Kelly Clark (USA) and Ryo Aono (JPN) have won the first halfpipe event of the 2013 FIS Snowboard World Cup season. Both joint favorites for victory earned the top spot in a high class final held at Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort, New Zealand, due to extremely high executed runs.
2002 Olympic Champion clark clinched the women's final with the score of 83 out of a maximum of 100 points and thus just edged off Sophie Rodriguez (FRA, 81.75) to the runner-up position. Queralt Castellet (ESP, 71.75) rounded out the podium as third.
On the men's side, top gun Ryo Aono rode in a league of his own thus crowning himself to the undisputed king of the 22ft superpipe at Cardrona. 95.25 points equalled World Cup win #9.
His fellow countryman Shuhei Sato (JPN, 88.50) and Yiwei Zhang (CHN, 84) secured the Asian podium sweep finishing second and third respectively.
Ninth win for Ryo Aono.
Victory #5 for Kelly Clark. The 2010 Olympic Bronze medallist thus secured her tenth podium in her twelfth World Cup start.
Sophie Rodriguez brought home podium result #13 in her 50th World Cup.
Shuhei Sato claimed his first podium in his first World Cup appearance.
Yiwei Zhang earned his fourth top-3 result despite the fact that he rode with a broken left hand. He suffered the injury just five days ago due to a fall in a training run.
Kelly Clark (USA): frontside 720 indy, cab 720 mute, frontside air, backside 540 mute, frontside 540 japan
Sophie Rodriguez (FRA): frontside air, backside 540 mute, air to fakie tail, cab 720 mute, frontside 720 melon
Kelly Clark (USA), first: I'm really happy with my result here today. We are here to earn spots for our country in the Olympic qualifier period. The good finishes of Hannah (Teter, fourth) and me gave us a good start to the season.
I'm glad that the weather held off and stayed on my feet.
Falling in the first run is never ideal but I tried to look at it as an opportunity. That's exactly what can happen in major events. So it's good to get used to it and this kind of pressure.
Sophie Rodriguez (FRA), second: I'm so happy. It's a very good way to start the season. I didn't expect to be that good. The level was very high. When I saw the start list, I was hoping for the semi-finals so the result is perfect.
I tried a frontside 900 to step it up (in the second run). It's a pity that I didn't land it as it might have been good for first place.
Ryo Aono (JPN), first: I'm very happy. It's a good start into the season. I'm happy that I landed a new trick in my second run (backside 1260). I didn't grab it, so there is a lot to improve.