Words & Photos by: Oliver Maccabez

Every good event must end one day, and September 28th was that day. The weather was beautiful, sunny, not as cold as the two last days, and without any wind at all. It sounded like the perfect day to end the 2008 edition of Freestyle.ch.

So before beginning this busy day, where we will talk about the finals and the super finals, here’s a little reminder of who got selected for the finals:

Russell Henshaw

PK Hunder

Martin Misof

Jacob Wester

Philip Casabon

Colby West

Simon Dumont

Aleksander Aurdal

After a festive night for many visitors who had the possibility to party either at the Raiders.ch party or at the Rohstofflager Afterburner party, the freeski finals started at 2:30 PM exactly. This final will be the one to send the 4 best riders directly to the super finals. The finals were judged on two criterias, style as well as technique, and was conceived as a free session of 40 minutes. So if a rider wanted to do 2 runs or 5 runs, it was the same since he simply had to do it within the 40 minutes allowed…

The crowd was waiting for this final and was not disappointed at all…

This final was shaping up to be one of the best in a very long time, and it was. Phil Casabon was at the top of his form, and though he didn’t have enough speed to make over all of the gap, he still pulled out some beautiful corks, bio 9 nose and some 5s. But as we know, the lack of speed always ends up with hitting the noll, and that’s where he ended up. Really a shame since this kid has plenty of style, and a promising future I’m sure…

Phil with his one particular style. Smooth and clean.

Martin Misof had the same problem with speed, hitting the noll on his over-tweaked switch 10 mute as well. However, we were able to get to know this Austrian guy, a very nice and very motivated to bring his own touch and style rider. Keep going Martin, you’ll manage it!

Martin Misof doing his favorite switch 10 mute

For the ones who had waxed their skis, the speed wasn’t as much of a problem, as we soon found out. There was a lot of variety in the tricks: spins, corks, doubles, switch, bioa, everybody brought something to make this final free session one of the most technical ever. Colby West, for example, showed that he’s capable of the best with a flat five so smooth that you won’t need slow motion to enjoy it. He was, by the way, the only rider to pull a FAT zero spin with huge airtime. At his side, PK Hunder tried out his K-Flip and other double corks so clean, that we can nearly already think that he’ll be the winner of this 2008 Freestyle.ch edition. But we musn’t forget Simon Dumont with his mythic cork 7 truck driver or his cork 5 japan to mute. Jealous, Wester threw a flatspin 7 as if we were playing it in a video game. These spectacular tricks nearly made the spectators forget the new Norwegian talent, Aleksander Aurdal as well as Australia’s Russell Henshaw.

Aleksander Aurdal

Colby West flying over the freestyle.ch

Like Aleksander Aurdal, Russell couldn’t do anything to change the supremacy of the warriors…

Jacob Wester

PK Hunder

Simon over-tweaked as usual…

Here are the results after the finals. The first 4 went on to the super finals.

1. PK Hunder, 184.25 points

2. Jacob Wester, 182 points

3. Simon Dumont, 181 points

4. Colby West, 179.75 points

5. Russell Henshaw, 179.25 points

6. Aleksander Aurdal, 173.5 points

7. Martin Misof, 124.25 points

8. Philip Casabon, 117.5 points

Now that we know who’s going to the finals, we could barely wait for it because we were sure that it would be huge, as the 4 riders were all serious contenders for the freestyle.champ title of 2008! In between the finals and the super finals, the riders had some time to rest and concentrate, like Simon Dumont did, nearly hiding in the riders’ tent. But others prefer to chill out in the area, discovering the label world, or the other sports (FMX, skateboarding and snowboarding) or even give some interviews to the diverse media present, as you will see from us in a few days…

As many other riders, JF and Phil, replied to our questions…

…and other were playing (or at least training) with the kendama

At 5:15 PM, everybody – athletes, visitors and journalists – were standing for the superfinals. The rules were clear: two runs, choosing whether they want to be judged for the technique or for the style.

The first rider to drop was Colby West, who finished 4th in the finals. Colby, whom we had interviewed in the meantime, told us that he really wanted to have fun and give something to the visitors of the Landiwiese – where the Freestyle.ch takes place. Pleasure there was, since he set the bar high for this super final, pulling an absolutely huge Switch 10 nose, looking like he was flying in the air. CoreUPT skis may have something to do with this…

Simon Dumont showed his way of doing the 1080, spinning a cork 10 mute. Perfect. We really don’t want to be judges today since it seems so hard to choose who the best rider is. But nothing is over yet. Coming up; Jacob Wester. We all know that this guy will do something big today. He brings his K-Flip double japan again, even cleaner than before. Impossible! The crowded Landiwiese is amazed, applauding and screaming his name. Jacob! Jacob! Jacob Wester!!! One more, and not the least rider to go for the first run: PK Hunder. How could anybody even think to beat the last three riders, pulling out 10’s and a K-Flip? Ask PK, he knows. The man just put everybody in agreement, pulling a 10 double cork mute, landed perfectly, with so much style that he took the lead of the finals, and we thought he would definitely win. But, as usual in Zurich, there is a little something which makes things change.

Colby West does his switch 10 again, but with a true nose and a rarely seen amplitude. Huge, but not enough to beat PK. He’s not going to be the winner.

Colby during the superfinals, having fun, and giving some to the spectators

Who’s next? Simon. Everybody who’s looking to the kicker knows that he can make the difference as he made it last year. Pushed by the delirious crowd, the man, the legend, pulls out an over-tweaked 1260 Mute, so over-tweaked that it nearly came down to a cork. But Simon is not a machine, and he proved it landing his 12 and crashing, probably due to the short airtime he had to execute his 12 in. He’s not going to win either.

Nice try for Simon, but the crash ruined all his efforts

Jacob Wester is now the only man who could stop PK from winning the title of 2008 freestyle.champ. Who knows what to bring to beat PK?

Jacob’s now on course and a complete silence reigns for a few seconds in the crowd. Jacob disappears behind the kicker and reappears in the air all of a sudden, throwing out a perfectly landed double cork 12 mute. The Landiwiese is now literally boiling and doesn’t need to wait for the judges to determine the 2008 freestyle.champ.

What an amazing trick that Jacob just pulled out! Check out the sequence below…

With 97.75 points it will be hard to beat him, but PK still has a run left. The Norwegian from Oyer is now on course and nobody can stop him anymore. He wants to prove that he can do at least as well as Jacob. To beat your opponent you sometimes need to have the same weapons. PK did. A few seconds after, he dropped his version of the double cork 12, not as tweaked as Jacob’s and just not as clean in the landing. Everybody’s now watching the screens for the PK’s final result. 96.5 points. Won’t be enough this time, but what a fight.

The double cork 12 mute wasn’t as well executed by PK Hunder

Jacob Wester now officially becomes the 2008 freestyle.champ.

Here’s the sequence of the double cork 12 by Jacob Wester. Enjoy it.

1. Jacob Wester, 97.75 points

2. PK Hunder, 96.5 points

3. Simon Dumont, 89.75 points

4. Colby West, 89.50 points

While all the super finalists were congratulating Jacob, he was joined by his friend Jon Olsson who was hanging around for his video blog. He unfortunately couldn’t compete this year, due to his meniscus surgery five days before the event.

Jon Olsson was there to support his friends, due to his recent surgery.

So here’s how the 12th edition of the Freestyle.ch ends, and I'd like to take the time to thank a few people. First up, the organizers for this sumptuous edition (thanks as well for the key-holder with its integrated USB Key), all the riders who gave their time to answer our questions, to the Stimorol manager who let us use his VIP platform to shoot (especially since we didn’t want to have the same pictures as the others) and finally my mom, who lent me her flat near Zurich for the entire weekend, therefore giving us the opportunity of making this coverage for all of you out there…

We’re going back home, like everybody else, but with a different perspective of the event, and plenty of souvenirs and pictures stuck in our heads.

One thing is already sure: next year, we will be back and it will be bigger and better, we promise! Until then, we have more pictures, video interviews and a video edit coming this week, so be sure to check back or check on http://www.echosphere.ch and http://www.washawproductions.com...

freestyle.ch superfinals 2008 from ohaaP on Vimeo.