Japan's Murase and Otsuka own Cardrona JWC slopestyle

31 August 2018 10:13
Takeru Otsuka on his way to slopestyle gold
Takeru Otsuka on his way to slopestyle gold -
Winter Games NZ

Cardrona (NZL) - Action at the Cardrona 2018 FIS Junior Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships kept on rolling on Friday, as slopestyle finals went down under sunny skies and springy conditions at the Kiwi resort and the Japanese tandem of Kokomo Murase and Takeru Otsuka each claimed their second gold medals of the week with standout performances. 

Both Murase and Takeru had already proved themselves a cut above the rest of the field on the jumps on their way to big air gold medals earlier in the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ programme, but over the course of slopestyle qualifiers - where both also placed first - and Friday’s finals the pair showed that there seems to be little the team leaders of Japan’s youth movement can’t conquer on a snowboard. 

Locked in and confident through the rail section and stomping a super stylish switch backside 180 followed by back-to-back 720s through the jumps, Murase’s first run was the kind of slopestyle competition run that would likely compete for a podium position at any contest in the world. The fact that her score of 90.20 was earned by an athlete still two-and-a-half months from her 14th birthday is truly incredible stuff. 

In fact, with her two wins this week in Cardrona, Murase has become the youngest Junior Snowboard World Championships gold medal-winner of all-time, and the second-youngest winner ever in ANY FIS discipline.  

“Today’s competition was really hard and all the girls brought their A Game and were trying to land hard tricks. So it was difficult for me but it was a lot of fun,” said Murase. 




Second place went to Germany’s Annika Morgan, who put down a spotless final run highlighted by a 720 melon grab on the second jump to earn a score of 84.40 and the silver medal, while Canada’s Sommer Gendron ended up less than half a point behind Morgan in bronze position with a score of 80.00.

Over on the men’s side, Otsuka faced down a stiff challenge from the Netherlands’ Niek Ven Der Velden to earn his second gold of Cardrona 2018, rebounding from a sketchy first run to nail  a second that included a risky opening switch bluntside 270 out on the Audi feature, followed by back-to-back 1260s to close out his rail section for a score of 95.40.

“I am very stoked to get a second gold medal,” he said, having also claimed the Big Air title earlier this week. “Yesterday I wasn’t very happy with my run (in qualifying) but today was so good with my jump section.”



Stylish and creative throughout the week, Van Der Velden lead through the first run before upping his score in his second go-round with a run that also featured a pair of 1260’s - including a switch backside variation. While that run would give him a high score of 92.40, it wouldn’t be enough to hold off Takeru.

Capping off an impressive day on the slopes for one of the flattest nations on earth was a bronze medal win by Van Der Velden’s teammate Casper Wolf, who claimed his podium with a score of 82.40.


Podium runs men:

Takeru Otsuka - Switch backside bluntslide 270 out, Half cab backside 270 to 270 out, Half cab 50-50 backside 360 out, Frontside miller flip indy, Frontside double 1080 mute, Backside double 1260 mute, Cab 1260 crail 

Niek van der Velden - Frontside bluntside, Backside 180 in switch 50-50 half cab out, Frontside 270 to forward, 50-50 to backside 180 out, Switch backside 1260 mute, Frontside double 1080 nosegrab to tailgrab, Backside double 1260 Japan

Casper Wolf - Alley-oop frontslide, Backside bluntslide 270 out, Frontside boardslide 270 out, 50-50 backside 180 out, Cab 900 indy, Frontside double 1080 indy, Backside double 1080 mute

Podium runs ladies:

Kokomo Murase - Switch 180, Frontside lipslide, Tailslide 270 out, 50-50 boardslide to fakie, Switch backside 180 indy, Backside 720 mute, Frontside 720 melon

Annika Morgan - Backside air tailgrab, Backslide boardslide, Frontside boardslide, 50-50 frontside 180 tailgrab, Cab 180, Frontside 720 melon, Backside 360 mute

Sommer Gendron - Backside air tailgrab, Rock to fakie, Cab boardslide to regular, 50-50 frontside 180, Cab 540 tailgrab, Frontside 360 tail grab, Backside 360 mute