Women Take on Slopestyle At The Highest Level at Crankworx Rotorua 

April 2, 2024

The female Slopestyle athletes at Crankworx Rotorua wrote history at the inaugural Crankworx FMBA Women’s Slopestyle World Championship (SWC) event on March 24, 2024. It marked a groundbreaking moment, not just for the riders but for the sport itself. The first-ever Diamond Level competition for women in the sport shone a bright spotlight on the incredible talent and determination of these athletes. 

Aotearoa’s very own Robin Goomes clinched Gold in the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza. Close on her heels were Australians Harriet “Haz” Burbidge-Smith and Caroline Buchanan, sharing the podium in second and third place. It was a very tight competition, with young Natasha Miller missing the podium by less than one point, and Shealen Reno rounding out the top five in a thrilling finish.

Winner of the first-ever Women’s Diamond Level Slopestyle Event, Robin Goomes. (c) Clint Trahan

But it wasn’t just about the competition. In a moment that captured the essence of the event and the sisterhood in the sport, Robin Goomes and Harriet Burbidge-Smith, sitting comfortably in the top spots after their first runs, decided to ditch the competitive edge for their second run. Opting for a ‘party train’ down the course, they celebrated their friendship, the progression of women in Slopestyle, and the sheer joy of the sport. Goomes remarked, “The plan for run 2 was just to clean that [first] ride up, but instead, Haz and I stayed in our positions, and Haz was saying that if she stayed in second, she was happy to just party train down.” About standing on top of the Diamond Level course with one of her close friends, she adds: “Honestly, that’s the dream – having fun with your friends. It’s been a good week!” 

Aussie Harriet Burbidge-Smith flipping the big features on the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza course. (c) Clint Trahan

Caroline Buchanan, taking home the bronze after finishing her runs with an iconic “Superwoman Seat Grab”, also took a moment to reflect on the journey here: “One of those things I remember, two years ago sitting in the booth here when the men were on and I said, you know, it would be unreal to see women. And fast forward to two years later, now I see the top six ladies in the world who are completely ready for this course and this experience, to just all shine.” Buchanan’s pride was palpable, not just in her performance but also in emphasizing the importance of visibility and representation for the next generation of female riders: “There were so many little girls in the stands, there were so many spectators, so many people cheering. [..] It’s really hard to be what you can’t see, so being seen I think is the most important thing right now for the future of Women’s Slopestyle, and yeah, to be one of the older girls in the class at 33, still throwing down, this is probably one of my career highlights today.” 

Bronze medalist Caroline Buchanan with her iconic Superwoman Seat Grab. (c) Clint Trahan

The competition was fierce, and the points were close. Seventeen-year-old Natasha Miller described her experience as “Electric, Insane and Fun” after she landed on the fourth place, just 0.75 points behind Caroline Buchanan. Shealen Reno placed fifth with 74.50 points. Patricia Druwen, the 2023 Female Red Bull Rookie of the Year and pre-event favourite, withdrew due to health concerns shortly before the competition began.

Natasha Miller is a rider to keep an eye on, missing the podium by less than one point at age 17. (c) Clint Trahan
Texan Shealen Reno has entered the FMBA Slopestyle circuit in 2022 and definitely earned her spot at the pinnacle of the sport. (c) Clint Trahan


(1) Robin Goomes (NZL) – 90.75 points 
(2) Harriet Burbidge-Smith (AUS) – 85.50 points  
(3) Caroline Buchanan (AUS) – 80.25 points 
(4) Natasha Miller (CAN) – 79.50 points 
(5) Shealen Reno (USA) – 74.50 points 

The first Women’s Slopestyle World Championship athlete lineup at Crankworx Rotorua 2024. (c) Clint Trahan

After joining the female riders in all training sessions throughout the week, the male Slopestyle athletes chose not to participate in the Diamond Level Slopestyle event at Crankworx Rotorua. This decision followed negotiations aimed at addressing rider demands that had been brought forward at the on-site rider’s meeting on March 20, 2024, just days before the event.

As we reflect on this historic weekend, it’s clear that the future of Women’s Slopestyle is not just bright, but dazzling, filled with the promise of more milestones, camaraderie and breathtaking moments of extraordinary talent.