A year ago I wrote this blog post about the 2007 Westbeach Snowflex Series Final and in it I said “There are 3 sizes of kicker at NLM, small ( a mere roller/bump in the slope), medium (apx 5ft high) and then way too big for me to hit (2.5m high).”
Well this weekend was the 2008 final and we all headed back out to France to the Loisinard Stadt de Glisse, where, I’m pleased to report, not only did I jump off the big kicker (more than once) but I actually landed the right way up!
OK, I will admit that my landings weren’t 100% clean, but I did grab my board on every attempt and I didn’t land head first once.
With my foot almost completely mended, and a shiny new snowboard to try out we arrived on Friday lunchtime for an afternoon session at the slope, I’d decided to take things easy with my foot still twinging a bit if I put too much pressure on the ball so I wasn’t planning on doing any spins, my mission this weekend was to work on the smoothness of my jumps and try and go a bit bigger than I have done on previous occasions. Well I certainly achieved that! On the Friday I spent the afternoon getting used to my board and hitting the mid-sized kicker, I was having lots of fun and my foot wasn’t causing me too much pain, although I was a bit stiff after the session having performed a lovely heel edge catch and slammed backwards into the ground, even with the lovely padding beneath Snowflex and my back protector you can still get a touch of the old whiplash, but it wasn’t going to be enough to stop me on comp day!
Saturday dawned, and it was a bit grey and cloudy, this was to be a disappointment from a photographic point of view but didn’t really bother the riders. After warming up the comp kicked off with the first of the qualification sessions, under 16s and women were up first and we all started working on our tricks, I started dropping in from higher up the slope, really pushing myself to go high and long while Lynsey & Rhianna were dropping in from lower down but working on spins.
After the first quals, we moved on to a rail jam session which Rhianna went on to win in the girls comp, I’d stopped riding to rest my foot and to focus on what would become my mission of the day….hitting the big kicker. I’d spent the morning watching people drop in for it, watching the speed they had, where they were landing and had decided that I could drop in from just below the cornice and as long as I committed and didn’t speed check too much on the way in I should clear the flat table and reach the landing.
So in the 2nd stage of the comp I decided to go for it, I set myself up, and dropped in…..I then talked to myself all the way down the run in (I can’t help it, it may look/sound weird but it helps me OK!), put in a tiny speed check to settle myself and get on the right edge, rode up the kicker, was in the air, grabbed the board (note to self – don’t flap, if you flap you’ll go off balance and land on your head), watched the knuckle disappear underneath me, passed the first landing line and landed….the right way up! Woohoo! Stoked!
At this point relief and girly legs took over and I sat down, but I’d done it, survived and apparently looked pretty good in the air too!
In the end I finished 3rd, but more important to me was the fact that I’d hit the big kicker not actually looked too bad when I was doing it, my landing wasn’t quite there but the guys were all telling me that it was a bit sticky so I’m not going to beat myself up about it.
Once again I must say a huge thanks to Wayne of AKA Snowskate, Sue at Westbeach and the Snowflex team because without the invention of Snowflex and this series of comps I wouldn’t have progressed as much as I have over this summer. I’m hoping to take the skills I’ve gained and carry them on through the winter and keep the progression going because this time next year I want to be spinning of that kicker!