Guénolé had opened his final strongly with a Back Flip Frontside 3, but crashed his last two trick attempts as he tried to land a Back Flip-to-Back Flip Combo that he had managed the day before in practice. That left the door open for Cloetens who landed a Radiculo 7 on his last trick to top Guénolé by just 0.11 of a point.
In the women’s draw Bowien van der Linden (NED) and Orane Ceris (FRA) had powered through their semi-final with big scores. The New Caledonia-based Ceris took a commanding lead with several big tricks that included a Back Flip.
“I’m super-happy,” said Ceris afterwards. “I think I did my best heat of the week and maybe the best heat of my life. I landed a new trick and now I’m in the final.”
The final was a cagey affair studded with crashes. New-comer Viola Lippitsch (AUT) could not quite match the firepower and consistency of the other riders. Ceris seemed to struggle after landing her customary, early Back Flip for a big 8.63. Van der Linden built a steady if unspectacular heat that earned her second place.
But it was Suardiaz who showed the way. She put some good numbers on the board, like 6.0 for Frontside 3, but then crashed several trick attempts. She kept her composure, though, and earned 7.07 for a Combo and landed her own Back Flip for an 8.03 that was enough to give her victory.
“I’m extremely happy to have won the fifth competition of the GWA here in Fuerte,” said Suardiaz. “My heat went really good. I landed all the tricks I wanted to land I’m extremely happy and so thankful to my sponsors and for my family being here.”
On day three it will be over to the FreeFly-Slalom discipline. Join us here for all the action.
words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Lukas K Stiller