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Amidst strong, steady winds on Tuesday in the Columbia River Gorge, the 2012 Ro Sham Throwdown kiteboarding competition commenced with two rounds of Women’s Qualifiers.

Utilizing the world’s first purely slopestyle format for a kiting event, eight women hit the water in the early afternoon, riding through the five-piece terrain park one at a time and throwing flatwater tricks at the end of each run.

The three-person panel of judges scored each trick on a scale of 1 to 10, with each heat score comprised of 40 percent rails, 20 percent kicker, 20 percent flatwater, and 20 percent overall impression.

The lineup included Britney Todd, Colleen Carroll, Dominique Granger, Holly Kennedy, Laura Maher, Lindsay McClure, Samantha Pearce, and Sensi Graves. After six passes through the park, the two top-scoring kiters — Carroll and Graves — advanced to the finals.

With an impressive show of moves off the kicker, plus stylish rail hits and technical flatwater tricks, Carroll bagged the highest score of the day, 69.84 (out of 100), while Graves came in second at 51.63 points. The remaining six competitors then hit the water again — this time allotted four passes apiece.

Exhibiting a diversity of well-executed tricks, Mayer beat out Granger by the slimmest of margins (less than .6 points), 45.92 to 45.39. Both will join Carroll and Graves in the Women’s Final on Wednesday morning.

Following a 9:30 a.m. rider’s meeting at Hood River’s infamous sandbar, competition will resume at 10. After the Women’s Finals are completed, the Men’s Qualifier’s will kick off. Thirty men will vie for 12 coveted spots into the Semi Finals, where they will face a trio of pre-seeded riders: Brandon Scheid, Eric Rienstra, and Sam Light.

For more information, please visit www.SliderProject.com.

REMAINING SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (subject to change due to wind conditions)
Weds. July 18: 10 a.m. Women’s Finals, then Men’s Qualifiers
Thurs. July 19: 10 a.m. Men’s Semifinals
Fri. July 20: 10 a.m. Men’s Finals
Sat. July 21: 11 a.m. Wakeskate, then Freeriding

Presented by The Slider Project, the 2012 Ro Sham Throwdown is sponsored by Liquid Force / Second Wind Sports, North Kiteboarding, Slingshot, Best Kiteboarding, Smith Optics, and additional support from Andrew’s Pizza.