Spectators at the Afriski Resort in Lesotho were treated to a jaw dropping display of snowboarding as Quiksnow 2011, Sponsored by Quiksilver, concluded in epic conditions.
“After the horrendous conditions in qualifying on Friday the gale force winds dropped and clouds disappeared, leaving blue sunny skies for the finals on Saturday,” said head Judge Kai Linder. “It really showed in the riding too, the performances we’ve seen in the finals really raised the bar, and it was great to see some new faces in the line up. It bodes well for the future.”
There were no guaranteed places in the final, with top seeded riders Marcin Jekot and Jojo Krivec securing their positions while others like Brett Lang and Rueben Storbeck, expected to be a shoe in, were knocked out by up and coming riders like Andrew Le Roux and Luke Dutton. These young snowboarders were eager to show they have what it takes to ride at the highest level of competition.
The final was an intense affair with each rider taking 3 runs through the course and only the top two counting. This pushed the competitors to the brink of their abilities, executing a variety of unbelievable spins and flips on the rails and kickers. Slovenian visitor, pro snowboarder and 2010 champ Jojo Krivec successfully defended his title, blowing everyone away with three flawless passes, including an unprecedented 1080 in his final run. Multiple SA Snowboard champion Marcin Jekot laid it all on the line, throwing huge inverted spins and incredibly technical tricks on the rails, but it was not enough to hold off the hungry and consistent Luke Dutton. At 15 years of age he has loudly announced that he is a force to be reckoned with, while 19 Year old Andrew Le Roux, a dark horse in the contest, surprised everyone with his smooth style and control carrying him to a well earned fourth overall and third in South Africa.
Defending women’s champ Marta Jekot dominated the field, defending her title and setting a record for most wins in South African snowboarding with her sixth victory. Quiksilver Marketing Manager Dane Patterson was elated with the result. “We’ve been involved with snowboarding in SA for six years and it’s been amazing watching the riders, and the sport as a whole, grow and evolve. We’re really happy to have played a part in that. Seeing these young guys coming up through the ranks, learning from the older guys and ultimately challenging them for the top of the rankings has been incredible and we’re excited to watch it get even bigger.”
Slopestyle has recently been entered into the 2014 Winter Olympics and with the steady growth in facilities and a cadre of promising young talent, the future is bright for South Africa’s snowsport future.
SA National Snowboard Champs results:
Open Women Snowboarding:
1. Marta Jekot (28)
2. Nathalie Scott (22)
3. Vanessa Jackson (28)
Open Men Snowboarding:
1. Luke Dutton (15)
2. Marcin Jekot (33)
3. Andrew Le Roux (19)
Junior Men Snowboarding:
1. Luke Dutton (15)
2. Dean Van Greunen (15)
3. Ruan Pansegrouw (13)
Click on the below pics to enlarge.