The first day of medal competition at the Cardrona 2023 FIS Park & Pipe Junior World Championships took to the Big Buck terrain park on Wednesday, where Japan’s Taiga Hasegawa and New Zealand’s very own Lucia Georgalli claimed slopestyle gold medals in the morning’s snowboard competition.
GEORGALLI WINS FIRST EVER PARK & PIPE JWC GOLD FOR NEW ZEALAND
The biggest story of the day was inarguably Georgalli, as the 16-year-old not only made history by becoming New Zealand’s first ever Park & Pipe Junior World Champion, but did so on home soil with a commanding performance.
The top rider in qualification, Georgalli came out swinging in run one with a clean top-to-bottom that gave her a score of 85.25 that would put her nearly 10 points ahead of her nearest competitor, Fanny Piantanida Chiesa of Italy, heading into run two.
While Australia’s Ally Hickman would give it her best go in run two with a score of 66.50, no one else would even come close to challenging Georgalli, granting the Kiwi a victory lap where she elected to step things up a notch rather than rest on her laurels.
Leading off with a switch frontside boardslide bagel into a gap cab 270 boardslide through the rail section, Georgalli then spun all four ways through the jumps, with a cab 720 melon, switch backside 540 stalefish, frontside 720 melon and then finally a huge backside 720 Weddle to finish things off.
With a score of 91.00 Georgalli put an exclamation point on her gold medal win, with 18-year-old Piantanida Chiesa earning a score of 77.25 for silver, and Hickman’s 66.50 locking in the bronze medal for the 13-year-old who dropped in as the youngest rider in finals.
HASEGAWA ADDS MORE GOLD TO HIS HEAVY COLLECTION
For the men on Wednesday it was a tense affair, with none of the 14 riders dropping in on finals able to stomp two spotless runs.
However, all it takes is one good run to walk away with gold, and 17-year-old Hasegawa showed once again why he’s not just one of the top juniors, but in fact one of the top snowboarders in the world – period – by coming through with something simply outstanding in his second attempt of the day.
With a super clean cab 270 on to 450 off on the first rail, into a switch backside 270 on 270 off on the second, Hasegawa then took things to another level through the jumps with a backside rodeo 900 nose grab on the first jump, a switch backside 1260 Indy on the second, a frontside 1260 Indy on jump three, and then finished it all off with a cab 1440 Weddle on the final hit.
Hasegawa would be the lone men’s rider to hit the 90’s on the day, with his 90.25 giving him the win and his second career Junior World Championships gold medal. And, with his standing as the reigning big air World Champion from the Bakuriani 2023 WSCs last season, the chances are better than good that Hasegawa leaves Cardrona as a 3x Junior World Champ when it’s all said and done this weekend.
Second behind Hasegawa was last season’s slopestyle JWC gold medallist, as 18-year-old Canadian Cameron Spalding was also able to step things up on his second and final run of the day, stomping clean but falling just three points short of Hasegawa with a score of 87.25.
Rounding out the men’s snowboard podium was another Japanese rider, as 17-year-old Yuto Miyamura made good in his JWC debut by claiming bronze with a score of 84.75.
Snowboard competition at the Cardrona 2023 Park & Pipe Junior World Championships continues on Saturday, 2 September with big air qualifications, followed on Sunday, 3 September by big air finals.
Header image: Lucia Georgalli (NZL) and Taiga Hasegawa (JPN). Credit: Lennon Bright/WGNZ