Our Skiers enjoyed both Summer and Winter here in Melbourne today. For our early morning Trick and Slalom Skiers, it was hot sunshine and suntan lotion all the way. For our Jumpers, it was umbrellas and goggles ! None of this took away from the great competition and none prevented the enormous crowds from enjoying every moment of this very well organized Moomba Masters.
The Women Tricks Semi-Final saw 8 contestants chase 6 Finals places. All expected the World Record holder, Natalia Berdnikova BLR, to dominate and that is exactly what she did with a top score of 8120 points. After that, the scores were close. The 14 year-old sensation, Erika Lang USA, beat all the others with 6950 points, an extraordinary performance. This was a very tight 10 points ahead of Alex Lauretano USA. Michale Briant AUS, Anais Amade FRA, and Marion Mathieu FRA were also close. Only the two Australians, Chelsea Scott and Cathryn Humphrey failed to make the cut. At this point, Natalia Berdnikova looks unbeatable.
We had some serious scores in Men Tricks as 12 contestants fought for the 8 Finals places.. For the second time this week, Jimmy Siemers USA was outstanding. His score of 11,410 was exactly the same as in Round 1 and took the top slot. Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR had a poor Round 1 but today he was back in form with 11,180 points. World Overall Champion, Javier Julio ARG, looks even stronger than ever. He pushed his Round 1 score of 10,040 up to 10,130 today to secure a Finals place. After that, there was little between the others who all clustered around 9,000 points. Unfortunately, the very popular Sergio Font MEX fell short and will have to miss the Monday Finals.
Women Slalom was more predictable than most years here on the Yarra River, in spite of a few rain showers. As expected, Karina Nowlan AUS and Karen Truelove USA took the top slots. They were the only two to get to the 11.25m line and both shared a score of 1 Buoy. The tall Vanessa Leopold AUS was impressive. Her third place score of 5 Buoys on the 12m line means that she may well be a surprise contender in Monday?s Finals. It was also great to see Peru?s Delfina Cuglievan make the cut and she just pipped Australia?s Cathryn Humphrey for the last Final?s place.
Men Slalom came next and the glorious 27C / 84Fh weather continued. This was full of surprises for no particular reason. World Record holder, Chris Parrish USA, dropped out with 3 buoys on the 12m line. Javier Julio missed his opening gates on his 11.25m pass. Ty Oppenlander USA was unlucky to miss the cut by just a half Buoy. However, at the other end, the performances were almost a reflection of the Ranking Tables. A first place in Round 1 yesterday was repeated by Will Asher GBR with the top score today of 6 Buoys on the 10.75m line. He looks better than ever ! Nick Parsons USA, Thomas Degasperi ITA and defending Moomba Champion, Aaron Larkin, were close behind. This will guarantee a very special Final on Monday.