Connor Baxter wins the long distance and overall in Brazil
Connor Baxter makes a clean sweep at Stop 2 of the Standup World Series in Ubatuba, Brazil, winning both the Sprint Racing and Long Distance courses at Praia do Centro, and earning him the Standup World Series event Title.
Connor took the lead during the first lap over teammate Leaonard Nika and gradually built on that lead over the course to secure the win, despite a last minute surge from Kai Lenny
The course took the athletes down the beautiful coastline of Ubatuba Town and back in a two-lap format that provided one of the most competitive long distance races yet on the Standup World Series.
Kai Lenny storms back into contention, but finishes 2nd
Kai Lenny had a strategy for the Long Distance Race: don’t push too hard early on to conserve energy, but then go broke at the tail end of the course to get the result. As Kai rounded the last buoy, he had made it up to second place, but it was not enough to catch and overtake the leader and eventual winner, Connor Baxter.
Although Kai wanted the win, two bullet seconds in the sprint and the long distance races confirms his focus on the goal to retain his World Title this year in the racing discipline of SUP. It's also clear to see that the rivalry between Connor and Kai is only intensifying and the racing is becoming increasingly competitive, as Kai is right on Connor’s heels after the first two stops of the 2013 Standup World Series and this is just the beginning.
Young Mo Freitas continues his great form with 3rd overall
Mo Freitas clearly feels at home here in Ubatuba – being half Brazilian by blood (although born and raised in Hawaii), and after winning last year’s World Tour event here in dramatic fashion, Ubatuba is becoming like a second home to the young talent, as he once again puts on a performance way beyond his years here at Stop 2 of the Standup World Series at Ubatuba.
With an impressive 3rd place in the World Series Sprint racing on Saturday, Mo went onto put on a strong performance in the long distance race to finish in 4th place, giving him 3rd overall for the World Series event here in Ubatuba – an incredible performance by the young athlete from Haleiwa.
His eyes are now turned to Itamambuca Beach, for the Standup World Tour event that will pick up this Wednesday and the culmination of this epic Grand Slam event. Mo will be looking for a repeat performance of his 2012 Victory as the World’s best put it all on the line here at the 2013 Ubatuba Pro Grand Slam.
Zane Schweitzer stays in the mix finishing in 4th place
While Zane Schweitzer makes the most waves in the Surfing side of the sport, there is no doubt that he is fast becoming a dominant figure in racing too, as he once again showed the Ubatuba Grand Slam. With a fourth place in the Sprint Racing and a 7th in the Long Distance, Zane is demonstrating his versatility and strength in racing and will continue to be a major player throughout the 2013 season.
What is interesting is the progression towards the idea of an Overall World Champion as we move forward here with the World Tour and World Series, with many of the world’s best surfers also leading the world racing scene too:
From Kai Lenny, Mo Freitas and Zane Schweitzer, to Kody Kerbox, Casper Steinfath and Noa Ginella, not to mention the likes of Fernando Stalla who will be competing as a wild card in this year’s World Tour event at Itamambuca Beach and not forgetting our Champion, Connor Baxter, who demonstrated devastating form in the Abu Dhabi All Stars, the well rounded field is star studded.
Casper Steinfath goes the distance to tie with Kody Kerbox
Despite having a disappointing finish in the sprint racing, where a small mistake cost him his place in the Finals, Casper Steinfath adopted a similar strategy to Kai Lenny in the long distance, choosing to sit back a bit during the first half of the race, and then put the peddle to the metal through the second half, to fight his way back up to finish 3rd. It was another great performance from the Viking and an impressive display of both technical and calculated racing.
With his 3rd place finish in the long distance, he ties with teammate and friend Kody Kerbox from Maui for 5th place overall. Kody crossed the line in a photo finish in the long distance with Zane Schweitzer, earning the points he needed to stay in the Top 5 and post another great result for the 2013 season.
3 Brazilians finish in the Top 10 at this World Series stop
The Brazilians put on an impressive show at home here in Ubatuba, and while it was not enough to secure a Top 5 spot, they made their presence felt and demonstrated that they are a force to be reckoned with moving forward here on the Standup World Series, as they already are on the World Tour.
The young racing phenom Vinnicius Martins put on another impressive performance in the long distance race finishing in 6th place, which combined with his 7th place in the sprint racing put him in 7th place overall – a great result for the young talent that will compliment his 5th place at Stop 1 of the Standup World Series in Patagonia, Chile.
Other impressive Brazilians were Luis Carlos Guido, or 'Animal' as he is known, who powered his way through the Long distance to finish in a very worthy 4th=. While his sprint racing result wasn’t what he had hoped, he still finished within the Top 10. The other Top 10 placing Brazilian was Mario Cavaco Neto, who put on a passionate performance with a 7th place in the sprints and 8th in the long distance, putting him in an impressive 8th place overall.
Leonard Nika puts on a valiant performance in distance
Finally, the Italian, Leonard Nika took the race by storm through the first and much of the second leg, leading the race off the start and through the first half of the first leg, only to be overtaken by Connor Baxter, but remaining in 2nd for the majority of the race.
With a tough finish as all the pack went into overdrive around the last buoy, Leonard slipped back to finish in 10th place in the distance race, which combined with his 7th place in the sprint racing puts him in 9th overall.
His performance here in Ubatuba is a testiment to his true potential, and as one of the leading European racers, there is no doubt that he will be one of the more prominent figures on this year’s Standup World Series.
Ariela Cesar Pinto storms to victory in distance and overall
The women’s racing was incredibly competitive, with the Brazilians showing some real condition and talent here in Ubatuba. After a strong finish by Barbara Brasil in the Sprint Racing division, it was to be Ariela Cesar Pinto who would secure a comfortable viictory in the Long distance, which combined with her 2nd place in the sprints made her the Ubatuba Pro World Series Champion for 2013.
With a 3rd place in the long distance, Barbara Brasil had to settle for 2nd, followed by Lena Guimaraes in 3rd. The level of the women’s racing fleet in Brazil was impressive and we are excited to see them compete more on the World Stage as we progress through the 2013 season.
Amateur fleet provides another passionate sporting display
WIth a great turnout of paddlers at the Ubatuba Pro World Series event, 12’6, 14′ and fun race (12’2 and under) divisions were held for both men and women, as well as an U16 division.
The level of enthusiasm, passion and clear love for the sport was exciting to witness as Brazil is fast becoming one of the sport’s more prominent melting pots. We are excited to come back in 2014 to see how this passionate sporting nation has further embraced the wonderful sport of standup paddling.
A big thank you goes out to the community of Ubatuba, but also the Brazilian paddlers at large, for welcoming us so wholeheartedly to the 2013 Ubatuba Pro Grand Slam.
Ubatuba proves the perfect host for Stop 2 of World Series
Ubatuba became the home for the Brazilian stop of the Standup World Tour in 2012 and provided the platform for one of the most exciting Finals in World Tour history. This year the town showed another side of its character, with the race taking place in the heart of Ubatuba Town, at Praia do Centro.
As an ideal racing venue that has something for everyone, the region is legitimizing itself as a paradise for standup paddling, with everything from entry-level flat water paddling, to high performance surf at Itamambuca.
Beyond the standup paddling, the people and the welcome has been so warm and heartfelt, that we can’t wait to come back next year.