After setting the bar high in the first round of Saturday's Monster Energy Slopestyle finals with a 92.5, Whistler's Brendan Semenuk found himself four points back of Greg Watts 96.0 after the second round.
Semenuk, looking for his third slopestyle win in a row, had a technically perfect run with some more difficult tricks in the superfinals but ended his day in second place with a 95.25 - less than a point back of Watts and the $15,000 prize purse.
Semenuk took it all in stride, happy to have landed all of his tricks in the superfinal run.
"It was down to less than a point so I'm happy," he said. "I'm just stoked that I got my run, I wasn't sure if I was going to stomp it or not - it was pretty 50-50 for me at the start, so I was stoked that I got it. I can't complain."
Both Semenuk and Watts landed big tricks off the start ramp as well as backflip-tailwhip combos, but the edge likely went to Watts for his backflip onto the Giro box. According to Watts, that was the whole point of his run.
"I had that run in mind, but if I was going to do that run I wanted to do the backflip on the Giro box, and after I landed that it was kind of the turning point - once I did that I knew I had to do all the rest," said the Californian.
While he's no stranger to the podium - he's finished second to Semenuk more times than he can remember - it was Watts's first-ever slopestyle win.
"I came into it a little more serious than last year, I didn't party that much, I trained pretty hard, and I think I just wanted it a lot more. It feels good to finally win something," he said.
He was so focused on his performance that the prize money never entered his mind, and he was stumped when he was asked if he had any plans for the money.
"I never really thought that far ahead," he said.
Watts and the other riders preferred this year's contest, which was a little different than past years. Unlike past slopestyles there was only one possible route down through the obstacles with a few options on the way down.
"It's easier for the judges and for the riders because everything happens on one line," Watts said. "Last year there were a few different lines and nobody was sure what would get judged better or worse until the finals, so nobody was sure what to practice.
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