Wolfgang Nyvelt billabong.com

There aren't many things as highly coveted as the 16 invite spots to Red Bull Ultra Natural, which enters its holding period on February 15. Half of the field was filled by the top eight finishers at last year's Red Bull Supernatural event, but unfortunately, one of those competitors has been forced to withdraw due to injury.

Japan's Kazuhiro Kokubo (pictured above) finished in sixth place at the inaugural event in 2012 and was very much looking forward to returning to Baldface in 2013. Much to everyone's disappointment, Kazu suffered an injury recently and has bowed out of Red Bull Ultra Natural competition; we wish him the best and look forward to his return to snow soon.

Austria's Wolfgang Nyvelt has been tapped as his replacement; the 2008 TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders' Poll Rider of the Year also surfs and skates, but it's his all-around snowboarding skills that have earned him a formidable reputation. Nyvelt had actually received an invite to Baldface in 2012 but had to withdraw due to injury himself, so he'll finally have the chance to shred the creative Red Bull Ultra Natural course now in 2013.

Red Bull Ultra Natural runs from February 15-21. It will air on NBC as part of the Red Bull Signature Series on March 30 at 1:30 p.m. ET / 10:30 a.m. PT.

Follow Travis and Red Bull on Twitter for more updates.




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