Rebecca Sinclair - Junior Halfpipe World Champion in the girls 14 and under division
With only three weeks halfpipe experience under her belt Nga Tawa School’s Rebecca Sinclair has ridden her way to a snowboarding world championship.
The fourth form student took out the title when competing at the Youth World Snowboarding Championships in Marilleva, Italy last month. She was crowned junior halfpipe world champion in the girls 14 and under division.
As well as this she put in an impressive effort in the boarder X discipline where she placed fifth, only one spot from making the four person final. The 14-year-old said the weather in Italy was perfect for snowboarding and there was “a lot more snow” than she had experienced.
There were 21 girls in Rebecca’s age group, with 24 countries represented overall at the championships which had both 14 and under and 16 and under grades. Her aim was just to make the final of the halfpipe so to win it was a massive thrill. “After my first run (in the final) I was coming fifth because I put my hand down and sketched out a bit. “There was quite a bit of pressure on for the final run by I managed to pull it off clean.”
The competition was of varying standards and it was an American girl, who eventually placed second, that worried Rebecca the most. “She was quite good, she had a personal trainer and all that sort of stuff,” she said. “But she finished second. She looked quite annoyed.”
Going to school in Marton at Nga Tawa and with her parents living in Taupo, Ruapehu is obviously the mountain Rebecca boards the most on. She said she mainly does free riding there due to the limited snowboard park and the fact the halfpipe is “always slushy.”
The only chance she has had to ride halfpipes is in the South Island, where she has done about three weeks riding during school holidays mainly. Her best trick so far is a 540, but with the rate she is going it is probably not going to be long until she is pulling off 720s or greater.
She said she wants to try and make the team for the junior world’s next year, but admits it will be a lot tougher when competing in the 16 and under age group.
You would think making the New Zealand team is unlikely to be too difficult for the talented 14-year-old, as she is already the reigning 16 and under overall New Zealand snowboarding champion. “I want to try and do all the competitions I can in New Zealand this season and try and qualify for the Burton Open, which is an open international halfpipe competition that I think you need to be invited to.”
The way things are going for Rebecca she is likely to get an invite to this and many other international events for many years to come.
05.04.2006 By JARED DENNIS firstname.lastname@example.org
The Girl to Watch
Meanwhile, 14-year-old Rebecca Sinclair is touted as the one to watch this year.
As well as scooping first place in the under-16 New Zealand Nationals last year, she has just won the Junior Division in the World Youth Half-Pipe Championships. “I really enjoyed being overseas and it opened my eyes to what’s really out there. It was a lifetime experience,” she gushes.
One of the youngest on the snowboarding scene, this prodigious talent manages to stay down-to-earth about her success: “I don’t constantly think about it. I think it’s cool but I still carry on like before. My friends all think its pretty cool too, which is really nice.”
While she’s contemplating her future – she is only 14 – the sport is definitely on the immediate radar. “At the moment I just want to enjoy being a kid and enjoy what I’m doing – although I would like to try to get to the 2010 Winter Olympics,” she muses.
Courtesy of Tearaway magazine