candrian (SUI)              
3. Linn Haug (NOR)      

1. Kohhei Kudoh (JPN)
2. Ryoh Aono (JPN)
3. Crispin Lipscomb (CAN




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