…and he wasn’t even there. While Shaun White was physically not present at this weekend’s U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, his legacy was in full swing, with riders performing tricks and jumps White has now made famous.
The men’s halfpipe winner was Japan’s Kazuhiro Kokubo, who performed three consecutive 1080′s. This was his first win at the Open. He won a bronze medal at the Winter X Games in January. “Looking back on this season, it was so good, with the best results of my career”, he later said.
The double cork 1080′s that Kokubo busted out, along with 1260 aerial spins make up some of the snowboarding magic that Shaun White debuted to the world. Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland came in third in the competition, landing a double McTwist 1260, White’s signature move that he revealed at the Olympics.
“This is the Olympic year,” Louie Vito said about the next generation of progressive maneuvers, including double corks. “The riding just skyrockets. You definitely want to be on the front of that charge.” Vito finished in second place.
Why was Shaun White not there? Officials claim exhaustion, but many speculate Shaun is simply done snowboarding for a while. He was quoted as saying that right now, “it’s skate time”.
Whatever the reasons behind his lack of physical appearance, the moves and tricks he brought to this world were there, and to many, that’s what really matters.
Kelly Clark, a Vermont girl, won for the women, marking a record fourth halfpipe title. “I put a lot of work heading into Vancouver”, she said, referring to her bronze medal there. “[I was] trying to make sure my riding is where I want it to be”. Rounding out the women’s podium was Kaitlyn Farrington in second and Ellery Hollingsworth in third.