Josiah James Wells of New Zealand has been crowned the AFP 2009-2010 Overall World Champion. The 19-year-old Kiwi has accumulated enough points in all three disciplines â€” Slopestyle, Halfpipe and Big Air â€” to claim the title, even though the Jon Olsson Invitational and WSSF Superpipe events have yet to be run. “It feels pretty amazing [to be World Champion]! It was pretty cool to get that text yesterday. Definitely put a smile on my face thats for sure!” explains Wells.
This year Jossi has shown his excellence in all three disciplines, where most skiers are specializing in one to find success. “I have a huge respect for the other athletes that compete in all disciplines,” says Wells. “It’s definitely not easy.”
On the Slope course, Wells sits comfortably in 5th place. Jossi’s slopestyle year was highlighted with loads of podiums and top 10 finishes. A second place at the Pure NZ Games in Cardrona was his first big result of the slope year, followed up by his win at the Austrian Open in February and was highlighted at Winter X Europe with his 3rd place run, behind current AFP Slopestyle leaders Bobby Brown and Tom Wallisch.
And in the Big Air department, Wells sits in 11th place. A string of uncharacteristic finishes in the fall big airs (Freestyle.ch, Freestyle.Berlin, and Pure NZ Games), Wells took a tie for 4th at the Winter X Games Big Air to bump him up in the standings. While Wells missed an opportunity at the Frostgun Invitational (an AFP Silver event), Wells can still improve his Big Air ranking at the Jon Olsson Invitational in Ã…re, Sweden in mid-April. Wells was also a part of the progression night that went down at X Games Big Air, that saw Jossi throw the first switch double cork 1440, in addition to Bobby Browns switch double misty 1440 and TJ Schiller’s double cork 1620.
But despite the small changes that can go down for the rest of the AFP season, Wells’ overall title is unassailable. And how does Wells approach such a busy schedule, to win a coveted overall title? “It definitely has it’s challenges,” quips Wells. “Pretty much every comp this year, the event loved to put training and practice times either overlapping or pretty close. On the other hand I thrive off the energy at the contests so I think being so busy and always having practice or competing had it’s upsides for sure.”
Outside of AFP run events, Jossi also secured himself the Winter Dew Tour ‘Dew Cup’ award for Superpipe performance at the Dew Tours, films a winter-long webisode series called “Winter Of Wells,” and is currently on his way to Sweden for the Jon Olsson Super Sessions, a sort of an icing on the cake to his season. “I have already been pumped on how all the comps went this year so hearing this yesterday topped it all off,” says Jossi. “I can’t wait to go to Sweden and have a blast with all my friends! This is the time of year I look forward to all season. Big jumps, slush and froggies.Â Shout out’s to my JOSS team: Russ Henshaw, Dhanu Sherpa, Jase Hancox and Jake Largess.
Currently, USA’s Simon Dumont sits in 2nd place in the AFP Overall rankings and Finland’s AJ Kemppainen sits in 3rd place. “I am probably Simon’s number one fan, it’s awesome to see him killing it in both pipe and slope.,” quips Wells. “I am also a huge fan of AJ. He is one of my favorite pipe skiers to watch hands down. Every trick he does is flawless and I love that he brings some of that “slope steeze” into the pipe. So mad props AJ, You’re the man! I also have to give a shout out to [Mike] Riddle, He is another athlete that competes in both events and is always bringing something illy.”
While the rest of the AFP Overall list can change in the weeks to come, Wells is a lock for the title and as the competition year draws near its end, the crown will be passed from 2008-2009 champ Simon Dumont to Wells. Most of the ADP titles, for men and women, are subject to change, and all eyes will be on Whistler for the WSSF Pipe event, as it will be the biggest game changer on the schedule left.
For more information and current standings, visit the AFP World Tour website.