By mid-morning Sunday, it was all but in the bag for 5-time IJSBA Pro Freestyle champion Lee Stone. Drawing the “short straw,” Stone was selected to go first in the lineup of Saturday’s afternoon first moto. The British innovator quickly churned the shoreline, building up some desirable chop before executing the world’s first flat water double backflip. It was, to say the least, monumental.
During that evening’s session at the Blowsion Explosion beneath London Bridge, Stone repeated the double backflip (only cleaner) and successfully performed the first aerial 720′. The championship was all but his, and even some judges quipped that Stone would’ve scored higher had there been a standing rule of “no Perfect 10s.” So as one judge shrugged, “It’s now a race for second and third place.”
And that seemed to be the case until 40-seconds into Stone’s final moto. Again, he landed a flawless double backflip to the roar of the crowd. That was followed by a stellar heel-click backflip, which Stone was the only one to perform as well. Then his ski quit. To the shock and dismay of all, his orange, black and gold Revolver refused to run. A second ski was pushed out into the water, but IJSBA rules prohibit a backup ski, and with Stone’s routine less than a minute into his 2 minute time, the points accrued wouldn’t count. Stone’s bout at a 6th championship was over.
The judges were buzzing. Performances were indeed some of the best seen this year, and one athlete was clearly bringing his best to the water: Mark Gomez. The Hydro-Turf, RRP rider was flawlessly performing freeride tricks (Superman flips, Superman tray grabs, etc.) with abounding energy. And rightfully so, Gomez was right behind Stone before the breakdown. The DNF pushed Gomez to the lead, giving the Fullerton, California native his IJSBA World Championship.