The two-time Olympian and reigning world champion executed two solid runs in Friday’s qualifying, scoring 80.25 points in his first attempt before stepping it up in the second to score 92.25 points.
“Had to go up,” James said of his scores.
“Taking into consideration I’m doing four hits I need to do four tricks and I think that’s what the judges wanted so I put that in my second run and ended up getting 92,” he said.
Spain’s warm conditions haven't deterred the 22-year-old from putting on a show.
“You can do all the tricks you want in there and that’s my plan for tomorrow night for the finals. It's going to be a good show,” he said.
“The pipe is in great shape. It's just when it gets a bit warm like this that the walls start to fade a little so you just need to be a little lighter on your toes when it heats up.”
Sochi Olympian Kent Callister was close to qualifying for the 10-strong men's final but settled for 11th after he was unable to beat his first run score of 72.75.
After receiving 68.50 points for his first run, 2013 World Champion Nate Johnstone could not complete a superior run in his second attempt and he finished in 14th.
In the women's event, former World Champion and Olympian Holly Crawford finished 10th with a strong second run score of 78.25 points. Crawford was unlucky not to qualify for the final with only the top six progressing in the women's event.
Youth Olympic Games representative Emily Arthur put down two consistent runs in the women’s event, scoring 61.75 points in the first and 51.75 points in the second to finish 17th overall.
Halfpipe finals will be held under lights on Saturday. Final events will be lived streamed at: https://www.skiandsnowboard.org.au/2017-snowboard--freestyle-world-champs/