Perfect conditions greeted forty international riders as snowboard action at 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games switched to Cardrona for boarder-cross.
The sun shone on David Speiser from Germany and Japan’s Natsuko Doi who took the men’s and women’s titles on a tight, purpose built course.
World number eleven Speiser was fastest by more than half a second in the preliminary time trials and showed consistent form by winning all his races. Top ranked Aussie, Alex Pullin scooped silver after a close final.
Konstantin Schad showed a big improvement through the heats, taking bronze after qualifying 22nd fastest in the time trial. The German finished just ahead of unlucky Australian Damon Hayler in fourth. First Kiwis home were William Harris and Phil Dominick in ninth and tenth places respectively.
Speiser said his victory was great preparation for the coming season. “It was the perfect result on a great day. The course was long and tough with some tricky rollers. The key was grabbing a lead through the first two narrow features and then defending through to the finish.”
In the women’s race, a small field could not disguise the speed and control of Natsuko Doi. Twice Japanese national champion, she blew the other competitors away on her first visit to New Zealand.
“I’m very happy now!” she said. “It’s great to train and race in New Zealand and I feel very confident going into the next race in Argentina.”
Ellie Richards, originally from New Plymouth and now living in Wanaka, gave the home fans something to cheer about finishing in second place. “Pretty stocked” with her silver medal, she said “I loved the course – it’s the best course in New Zealand ever!”
17-year-old Victoria Guinn from the USA completed the podium line-up finishing third, with Kaori Fujiwara from Japan missing out in the final.
100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games continues tomorrow (August 25) with curling at Naseby, freestyle cross-country skiing at Snow Farm, alpine Super G at Coronet Peak and qualifying for what promises to be an epic World Cup snowboard halfpipe competition at Cardrona.