AIS MICRO-TECH PIPE CHALLENGE
The AIS Micro-Tech Pipe Challenge was an elite-level Australian invitational half-pipe snowboarding competition that utilised both traditional subjective judging measures and innovative micro-technology to assess half-pipe snowboarding performance. The event, conducted on July 30th 2007 in collaboration with the Australian snowboarding community, is believed to be the first half-pipe snowboarding competition in Australia to utilise technolgically based objective feedback to award athletic performance. The AIS Micro-Tech Pipe Challenge 2007 was primarily a concept event conducted as research into sport specific micro-technology and its capacity to assist athletic performance and subjective judging protocols. The event also focussed upon supporting Australian half-pipe snowboarding at a grass roots level with a well organised and well judged elite-level competition focused on Australian half-pipe snowboarders.
Competition Format and Judging Protocols (Objective and Subjective)
Ten of Australia’s elite-level half-pipe snowboarders were instrumented with micro-technology (AIS / Catapult Mini-Max) for the duration of the event. A World Cup and Olympic half-pipe snowboard judge was appointed as the sole subjective judge for this competition. Athletes competed for traditional subjectively judged accolades (1st, 2nd, 3rd and athlete judged best rider) and additionally competed for three awards based upon the objective calculation of key performance variables (KPV’s) specific to the sport such as highest individual air-time, highest average air-time and highest average degree of rotation. Athletes were allowed three runs to contest the traditional subjective judging component of the competition and the objective judging components of highest average air-time and highest average degree of rotation. The objectively judged highest individual air-time was decided with an additional two run format that immediately followed the main competition. This additional component of the competition allowed each athlete only one hit per-run with the specific instruction to complete straight airs as big and with as much amplitude and air-time as possible
Australian snowboarder and 2006 Winter Olympian Mitch Allan was a standout all day to place 1st in the subjective judging category, 1st in the athlete judged best rider category and 1st in the highest average degree of rotation category (648 degrees). Ben Mates, also a 2006 Winter Olympian and a former member of the Australian national half-pipe snowboard team focussed on laying down solid runs throughout the entire competition and was rewarded with a 2nd placing in the subjective judging category. Clint Allan, one of Australia’s premier all round professional snowboarders took out 3rd place in the subjective judging category and tied with Andrew Burton (also a 2006 Winter Olympian and former member of the Australian national half-pipe snowboard team), in the highest average air-time category (1.41 seconds). Nate Johnstone, a young Australian snowboarder tipped by many to have the innate riding talent and commitment to cause major carnage on the international competition circuit seemed to be pumped all day and although just missing out on the cash up for grabs for the top three finishers in the subjective judging category (he placed 4th), he went on to boost the biggest single air of the day (1.92 seconds) and take out 1st place in the highest individual air-time category.
The Future Of The Event
The AIS Micro-tech Pipe Challenge was conducted in order to showcase the possibilities afforded by micro-technology when focussed upon the calculation of objective information that has been shown to be specific to a particular sport and of importance to the outcomes of competition. In addition, this event was conducted to initiate a gradual integration of this idea into elite-level half-pipe snowboarding and to hopefully instigate an annual half-pipe competition hosted by Australia that is at the forefront of innovative athlete feedback and judging protocols. The plan for the future is to improve on the 2007 event. To do this I will utilise some of my more sociological research focussed upon the perceptions of elite-level riders, coaches and judges to this concept, the AIS event itself and to the possible combinations of objective and subjective information they believe would constitute an enhanced and more reliable judging protocol. A focus intrinsic to these practice community perceptions will be the creation and subsequent examination of an innovative judging protocol focussed in the direction riders, coaches and judges would like to see competitive half-pipe snowboarding progress towards in the near future. Conducting a similar event in the future be the next step in integrating this concept into half-pipe snowboarding and will combine both subjective and objective judging to provide a single score pertaining to athletic performance, an extension on the judging in 2007.
The major hurdle facing this event in the future is sourcing the funding to run an innovative and successful competition. For the 2007 AIS Micro-Tech Pipe Challenge, I poured over $9000 of research grant funding and sponsor contributions ($5000 in cash prizes) into making the event happen and that is without having to pay for the right to host the event on Perisher Blue’s super-pipe site. Perisher Blue were amazing in their support and without them allowing our competition exclusive access to their half-pipe until 11.00am on July 30th 2007, the event would have had no chance of getting off the ground. In the future however, I can no longer utilise research funding and so the goal now is to source funding from other areas. In the near future I will begin to contact different grant funding bodies, retailers and sponsors in an attempt to once again run a half-pipe snowboarding competition that utilises both subjective and objective judging protocols to award athletic performance and in the process provide as much support as possible to Australian snowboard athletes in their quest to take on international competition. I really believe this is a good way to support Australian half-pipe snowboard athletes, place Australian snowboarding at the forefront of innovative athletic feedback and judging protocols, and basically enhance and improve on an idea that seems to currently and against all odds, be well received by the riders, coaches, judges and the snowboard community in general.
1st MItch Allan
2nd Ben Mates
3rd Clint Allan
Micro-Technology Objective Judging
1st Highest Air-Time -Nate Johnstone: 1.92 s
1st Highest Average Air-Time Clint Allan / Andrew Burton: 1.41s
1st Highest Average Degree of Rotation Mitchell Allan: 648 degrees
Athlete Judged Best Rider
1st – Mitchell Allan
Place / Athlete Name / Score
1st. Mitchell Allan 9.20
2nd. Ben Mates 9.00
3rd. Clint Allan 8.50
4th. Nate Johnstone 7.60
5th. Andrew Burton 5.60
6th. Jake McCarthy 5.50
7th. Damon Hayler 5.20
8th. Matthew Hunter 5.00
9th. Patrick Davis-Meahan 4.80
10th. Sam Murphy 3.40
Additional Competition Information
ATHLETES: Mitchell Allan, Andrew Burton, Clint Allan, Ben Mates, Nate Johnstone, Damon Hayler, Matthew Hunter, Jake McCarthy, Sam, Murphy, Patrick Davis-Meehan
ORGANISERS: Jason Harding, Ben Wordsworth
SUBJECTIVE JUDGE: Steve Brown
LOCATION: Perisher Blue Superpipe NSW Australia
DATE: 30th July 2007
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Heidi Barbay, Ben Alexander, Rebecca Brown, Steve Cuff
SPONSORS: Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Perisher Blue Ski Resort, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA), Catapult Innovations, Griffith University (GU), NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
AIS Micro-Tech Pipe Challenge Monday 30th July 2007
- Photographers Heidi Baraby / Jason Harding
- Images © AnarchistAthlete.com
- Image files available for purchase.
- Contact the photographers at AnarchistAthlete@gmail.com
CONTACT: Jason Harding AnarchistAthlete@gmail.com
CLICK HERE to read the full academic article related to this event.
CLICK HERE to download PDF version of the full academic article related to this event.