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Hiraoka and Clark win Halfpipe Finals at Burton High Fives




WANAKA, New Zealand (September 13, 2013) The second annual Burton ‘High Fives’ presented by MINI snowboarding competition, concluded today at Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wanaka, New Zealand with the climactic halfpipe finals. Burton riders, Taku Hiraoka (JPN) and winner of last year’s Burton High Fives, Kelly Clark (USA), took home US $10,000 each for their impressive winning performances in the 22-foot Olympic standard halfpipe.

Under overcast skies, women were first up in the pipe with the best of three runs format. Starting things off with a bang in her first run was 13 year-old wonder girl and Burton rider, Chloe Kim (USA), setting an early benchmark with 85.80 points. But it was fellow Burton rider Kelly Clark (USA) who stomped her second run to come out on top with 89.60 points and the win. Kelly’s run started off with a massive frontside air, backside 540, frontside 1080, Cab 720, and a frontside inverted 720. Nobody else was able to top these two runs, which assured Chloe Kim a second place finish. Coming in third place today was Gretchen Bleiler (USA) who put together an amazing come-from-behind final run to score 80.60 points.

Kelly Clark came very close to completing her first Cab 10 in competition on her third run. “I was happy with my second run, but glad I pushed it on the third – next time I'll get that Cab 10,” said Kelly. “It's always fun doing a competition heading into the Olympics, every four years the level of riding improves so much. The girls really got into it today and were inspiring each other.”

In the men’s competition, Greg Bretz (USA) put together a solid first run to take the early lead with 89.40 points. But it was Burton rider Taku Hiraoka’s (JPN) storming second run that propelled him into the winning podium position with 94.80 points. He blasted a backside 540, frontside 1260, backside 900, 1080 double cork and Cab 1080. Fellow Japanese rider Ryo Aono (JPN) also had a strong second run with a score of 85.00, enough to see him take a third place behind Greg Bretz.

“I felt confident and amped going into my second run,” said Taku Hiraoaka. “I was stoked to stomp another frontside 1260, only the second time I’ve done that in competition. It was a lot of fun and I’m super happy!”

The amazing week of competition started with a non-traditional approach for a snowboarding event as riders showed off some of their lesser-known talents in a variety of Kiwi-inspired, off-snow team challenges. In the end, Team Road Kill won the overall team challenge award by having the highest number of combined points between the Nokia photo award, the off-hill challenges and the individual snowboarding competitions.  Walking away with $10,000 to split between them, Team Road Kill was made up of captain and local Kiwi Rebecca “Possum” Torr (NZL), Benji Farrow (USA), Stefi Luxton (NZL), Kyle Mack (USA), and Stale Sandbech (NOR).

Prize money today totalled US $35,000 for the Halfpipe, with an additional US $1,000 going to team Road Kill for winning the Nokia Photo Award, and US $10,000 also going to Road Kill for winning the overall Team Challenge. Along with yesterday’s slopestyle awards, this brings the total prize purse for the 2013 Burton High Fives to US $81,000.

The entertainment will continue later this evening at the official High Fives Closing Party with two of New Zealand’s premier musical acts, Ahoribuzz and Bulletproof. The party kicks off at the Lake Wanaka Events Centre at 8pm and continues late night back at the official High Fives lounge at Urban Grind. Tickets for the closing party can be purchased here.

For fans that missed it, webcast replays of the Burton High Fives can be viewed on demand at The 2013 Burton High Fives is a 5star event on the World Snowboard Tour, marks the first stop of the Burton Global Event Series, and is a pivotal moment for Olympic hopefuls on the road to Sochi.

A big thanks to MINI and Nokia for their support of the second annual High Fives event.

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About Burton

In 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards out of his Vermont barn and has dedicated his life to snowboarding ever since. Burton has played a pivotal role in growing snowboarding from a backyard hobby to a world-class sport by creating ground-breaking products, supporting a team of top snowboarders and pushing resorts to allow snowboarding. Today, Burton designs and manufactures industry-leading products for snowboarding and the snowboard lifestyle, including snowboards, boots, bindings, outerwear and layering as well as year-round apparel, packs/bags and accessories. Privately held and owned by Jake and his wife, Burton President Donna Carpenter, Burton’s headquarters are in Burlington, Vermont with offices in Austria, Japan, Australia, California, Canada and China. For more information, visit Follow our line at and

About MINI

MINI is involved in action sports around the world through cooperation’s and sponsoring activities. As a partner of trend-conscious sports, MINI supports young and creative sportspeople and, in so doing, promotes the development of their sport. MINI has been the official presenting partner for the Burton Global Event Series since 2011. For more information, visit


About Nokia

Nokia is a global leader in mobile communications whose products have become an integral part of the lives of people around the world. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people use their Nokia to capture and share experiences, access information, find their way or simply to speak to one another. Nokia's technological and design innovations have made its brand one of the most recognized in the world. For more information, visit

About Cardrona Alpine Resort

Cardrona is a relaxed and friendly Ski Area that has been putting smiles on skiers and snowboarders for 35 years.  Explore it all – wide open beginner trails, pristine groomers, fun freeride terrain and world-class parks and pipes. Whatever your level we’ve got the snow for you! For more information, go to