Kevin Rolland dropped into the pipe and from his first massive switch 9 it was clear his goal was to take down the competition at the Nike Open in Breckenridge. As defending Dew Cup champ, he was prequalified straight into finals and the last to drop in.
Gus Kenworthy had set the bar with his first run score of 87.50, and he was holding down the lead. That quickly changed with Rolland’s first run.
After his massive switch 9, Rolland kept it going with a switch 720 into back-to-back-to-back(!) doubles that brought down the house. All the fans gathered up and down the walls of the pipe and filling the corral knew it was on.
Rolland snatched the lead from Kenworthy by 7 points, and took over the top spot with his score of 94.50.
“I can do a double flare on both sides and a double cork on the left side, so in my mind I was like, ‘Ok, if I can do these three tricks, maybe I can do these three tricks in a row,’“ Rolland said. “So it was my goal and I did it.”
The best of two runs decide the Finals results, so the field of 11 guys all had another chance at taking down Rolland.
Kenworthy was bumped into third after Rolland’s run, and his second run didn’t improve upon his score. He was in podium contention until Duncan Adams dropped in. Adams put down a solid run and scored 88.00 to take over the third spot, and held onto it until the end.
“I’m pretty psyched to get a switch 10 on the last hit of my second run,” Adams said. “I haven’t done that in contests yet really well. Just trying to go bigger and be smooth.”
Second place went to Justin Dorey, who came back from ninth place to podium position after throwing down his smooth double cork 12, right 900, alley oop 5, alley oop flat 3 and an amazing switch double at the end. It was clear he rose to the occasion for his last run.
The Breckenridge pipe is the the longest out there at 602 feet, and it gave the athletes a bit more wall to work with when doing their runs.
“It feels amazing to put down a run in my first contest of the year, regardless of what it is,” Dorey said. “I’m happy with my switch dub. I finally grabbed it and landed it on top of my feet, and wasn’t backseat. That’s a first for me.”
The one guy who can always put up a fight against Rolland is Simon Dumont, who finished second overall to him last season. Unfortunately Dumont was competing with an injured hand, and rode without poles. He definitely brought what he could, but it wasn’t enough to be in contention and Rolland went into his final run as a solid victory lap.
“It’s just a great beginning for me,” Rolland said. “My goal was to win for sure, and now it’s done so, I can feel better now. It’s good for the other stops and makes me feel confident for the X Games and everything.”