Opinions have been flying around since David Wise set a new world record this week. He aired 11.7 meters (38 feet 4 inches) out of a quarterpipe at the Audi Nines, in Austria.
The contention comes with the design of the feature and how Wise set this new record. Because he took off from a quarterpipe but landed on a banked landing next to the hip, to many people, Wise did not break Simon Dumont’s QP record of 35 feet, 5 inches (set way back in 2008). Dumont landed in the same QP, so to many people, Simon’s record stands. And Wise agrees:
“After I’d landed it and we got the measurements, we talked about it a lot. We realised that it wasn’t breaking the old world record. It's certainly a new world record, it’s the highest guy out of a quarterpipe to a banked landing. In terms of the controversy, it’s quite simple: we’re not claiming Simon’s record, we’re just claiming a new one. I don’t think anyone would argue with that, it’s just a new height out of a thing.”
The initial confusion stemmed from the Audi Nines' press release, which did talk about Dumont’s “previous record”. But his record stands and Wise just set a new, different, one. The man that wrote that press release was former editor of NS, Ethan Stone. He tossed and turned with how to phrase it, but he had pretty solid and balanced logic behind his decision:
"The main reason for building a QP with a banked landing in the first place is because it’s safer than a straight-up QP. You can go bigger and try new tricks with more margin for error. The Audi Nines guys weren’t worrying about the technical details of a world record when they built this thing.
"We realized pretty quickly that comparing David’s air to Simon’s was comparing apples and oranges, but we still needed to put out a press release that a world record had been set. Instead of directly claiming “world record quarterpipe air,” we ended up changing it to “highest air” out of a “quarterpipe to banked landing.”
"Of course, it was inevitable that people would be comparing this to Dumont. There was actually a plan not to mention Dumont in our press release at all, but I made a last-minute decision to add him in at the bottom. I knew the comparisons were coming, and so I tried to make clear that what David and Simon had done were technically of a different nature, while paying tribute to this legend."
He went on to state that skateboarder, Danny Way, used exactly the same style of feature, as the one Wise used to set his “highest air” record on a QP:
"No one called him out on that not being a “real” quarterpipe to my knowledge. On the other hand, Way disguised his raised landing and lowered outrun quite well in photos, and also broke his own record. He didn’t have to worry about challenging a previous contender, much less someone like Simon Dumont, whose record of 10.8 meters (35 feet, 6 inches)—with a cork 900 blunt grab, no less—is an absolute cult classic."
So hopefully that clears up some confusion, Dumont retains his incredible world record and Wise joins him in the record books with a new —but equally incredible— record. While the record is a hot topic, I think the whole skiing community will join me in wishing David well after the broken femur he suffered on Saturday.