Contestgeschehen 6 2019 | Zwischenstopp Interview

Q & A mit FWT Judge Dion Newport


Am Wochenende findet der FWT Stopp am Wildseeloder in Fieberbrunn Stopp statt und auch Andorra steht kurz bevor. Danach wird die FWT schon bald wieder in Richtung Finale in Verbier schauen! Während wir auf die großen Contests warten, hat sich PG-Kollege Lukas Zögernitz mit FWT Judge Dion Newport unterhalten.

Die SiegerInnen des 4* FWQ im Montafon add_circle
Open Faces | Maria Knoll
terrainSilvretta Montafon
Die SiegerInnen des 4* FWQ im Montafon

Am Wochenende findet der FWT Stopp am Wildseeloder in Fieberbrunn Stopp statt und auch Andorra steht kurz bevor. Danach wird die FWT schon bald wieder in Richtung Finale in Verbier schauen! Während wir auf die großen Contests warten, hat sich PG-Kollege Lukas Zögernitz mit FWT Judge Dion Newport unterhalten.

Die FWT will am kommenden Samstag den Tourstopp in Fieberbrunn durchführen. Die Schneemenge ist mehr als ausreichend, nur die warmen Temperaturen machen der Schneequalität zu schaffen. Es besteht die Hoffnung, dass der leichte Schneefall, der für Freitag vorhergesagt ist, den Wildseeloder noch etwas auffrischt.

Rückblickend fand vergangenes Wochenende ein Highlight der österreichischen FWQs statt: Den mittlerweile zum 4* Event aufgewerteten Wettbewerb im Montafon konnte man im Livestream mitverfolgen, hier geht’s zum Replay. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die FWQ Punkte dieses Mal sehr international aufgeteilt wurden:

Ski Herren:

Carl Renvall (SUI)

Hugo Scharl (SWE)

Blake Marshall (NZL)

Ski Damen:

Jessica Hotter (NZL)

Eva Battolla (SUI)

Charlene Plaisance (FRA)

Snowboard Herren:

Cody Bramwell (SWE)

Ludovic Guillot-Diat (FRA)

Benjamin Ewens (NZL)

Snowboard Damen:

Michaela Davis-Meehan (AUS)

Linda Schmittler (SUI)

Nuria Castan Baron (ESP)

Open Faces | Maria Knoll
terrainSilvretta Montafon

Interview mit FWT Judge Dion Newport

PG: Hi Dion! How are you? Excited about the new FWT Season? How did you like the first Stops of the Season?

I’m great thanks, I am so pumped for the 2019 season. The Hakuba & Kicking Horse events were off the rictar! I think it was the highest level of FWT we have seen and some of the best images yet.

PG: You have been a judge on the FWT for quite a while now. How did it all start?

I have been working for 10 years now as a judge on the FWT, it started from me competing in park events many moons ago and was sick of the poor judging so decided to make it better. Started with park judging but quickly realised where my true passion of riding was.

PG: How do you prepare for a contest? Do you, e.g., Watch videos from former comps to get a feeling what a good run looks like on a particular face?

If we are at an event that has already had competitions on the same venues we will watch old videos and practice judge with the panel a day before the comp. We just did this today and it is good to refresh for us and we have Conor Pelton as a guest judge watching the video giving us feedback watching the live feed to see what the public at home see.

PG: Do you talk to the riders before the comp about their lines?

Yes I do, I don’t talk to them about full runs but we talk about features and sections of the venue, mainly about fluidity issues of riding, taking things tech verses jumping large etc. Most riders keep to themselves but we def chat on face inspection day.

PG: Are there any rules for the judges in terms of “compliance” or how do you ensure that all riders a treated the same way?

I assume you mean in judging, we treat all levels on the pro tour the same, we do know the start list before, plus it helps us to have names written to compare runs. On Freeride World Qualifier & Freeride Junior Tour the judges only get bib numbers, we normally know who is who after a turn or 2.

PG: Do you give feedback to the riders after comps?

Yes I always give feedback after comps, on all levels of FWT I have my judging sheets with me after the event for at least 24 hrs to be able to give feedback. If a judge doesn’t have the notes its impossible to give accurate feedback.

PG: I guess riders are sometimes not happy with theirs scores. Does it happen that the complain to you and how do you handle such situations?

Haha, yes every competition. There is only 4 people ever stoked at a comp and they are the 4 in 1st place in each category! I have had some super upset and outright rude riders complain to me about scores of them or their friends. It’s part of the job so I think I’m usually pretty good at giving feedback, there is 3 scoring judges with a head judge so its not 1 judges decision that makes the outcome.

PG: You are judging not only the FWT but also FWQ and FJT. What would you say are the biggest differences between the series from a judge’s point of view?

Really the biggest difference is that FJT are not allowed to do upside down rotations. Only in the FWQ series and above can you do all styles of rotations.

PG: I read an interview, in which you were saying you prefer style over technique when judging freestyle. What do you prefer when judging freeride and why?

I feel the same for freeride, there has to be a balance of large features and fast/ aggressive riding and style. Everyone has their own style it really comes down to who made it look the cleaniest and amazing style. There has to be a major wow factor which with progression is now large tricks off large features.

PG: You are also pushing the sport of freeriding by organizing the NZ Freeride juniors series in your home country New Zealand. Can you tell us more about that?

I run the New Zealand Junior Freeride Tour, a series of 3 JFT sanctioned events in NZ, 3* Remarkables, 2* Mt Olympus & 2* Turoa. From this tour we choose 3 deserving Kiwi’s to represent NZ at the Junior Freeride World Champioships. I also run the MOFO, Mt Olympus Freeride Open, 3 years now of a 2* FWQ event. The real moto of this event is getting good people together in the mountains to express themselves, this is not only in the event but all the fun and parties we take part in on the mountain also. We are also looking to run two more 2* freeride events at Mt Ruapehu, spring time vibes in the north island with a huge weather window to lots of spring shredding and off hill activites available in NZ.

PG: I was at one of the stops a few years ago and was impressed by the turnout of the local freeride community that helped you hold the event. How important are local communities in a sport that seems to become more and more professional?

It is really how the NZJFT keeps rolling on, Sam Smoothy is our long time starter for the NZJFT & MOFO, Charlie Lyons & Neil Williman have both been Ski Ninjas, judges. Craig Murray, Hank Bilous along with multiple NZ pros all come along and volunteer to support our up and coming juniors – really they are just sizing up there future competition haha

PG: Besides supporting Freeriding, you are also the host of the Dion Newport Invitational Disk Golf Competition, that is regularly happening after the FWQ 4* Contest in New Zealand. How did that start?

Haha, I love the off - snow activities like all riders. The 4* FWQ in NZ used to be the freeski open so I used to bring the park and freeriders together off snow to have some fun. The DNI was a reason to have a bbq on the beach so we would charge $5 for the comp and put it all on cheap beer and sausages. Unfortunately I injured my shoulder badly 2 years ago ( after winning the DNI) so now I have not been able to throw a disc. I have learnt to drive left handed now so the events will be back with the vest up for grabs and more cheap beer.

Dion Newport, 37, from New Zealand. Pro Freeride & Freestyle Judge. add_circle
Dion Newport
Dion Newport, 37, from New Zealand. Pro Freeride & Freestyle Judge.

PG: Let’s do a quick “Best of”:

If I ask you for the best contest run you have seen as a judge, which one is it and why?

Oh that’s a tough one! Most crazy and unfortunately I didn’t see it live was def Fabian Lentsch’s run at Obergurgl 4* FWQ. Dopest run would be between Craig Murray and the famous Drew Tabke blowout last year in Andorra.

Favorite contest face?

Probably Andorra as it is more freestyle friendly but traditional runs can still take it down.

Your favourite contest after party?

Andorra for the Hotel Coma! Verbier has a special spot in my heart though.

Best Contest Catering?

I would say Hochfugen had the best hospitality for a FWQ, unfortunately that event has taken over but the Open Faces Crew in Austria are taking the reigns with hospitality and catering. Nendaz has always had rowdy afterparties!

And last but not least: What are you looking forward to most in the 2019 FWT season?

The crazy level of progression the tour will produce and ofcourse hanging out with everyone on the tour. They are my family on the road and I have made friends for life from it.

PG: Thanks for your Time!

Your welcome and thank you for all you do! Thanks for reaching out.

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