VAIL, COLORADO - Taku Hiraoka failed in his bid to retain the title and finished third at the snowboard U.S. Open on Saturday as two-time Olympic champion Shaun White triumphed.
Hiraoka, who left his best display to his third and final run to score 88.25 points, could not overtake White, who returned to full action this season and scored 95.62 on each of his first two runs.
Hiraoka, however, was upbeat about his performance.
“I’ve been out of shape this season and that’s been making me nervous, but this has got my confidence back. I was able to concentrate and that led to a good display.”
White’s fellow American Benjamin Ferguson was second with 88.62, while Japan’s Ayumu Nedefuji was ninth and Raibu Katayama was a place below in 10th.