It was a perfect day for the Standup World Series (SUWS) Finals at Turtle Bay Resort, as light winds and a solid WNW swell provided awesome conditions for the last day of action on the 2013 SUWS. The World Title Race has kept the SUP world on its toes throughout the 2013 Season as Connor Baxter and 2012 World Champion, Kai Lenny, both from Maui, battled it out, race by race, country by country, towards the elusive World Championship Title.
Connor and Kai, ranked one and two going into the last day of the Finals, put on a spectacle for the ages yesterday, as the two young athletes— and childhood friends— made it through to the Final. And, as the calculations were made, it was determined that if Connor finished in fifth or better in the Final (out of eight), he would secure the 2013 World Championship Title.
As the athletes embarked on the two-lap course, a flurry of sets came through, providing the most spectacular racing of the day for the most exciting heat of the event. As sets rolled in, spectators witnessed some of the most intense SUP racing ever in solid surf, with Kai powering through and winning the World Series Sprints. Connor finished with a disappointing 7th, thereby allowing archrival, Kai, to defend his World Championship Title.
Australian Jake Jensen also had a big win, impressively securing the event win after a third in the Sprints, which, combined with his win in the Long Distance, made him untouchable. The incredible performance from Jake boosts him into a final ranking of third overall for the 2013 season.
In the women’s fleet, it was Mariko Strickland from Kauai who took the overall event win, with a second place finish in the Sprints and a win in the Long Distance. Australia's Angela Jackson, ranked second going into the Finals, came out strong once again, finishing in third for the event and securing her second place overall for the 2013 SUWS Season. Securing third place overall for the year, was the French talent, Olivia Piana, who took the win in the Sprints, complementing her solid third place in the Long Distance.
The 2013 World Title, however, goes to Annabel Anderson from New Zealand, who, despite being unable to compete at the World Series Finals due to injury, racked up enough wins throughout the year to secure her second World Title in as many years.
WORLD SERIES FINALS RESULTS
1. Jake Jensen (Australia): 1st Long Distance, 3rd Sprints
2. Kai Lenny (Hawaii): 4th Long Distance, 1st Sprints
3. Paul Jackson (Australia): 5th Long Distance, 4th Sprints
4. Connor Baxter (Hawaii): 3rd Long Distance, 7th Sprints
5. Casper Steinfath (Denmark): 8th Long Distance, 6th Sprints
1. Mariko Strickland (Hawaii): 1st Long Distance, 2nd Sprints
2. Olivia Piana (France): 3rd Long Distance, 1st Sprints
3. Angela Jackson (Australia): 2nd Long Distance, 4th Sprints
4. Halie Harrison (Hawaii): 4th Long Distance, 3rd Sprints
5. Noelani Sach (Germany): 5th Long Distance, 6th Sprints
2013 OVERALL WORLD RANKINGS
1. Kai Lenny (Hawaii)
2. Connor Baxter (Hawaii)
3. Jake Jensen (Australia)
4. Casper Steinfath (Denmark)
5. Zane Schweitzer (Hawaii)
6. Kody Kerbox (Hawaii)
7. Mo Freitas (Hawaii)
8. Paul Jackson (Australia)
9. Eric Terrien (France)
10. Noa Ginella (Hawaii)
1. Annabel Anderson (New Zealand)
2. Angela Jackson (Australia)
3. Olivia Piana (France)
4. Halie Harrison (Hawaii)
5. Noelani Sach (Germany)
Check back for full video highlights and photos from the 2013 SUWS Finals, coming soon.