Wānaka brothers Ben Harrington (21) and Luca Harrington (19) have both achieved career best World Championships results today in Georgia. Ben finished in fifth place at the Freeski Halfpipe World Championships and Luca finished in fifth place at the Freeski Big Air World Championships.
Ben started the day of double success, dropping into his very first halfpipe World Championships finals. He was hyped after the event, saying; "I am very fired up, that was probably the biggest I have ever gone in the halfpipe. I wish I could have put down one of my second or third runs but I am over the moon with how my season has gone and how I have skied in Georgia."
Ben laced together a technical first run with plenty of amplitude, including a huge left double cork 1260 on the first hit and super stylish alley oop double flat 720 on his fourth hit that he sent into the stratosphere. The judges scored him a very respectable 82.00, a score which he was unable to top for the remainder of the event.
Ben was aiming to step it up for his second and third run, explaining; "On my last hit I was trying to land a switch 1080, I gave it a go on my second run but just popped a little too hard and gave it a little too much gas. In my third run I missed a couple grabs and landed low a couple of times so I knew it wasn't going to cut it. It's all good though, I am fired up on the way that I skied."
Younger brother Luca was watching Ben compete from his hotel room, where he was conserving as much energy as he could prior to dropping into the biggest finals of his young career this afternoon.
In what was an insanely heavy hitting final, Luca proved that he is up there with the world’s best, lacing together a switch double 1800 with a lead tail grab and a right double 1980 a lead cuban grab for a combined score of 176.00.
Right after the event Luca said; "It feels absolutely unbelievable, I am just completely over the moon with this result. Just to be here and make finals was a dream, so to end up in fifth place today was just amazing and I am so grateful for this opportunity."
Luca said securing a fifth place finish on the same day as his big bro is "pretty unreal, Ben and I competing in the same place has been awesome as we don't usually get to do that. To both be pushing each other to be the best that we can be and to both end up in fifth, it's epic."
The brotherly camaraderie was evident at the bottom of the Big Air venue, with Ben cheering Luca on and running out to embrace him, drawing smiles from the crowd.
Not only was this Luca’s career best result, it was also equal with the best Big Air result that New Zealand has ever achieved at a World Championships, matching Finn Bilous’ result from 2019.
Ben's result equals the second best Freeski Halfpipe World Championships result that New Zealand has ever achieved, matching Byron Wells result from 2011. Nico Porteous holds the top result with the title win in 2021.
Today marked the last day of competition here in Bakuriani, Georgia and the end of the 2023 FIS Freeski and Snowboard Park and Pipe World Championships.
9 months ago