Kai Lenny steps up to come from behind and takes the Title for the second time
Maui’s Kai Lenny went into the Final day of competition behind: a disappointing fourth place finish in Day 1’s Long Distance Race created even more of a challenge for him to defend his World Title, as rival Connor Baxter had the points advantage from the events leading into the Finals, as well as a third place in the Long Distance. However, with rising surf and dead winds, the day would provide some of the most spectacular sprint racing action ever witnessed. Both Kai and Connor made it through to the Finals, with Kai needing to win and Connor to take sixth or worse in the Final heat in order for Kai to take the title. Given Connor’s incredible form all year, this seemed like a daunting task, but the two-lap course provided the ultimate equalizer. As the athletes hit the final leg of the race, the biggest set of the day came through and heat leader Kai dropped into a solid 6-foot closeout wave, going down right under the lip.
Connor stumbled on the first leg and was lying in seventh place as the set of the day came tearing across the course, taking out Kai as well as the top five athletes. After taking sets on the head, and scrambling to find his paddle and get back up, Kai maintained his composure and then embarked on a dramatic race to the finish line alongside young French phenom, Arthur Arutkin.
It was Kai’s week, as the young Champion managed to secure the win in the Sprints, a second place overall for the event, and the World Title for 2013, after turning 21 this week.
Connor Baxter finishes an incredible year in second place
There’s no doubt that throughout 2013, Connor Baxter was the man to beat: with a record string of victories across events everywhere from South America and Europe, to here in the US, Connor demonstrated his exceptional skill and competitive prowess at every leg of this year’s Standup World Series.
Coming into the SUWS Finals-- and after an exhausting season of racing-- Connor put every last shred of energy into the last races of the year, but a few stumbles early on in the Final heat were enough to seal his fate for 2013, having to settle for runner-up in the overall rankings.
It was an impressive year for the young champion from Maui, and the Connor / Kai matchup has only just begun. We look forward to seeing Connor back and hungrier than ever in 2014, as we lead up to the next level of international performance standup paddling.
Jake Jensen shocks the SUP world with another stunning win
Jake Jensen from Australia is one of the toppaddlers on the global racing scene at the moment, but over the past month, he’s shown that he is a real contender for a World Title, whether it be flat water, open ocean, or racing through the surf.
As the only one to win any single race when Kai Lenny and Connor Baxter were present in 2013, Jake had already shown his capabilities. However, his performance at the World Series Finals at Turtle Bay was second to none when it counted, as he dominated the Long Distance race, securing the win on the first day of competition, and then finishing third in the Sprints, giving him the overall win for the event and boosting him into third place overall for the 2013 SUWS. It was an incredible year for the formidable Aussie talent and he’s one to watch out for in 2014.
Paul Jackson: a performance to remember at Turtle Bay
Paul ‘Jacko’ Jackson from Australia put on a performance to remember at the World Series Finals at Turtle Bay. After a strong finish in the Long Distance ending with a fifth place, Jacko went onto secure an impressive fourth place in the World Series Sprints, placing him in a well-deserved third place overall for the event.
As one of the hardest working athletes out there, Jacko is solid and put it all together this past weekend to secure a phenomenal result amidst the world’s best, that boosts him into eighth place overall for 2013. It’s clear that the Aussie momentum across both the World Series racing and World Tour surfing is undeniable, as the talent from down under, rises to the top.
Casper Steinfath from Denmark finishes strong in 2013
The Viking, Casper Steinfath from Denmark once again demonstrates he is one of the world’s very best paddlers, consistently finishing in the top three or four throughout the year, and then in 5th place here in the World Series Finals at Turtle Bay. This propelled him into 4th place overall for the year, a strong finish from our Scandinavian representative.
There is no doubt that this young talent only goes from strength to strength, and is one of the impressive all rounders that is exceptionally competitive in racing and surfing. We look forward to watching Casper take on the world again in 2014.
Zane Schweitzer caps an impressive year on World Series
Zane Schweitzer is known for his insane (or ‘inzane’) talent in surfing, as one of the most innovative and explosive riders on the World Tour. However, over the past two years on the Standup World Series, Zane has proven to be a major threat, and despite not finishing as strongly as he would have liked in the final event of 2013, he still finishes in fifth place overall for 2013-- an incredible achievement by another ambassador from the incredible pool of Maui talent-- and clearly, Zane is a double threat as we look ahead to 2014 for both World Tour and Series.
Na Kama Kai achievement award goes to Arthur Arutkin
Each year, the Standup World Series and Na Kama Kai recognizes exceptional performances from young up-and-coming athletes on both the Standup World Tour and Series. In 2012, it was Mo Freitas who took the honors, while in 2013, a young athlete of just 16 years old shone throughout the event, in the World Series Sprints in particular, making it all the way to the Final and battling with World Champion Kai Lenny to the bitter end, to finish in an incredible second place. Arthur Arutkin is certainly a major talent to watch out for looking ahead to 2014 as he makes his way around the world to compete on both the Standup World Series and Surfing Tour. Given the challenging and intense conditions, this was even more impressive, as Arthur handled the solid surf and established himself as a front runner.
Annabel Anderson takes the overall World Title for 2013
New Zealand’s Annabel Anderson has had an incredible 2013, dominating every single event she entered and stringing together an impressive list of bullet wins on the 2013 Standup World Series.
Coming into the Final event of the year, Annabel had done enough to secure the overall World Title and due to injury, was unable to compete in the World Series Finals. Although disappointed not to be able to compete, Annabel was happy to watch the impressive field of talented women take to the incredible conditions at the Turtle Bay, and celebrated with the entire fleet at the World Series banquet at Kuilima Point.
A big congratulations goes out to Annabel Anderson for another stunning year on the Standup World Series and for defending her World Championship Title successfully.
Kauai’s Mariko Strickland reigns supreme at Turtle Bay
Mariko Strickland from Kauai put on an outstanding performance at Turtle Bay, winning the Long Distance race from Turtle Bay to Haleiwa on Saturday, and then finishing in second in the dramatic World Series Sprint Racing.
The light winds and surf-driven conditions suited this ever impressive talent from Kauai perfectly, as she navigated both days of racing flawlessly and narrowly missed out on a win in the Sprint Racing too, with a tie-breaker between her and Olivia Piana from France.
Olivia Piana secures well deserved win in the Sprints
French racer Olivia Piana had a great weekend of racing at the World Series Finals as well, finishing in third place in the Long Distance race on Saturday and then taking the win in the dramatic conditions of the World Series Sprints. This combination of results put her in an impressive second place overall for the event
Olivia has been one of the most consistent women on the World Series in 2013, and as a result, finishes in thirdrd place overall for the year, adapting her racing to both flat water city locations, and the powerful Hawaiian surf here on Oahu’s fabled North Shore. We look forward to seeing much more of Olivia in 2014.
Angela Jackson finishes on a high in second place overall
Angela Jackson finishes on a high in 2013, with a third place overall for the event, after a second in the Long Distance and fourth in the sprints, to cap a string of impressive results across the global events on the Standup World Series, which propels her to solid second overall for 2013.
Her composure, talent and will pushed her toward the results she needed in 2013, and clearly showcased that she is a major threat in the global competitive scene.
Wrap for the World Series, World Tour heads to France
Next up on the World Tour is La Torche Pro France, presented by Naish and XXIX. The world’s best paddlesurfers will congregate once again to do battle on France’s northwestern shore. Stay tuned for build up for this event, announcement of the Location X Finals at: WatermanLeague.com and SUPtheMag.com