This shot (courtesy of PhotoCPL) was taken at Piha Beach about an hour west of Auckland, where the racing was part of Surfing New Zealand’s national championships. Starboard’s superstars Connor Baxter, Zane Schweitzer and Sean Poynter, who are in NZ this month for a pre-season training camp, took the chance to join the locals in what must surely be SUP racing’s equivalent of Code Red conditions. → READ MORE
The first real post I ever did on SUPracer.com was the Top 11 of 2011. It was three years ago last week that I first tried to rank the world’s best paddlers in order – not an easy task in a sport as fragmented as stand up paddle racing.
I probably got things a little more accurate with the Top 12 of 2012 and again with the Top 13 of 2013. However those “power rankings” were always based as much on my gut feeling as any real stats, so 18 months ago I set about building a far more accurate and reliable ranking system… → READ MORE
The final event of the 2014 Stand Up World Series
is happening this weekend has just wrapped up on the North Shore of Oahu. Based out of Turtle Bay, which sits just down the road from famed breaks such as Waimea, Sunset and Pipeline, the World Series Finals will see a very small but hyper-elite band of young guns battle it out in what could be some very interesting conditions.
One week after the all-time, wave-fueled carnage at Salt Creek, the surf at Turtle Bay looks set to throw up another chaotic weekend of racing. Yesterday the North Shore was tipping a solid 10-12 ft plus (20 ft faces) and while the swell is expected to slightly dip today and tomorrow, I’m confident there will be some entertaining chaos to enjoy. → READ MORE
Here’s a very interesting post-Battle interview with Connor Baxter, which includes a lengthy discussion about *that* incident with his arch-rival Kai Lenny. The young Maui superstar lays it out very open and honest, taking us through exactly what happened and giving us his blunt assessment.
You should watch the whole clip but basically: Connor admits he was wrong, accepts responsibility for his actions, even apologises for setting a bad standard for the young spectators on the beach. However Connor also doesn’t hold back in accusing Kai of being a dirty racer, even using the word cheating to describe what happened. → READ MORE
Yesterday’s Elite Race saw some of the most exciting stand up paddle racing ever, with a solid south swell rolling into the BOP’s new home of Salt Creek and creating some very memorable moments. Today’s Distance Race was a little mellower, however the performances were just as strong.
Click through for the full results plus the archive of our LIVE BLOG, which includes play-by-play from the racing and plenty of shots of the carnage… → READ MORE
The Stand Up World Series @ Huntington delivered some very entertaining moments over the weekend. Despite the roller-coaster nature of the whole World Series enterprise, this event seemed to deliver on all fronts.
One of the areas the World Series has always done a solid job is getting slick videos up on YouTube just hours after the event. So check out these video highlights from Huntington Beach, which feature some great carnage in the punchy HB shorebreak. → READ MORE
Results and recap from the racing half of the Huntington Beach Pro, which finished just moments ago. The event saw a very solid group of young stars hit Southern California for a serious warm-up ahead of the Battle of the Paddle.
This event was the penultimate stop of the always dramatic (quite often for the wrong reasons) Stand Up World Series and, with the BOP just two weeks away, was a great chance to see who’s in form heading into the biggest race of the year.
It was cool to see some powerful and determined performances from some very dedicated athletes, however the weekend belonged to Connor Baxter and Candice Appleby. → READ MORE
We’ve just wrapped up the second and final day of the 2014 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, with Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson dominating an all-star field in what will surely be remembered as one of 2014’s best events.
After their respective victories in Saturday’s Course Race, the Starboard duo made it a clean sweep by claiming today’s unique “Double Downwind” event. With the winds lighter than usual for the Gorge (but much better than we’d feared last night), the elite field battled their way up the Columbia Gorge in back-to-back downwind runs. The majority of the world’s top athletes were on show today, which gave us some intense racing and a great spectacle (especially from my vantage point out on the media boat). → READ MORE
After a tight contest early – where the top five favourites of Connor, Scott, Kai, Dave and Travis were all within shouting distance – it became a two-man duel in the last five or six miles before Connor eventually broke free to win in record time. Coming home strong was Scott Gamble for 3rd, with Kai Lenny relinquishing an early lead to settle for 4th. Travis Baptiste put in an absolutely extraordinary effort to finish 5th overall on his 14 footer, just seconds behind Kai and half a minute in front of Dave Kalama.
On the women’s side it was a superhuman effort from Germany’s Sonni Hönscheid, who led for most of the crossing to defeat the determined Jenny Kalmbach. → READ MORE
Euro Tour. Week 10. Germany. This weekend it was off to the northern German island of Fehmarn, where the “SUP World Cup” kicked off (see what we did there?) with a small but elite field of talent on display. Saturday saw the sprints while Sunday it was the long distance race, with combined results determining the overall event placings. Despite the small field, there were still a few seriously big names battling it out this weekend.
In Saturday’s sprints the Kai/Connor rivalry clicked into gear straight away, with the two young superstars locked in a duel right to the line. Kai narrowly took the honours on day one, however Connor had other ideas for the distance race on day two. → READ MORE
With his victory over Kai, Dave, Travis and Livio on the weekend, Connor Baxter has now won five straight Maui 2 Molokai titles. The event started in 2010 and Connor has won every single race. He owns this event. And if he can keep that domination going for another five years, he’ll equal Jamie Mitchell’s seemingly-untouchable 10x Molokai 2 Oahu paddleboard titles (aka the Decade of Dominance). → READ MORE
Downwind Month is about having fun in the open ocean no matter how fast you go, though it does happen to feature a string of big, elite races as well. In a week and a half it’s the grand daddy: Molokai 2 Oahu, which we’ll be covering LIVE on July 27th. However last weekend saw another big channel crossing: Maui 2 Molokai, where Connor Baxter defeated the likes of Kai Lenny, Dave Kalama and Travis Grant to claim his 6th straight M2M crown.
And thanks to EPIC Aerial Productions, we can now enjoy the race from above… → READ MORE
Downwind Month Glides on… Connor Baxter has just won the Maui 2 Molokai race yet again, beating an all star field and firing a shot across the bow ahead of the big one, Molokai 2 Oahu. This must be about the 6th or 7th time in a row that Connor has claimed the M2M title, however this year the win was more hard fought than ever. Connor edged out fellow Maui young gun Kai Lenny by a couple of minutes, while behind him was a who’s who of the downwinding world including Dave Kalama, Travis Grant and Livio Menelau.
Very interesting to look at today’s result in relation to the Molokai 2 Oahu race coming up in two weeks (and which we’ll have live coverage of). Today’s Maui 2 Molokai could be a bit of a form guide for the big one: All five of the top guys from today will be back in action on the 27th. → READ MORE
Eric Terrien has just won the 2014 Lost Mills, repeating his heroics from twelve months ago to claim victory ahead of a star-studded field. In a race that more than lived up to the hype, Eric won by three minutes from Danny Ching and Connor Baxter, while behind them were another dozen of the world’s very best paddlers.
This was an incredibly competitive race – perhaps the single most-elite SUP race ever held outside the States – and it didn’t disappoint. → READ MORE
Connor Baxter and Andrea Moller have reasserted their dominance of the Hawaiian downwind scene, taking out the 2014 OluKai Ho’olaule’a in surprisingly good conditions on Maui today. Despite Facebook being flooded with messages such as “Hey does anyone have a flat water board I can borrow?!” over the past 48 hours, the wind along the famous Maliko downwind run turned on just in time for the start of the race.
Connor showed once again that he’s the King of Maliko, finishing in a very solid time of 51 minutes, over two minutes clear of the only guy who got within shouting distance of him, Aussie Travis Grant. Maliko stalwart Jeremy Riggs put in a good effort to take home third, while Kody Kerbox came home in 4th ahead of Danny Ching and Livio Menelau.
With close to 300 paddlers on the line, including several of the biggest names in the sport, the event itself has shown it’s one of the world’s premiere races. → READ MORE
Maui’s Paddle Imua race kicked off the 2014 downwind season on Saturday, with locals Connor Baxter and Andrea Moller showing their class in less-than-ideal conditions. With light winds turning the race along the famous Maliko run from a downwinder into a bit of a grind, the 150+ paddlers (including 97 on stand ups) had to dig deep to find the bumps.
And finding them better than anyone was Connor Baxter. In a further sign that he’s not human, Connor beat the entire field on a 12’6. That’s five feet shorter than most of his rivals. Granted the light winds blunted much of the advantage of the unlimited boards, but even Kody Kerbox on a 14 footer could only get within a minute of Connor.
The win puts Connor in great form ahead of next week’s massive OluKai race and shows that his shocker of a result in Carolina was an anomaly. → READ MORE
“Yeah stoked to be here, it’s going to be a really challenging race, totally different to what I’m used to so it’ll be a good test. I’ve been doing the shorter 12’6 races lately, but this is 13 miles on a 14 footer so a whole different ball game for me. I usually try to do only two races over 10 miles each year – and those are downwinders in Hawaii… It’s also really different coming off races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, especially Abu Dhabi where it was crazy hot – 105 degres (40 C) in the dry desert heat. So now coming to North Carolina where it’s a bit cooler is actually a nice change.
The Carolina Cup looks like it’ll be a really challenging course. This is my first year but everyone’s saying it’s a total mission out there. Definitely one of the toughest races on the calendar. Comparing this to other events on the level of difficulty, this would be near the top closer to Molokai territory than your average race. It’s got all kinds of conditions – flat, ocean, maybe downwind and a few parts where there are waves. So it’s gonna make for super interesting racing and strategy…” → READ MORE
A small but elite field of young talent has launched the 2014 Stand Up World Series in Brazil this weekend, with Connor Baxter drawing first blood by making it a clean sweep of both the Sprint and Long Distance races. Meanwhile on the women’s side it was Angie Jackson all the way, with the reinvigorated Aussie proving too strong for a select group of local and international paddlers.
The Connor/Kai rivalry, the recurring theme of the 2013 Series, returned on Day One of the Alagoas Pro, with the two superstars battling all the way to the finish line in the sprints. Connor got the win by half a second, while one wave behind was Aussie Jake Jensen, a paddler that I (and many others in Australia) have tipped to be one of the World Series title contenders this year. Coming home 4th was Zane Schweitzer, while rounding out the top 5 in the sprints was the Danish Viking, Casper Steinfath. → READ MORE
There’s been a lot of serious news in the SUP racing world this week. Too much. We definitely need healthy (and occasionally heated) debates to ensure this sport stays on track, but we also need to remind ourselves why we love paddling in the ocean. Because it’s fun. And because it makes us smile.
Thank you Ashley Baxter, Connor Baxter, Kody Kerbox, Kai Lenny and Chuck Patterson for the reminder. → READ MORE
I’m not sure what I just watched, but I believe it was a promo for the 2014 Ultimate SUP Showdown. In what is easily the most unique stand up paddling video that’s come across our virtual desk in… ever, this two minute trailer features Connor Baxter and Zane Schweitzer doing everything from riding giant waves to receiving a pedicure.
The clip is a teaser for an extended series of webisodes that’ll be debuting soon, with the aim of entertaining and spreading the word of stand up paddling to a new demographic (the focus is on “people who have no experience of SUP… reaching a new audience” according to Showdown organisers) while also promoting the Ultimate SUP Showdown brand at the same time. → READ MORE