The Windy City got a taste of Standup World Series excitement with tight races during the sprint slalom and long distance races. In the end, Kai Lenny and Connor Baxter battled it out for the wins of both events with each taking home a first place finish.
The weekend kicked off with the Na Kama Kai Underprivileged Youth Clinic at the Chicago Boat Club followed by the opening ceremony at the W Hotel. The races began Sunday morning with the sprints. The Hawaiians made their presence known as Kai Lenny, Connor Baxter, Zane Schweitzer and Slater Trout continued advancing throughout the day before a freak storm passed through the event, putting the races on hold for a bit and giving competitors a true taste of the Windy City.
Schweitzer wasn't able to grab either of the top two places in the semifinals, losing out on a chance to move on to the finals, but ultimately finishing strong in the consolation finals behind Mexico's Fernando Stalla and Holland's Bart De Zwart. New Zealand's Annabel Anderson, who dominated in Oleron, finished fifth in the semifinals, moving on to the consolation finals and finishing as the top female racer of the weekend.
The finals heat was stacked with Lenny, Baxter and Trout, as well as Aussie Jake Jensen, Mexico's Ryan Helm and Eric Terrien of France. Lenny led the pack with Baxter and Trout on his heels. Unfortunately, Trout took a fall toward the end of the course, dropping behind the pack and unable to recover from the mishap. It all came down to the end, with Baxter outrunning 2-time World Champion, Lenny in an exciting beach finish. Helm took the third place with Jensen, Terrien and Trout finishing fourth, fifth and sixth.
Sunday's events also included friendly competition with fun relay races. Team Pacifico took down Team Crown after leading most of the race with Crown trailing far behind and unable to close the gap.
In the final event of the Chicago stop, the long distance race, Lenny and Baxter were at it again, with Lenny just barely outsprinting Baxter to the finish. After the disappointing fall and fifth place finish in the sprints, Trout took the third place as he edged out Helm, Terrien, and Jensen who finished in a respective fourth, fifth and sixth.
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