Summer Of Shred Kicks Off New Zealand Tour With A Podium Sweep
The New Zealand Dirt Jump Open was treated to a spectacular show by the Summer Of Shred crew: Phil Sundbaum and Andrew Taylor, with their special guest and adiridas teammate, Niki Leitner. The national event was held at the Woodhill Mountain Bike Park, just outside of Auckland, NZ. Riders from all over New Zealand were in attendance and there was a buzz in the air with the international additions from the USA and Austria.
The contest was also attended by riders like Kelly McGarry, a New Zealand rider who has been storming the international contest scene over the past three years, with appearances in Crankworx and the Red Bull Rampage. McGarry picked up the top Kiwi spot, fourth place, behind the Summer Of Shred crew.
Third place went to Marin/adidas rider Andrew Taylor, who was putting on a show during the practice and qualifying rounds with superflips, huge no-foot cans, and tuck no-hander flips. AT rode strong all the way through the qualifying rounds to the final round, keeping the crowd on their toes for hours on end while he stomped trick after trick on the dirt jump course.
First and second place was split between Haro/adidas rider Phil Sundbaum and Kona/adidas’ Niki Leitner. In the final round, both riders were battling it out for first and second spots. The head-to-head format during the semi-finals and final rounds kept things interesting, but on their third run (after taking one run each) they decided to do the same tricks through the course and split the prize money! Sundbaum was riding super consistent, throwing huge tailwhips in his runs, along with stretched out seatgrab indian airs. Niki was riding extremely well, continually pushing the level of the riders in the contest with a flurry of tucks, super seatgrabs and backflip variations. Niki has been trapped under feet of snow in Austria for the past few months, but it obviously didn’t deter his progress, as he brought out his best tricks to qualify first as well as make his first podium appearance of 2009.
The presence of these international riders brought the best of out of everyone in the contest, and the New Zealand riders definitely rose to the challenge. Riders like Chris Beverland, Luke McCombie, Karl Bennseman and Lewis Jones were all cheered on by about a thousand locals surrounding the dirt jump course.
The best trick contest followed the finals, and all the riders pulled themselves back to the start of the course for a few more runs. Niki and AT both landed a pair of superflips, and Phil was on a mission with his 360 variations: 360 no footer, 360 tailwhip, and a newly minted trick, the “Drunk Driver”, which is three X-ups back-to-back in a 360.
The Summer Of Shred tour of New Zealand continues through the North Island of New Zealand with special guests Niki Leitner and Phil’s Haro teammate Blake Robinson. A dirt jump tour of the North Island is planned, and then the riders will travel down to the South Island for two weeks in Queenstown. They’ll meet up with Gravity teammate Billy Lewis, and session the surrounding area (and the Frew Farm Jam) until the end of March. Queenstown is home to some of the best dirt jump and freeride zones in the world, and the riders will be filming and shooting photos at every spot to create video content which should be available online in early April.
A big thanks is due to Caleb Smith of Spoke Magazine, Tim Hunter and the Bike Barn crew, Chris Beverland, Kelly McGarry, Brett and Dan Frew, Mike Hamel and the rest of the NZ mountain bike scene. The Summer Of Shred crew would also like to send out a big thank you to our sponsors for all of their support: adidas, Haro Bikes, Marin Bikes, Gravity Components, X-Fusion Shox, Camelbak, Kenda Tires, X-Pedo Pedals, Formula and The Hive. To follow the Summer Of Shred throughout the year, go to: summerofshred.com.