A 14-year-old snowboarding freak from Japan has come from nowhere to take second in the Burton New Zealand Open halfpipe.
Taku Hiraoka dominated the pre-qualifiers and qualifiers before continuing his amazing run in the finals today (Saturday) at Cardrona.
Taku scored an intimidating 89.35 with one run including a backside 540, a frontside inverted 720, a Cab 1080 and a huge frontside 900 tailgrab.
He was only bested by Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland who pulled out a massive crippler, double McTwist, 1260 frontside 1080 tailgrab and a Cab 720 for 93.70.
American Louie Vito was third with 88.04 points.
America’s Kelly Clark won the women’s at the seven-metre halfpipe with a score of 88.70 for her second NZ Open crown in a row.
“I was really happy with how I rode,” Clark says.
“I walked away doing the tricks I set out to do and had a lot of fun.”
Spain’s Queralt Castellet was the closest challenger with 82.45 points. Japanese veteran Soko Yamaoka was third with 76.84 points.