Naish’s Traverse and Traverse Ewan Jaspan Pro made their competition debut this past weekend at the Australia Freestyle Nationals and led Naish Team riders Ewan Jaspan, Katie Potter, and Alex Verrecchia to victory in their respective divisions, with Leo Verrecchia landing second place.
Returning to the event to claim his third title, the 2019 Kite Park League champ Ewan Jaspan arrived armed with some prior knowledge of the conditions in Queensland.
“After months of uncertainty leading into the event, I was a little bummed that many of my other trips had been canceled, but this meant that I was able to attend and defend the National titles this year in Queensland, where we spent much of the covid lockdowns last year. Luckily this gave me a bit of knowledge of the spot, which definitely came into play throughout the weekend with challenging conditions,” Ewan said.
Fellow team rider, Leo Verrecchia gave Ewan a run for his money, and a bit of friendly competition took place between the two as they faced off through the heats in an effort to claim that center spot on the podium.
“Leo started the heat out strong, and I started out with a few mishaps, so the pressure was on the whole time. In the end, it was super close, but I was relieved to have pipped him to the top spot! It was a strong showing from the whole Naish team, with Katie taking the win for the women and Alex Verrecchia winning the Junior division,” Ewan said.
Katie rocked the competition and managed to take first place while still showing stellar sportsmanship towards the other women in her division.
“It was nice to be able to coach the other ladies and girls through what to expect and how to ride in competition conditions — starting with easier, or basic solid tricks first, then stepping it up to adding styled grabs or more technical tricks once they had some scores on the board. I even had one of the ladies, Hayley, from my clinic in Melbourne the week before come up and throw down one of the new tricks I taught her which was awesome to see!”
Leo Verrecchia had a solid performance during the competition as well, landing 5 of 8 trick attempts in his first heat and progressing straight through to the finals, where he faced off with Ewan.
“The men’s final was super exciting and it was back and forth between Ewan and myself. Ewan, crashing his first couple tricks, got it together towards the end of the final and pulled some nice high scoring powered tricks. I landed my first 4 tricks perfectly and was pretty stoked that I had a solid bag to work from. At this point, I knew I secured second position but I had all my focus on 1st so I kept pushing! I tried a couple of blind judge 5s afterward but unfortunately crashed them. If I landed one, I may have just taken out the win this year,” Leo said, already looking forward to a chance to snag Ewan’s title at next year’s nationals.
“I’m super stoked for Katie and my brother Alex, representing Naish by taking out first place in their divisions! Overall, it was a great event and everyone had an awesome time on and off the water, and I’m keen for next year’s event and the upcoming QLD titles,” Leo said.
Naish couldn’t be more stoked for their Australian team riders and their performance at this year’s nationals, and can’t wait to see what the rest of 2021 has in store for the Naish team!