Connor Baxter is so hot right now. And we’re not talking about the nagging fever he battled for most of 2012. He’s won the first two events of the World Series (Chile and Brazil) as well as the Waterman League demonstration race in the United Arab Emirates. And all this before he heads into the Hawaiian leg of the 2013 events schedule. SUP mag caught up with the 18-year-old in Brazil as he basked in his post-win glory.
SM: How are you feeling physically this year compared to last season?
CB: I feel a lot better and more fit. Last year I battled pneumonia, mononucleosis, strep throat, sinus infections, flu – I was sick all year. When I wasn’t competing I was trying to get well. I’m training harder and it’s already showing. I feel super-strong and ready to win the title this year.
SM: What do you think of this year’s setup for the World Series?
CB: So far the events have been epic. The courses and locations have been new and different, which is keeping it interesting. From dodging icebergs in Patagonia, Chile, to racing in a sand storm in Abu Dhabi and in the jungle here in Brazil, it’s been a good year so far.
SM: What about the competition? Has the turnout been good?
CBIn Chile and the UAE, we had some of the top 15 there. But here in Brazil it was a huge turn out and had one hundred or more people entered. Really great turnout for an event.
SM: A lot of race fans would like to see you race against Danny Ching every weekend, or generally, see the sport’s best pitted against each other more often. Do you ever see a time where we’ll have a unified tour that will bring all the best competition into one place?
CB: I really hope we can get a race tour together that brings the best to every event and then it will be a real race tour. I think that in time, as the sport grows, the events that become the most prestigious, such as the Battle of the Paddle and Molokai 2 Oahu – events that offer the most prize money, are well organized, are grouped together so traveling is easier with race boards – the athletes will come together. But for now it’s nice only racing Danny twice a year – hahaha, kidding!