Parrot, Onitsuka win O'Neill Evolution Big Air
The TTR 6Star O'Neill Evolution Big Air competition in Davos, Switzerland, turned into a triple cork showdown on Saturday with Canadian snowboarder Maxence Parrot setting the tone in run one with a massive backside triple cork 1440 mute spin. Parrot followed up with an even cleaner landing of the same trick in his third run, paired with a boardslide and backside lipslide in the rail section of the course, for a score of 96.8.
"I'm feeling amazing. That's definitely the biggest run I've ever had in my life and that's definitely also the most amazing triple I've done in my life, so I couldn't be more happy right now," Parrot said. Parrot, an O'Neill team rider, had been landing the trick earlier in the week during training runs, creating extra buzz around the competition, and says by the time he was in the four-man super final it was a given that he'd have to go for it. "It was coming out for sure," he said.
American rider Kyle Mack, just 15 years old, answered with a never-before-seen frontside triple rodeo indy 1440, landing it with a slight hand drag in his third and final run, enough to bump him into second place but not enough to overtake Parrot.
Norwegian rider Emil Ulsletten rounded out the podium in third place without a triple cork, thanks to a second run score of 84.40 for his frontside double cork 1080 mute grab. Finnish rider Kalle Järvilehto, a relative unknown coming into the contest, just missed the podium in the four-man super finals after a major upset in the previous round: Järvilehto defeated Sebastien Toutant -- the poster boy of the O'Neill Evolution event and the clear favorite coming in -- during head-to-head competition in round three to advance to finals.
In the women's competition earlier on Saturday -- the only TTR 6Star women's Big Air event on the 2013 World Snowboard Tour -- 14-year-old Japanese rider Miyabi Onitsuka beat out Austrian rider Christine Szumovski and American rider Celia Miller, who took second and third, respectively.
Onitsuka landed a frontside 360 frontside grab over the Big Air jump in her first run in the four-woman super finals, then made short work of the rail section with a lipslide on the big stair set's down-rail and a frontside boardslide down the handrail on the smaller stair set on the course. Her score of 80.2 held up through all three runs, but it was her almost-there frontside melon 720 attempts in each of her subsequent runs that suggest she'll be one to watch out for.
"I'm so stoked on her: she's such a champion," second place's Szumovski said about Onitsuka. "She's a cutie and she's killing it." Szumovsk's backside 360 mute grab and 50-50 transfer to quarterpipe in her second run earned her a score of 66.6, and she failed to improve on it after a fall on a backside 360 in her final run.
Miller -- an O'Neill team rider from Breckenridge, Colo. who was Saturday's top qualifier -- landed backside 360 indy grabs and scored 62.2 in each of her first two runs in finals, then fell on a backside 540 attempt in her third run.
WST 6Star O'Neill Evolution Big Air Finals: Women
WST 6Star O'Neill Evolution Big Air Finals: Men