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
We’ve just finished an incredible Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, where Connor Baxter has narrowly reclaimed the crown from defending champ Travis Grant in what was an amazing race…
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
CB10. Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as JM10, not yet anyway, but in a few years it may become a very popular term.
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
We’re right smack bang in the middle of the grand spectacular that is SIC’s Downwind Month, when the world descends on the Hawaiian Islands to chase big bumps and endless glides.
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
Euro Tour. Week #6. Germany.
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
With less than 24 hours til one of the biggest races of the year, we asked Connor Baxter for his thoughts on the race…
“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
So what do the world’s best SUP racers get up to in the off season? Train on their new 12’6″ prototypes? Practice their buoy turns? Do lots of dips & lunges? Well if your name is Jamie Mitchell, Matt Becker, Kai Lenny, Connor Baxter, Chuck Patterson, Dave Kalama or any of the other SUP racers who clearly have a screw loose, the answer is: Hell no, let’s go surf stupidly large waves instead.
I guess after six months spent grinding across flat lakes, surfing 12’6 race boards on 2 foot waves and riding bumps in the ocean that don’t even break, you might as well take it to the extreme opposite end of the scale, right? → READ MORE
So who wants to get on a SUP podium? Now’s probably a good time to have a crack at it, because the five best paddlers in the world are all carrying injuries and are all officially out of action at the moment.
In what is an amazing yet unfortunate coincidence, Connor Baxter, Travis Grant, Danny Ching, Kai Lenny and Georges Cronsteadt – aka the top five guys in our Top 13 of 2013 list – have all suffered problems at the same time. Fortunately for these five guys (and unfortunately for everyone else) it’s the off season right now, meaning there aren’t really any big races that you could jump in on and magically gain five positions on the leaderboard.
The SUP racing “season” (if such a thing exists in our sport) roughly runs for seven months between mid-March to mid-October. All these guy got injured in late 2013, giving them a few months to recover and get back in shape before the big races start rolling again.
The injuries for Travis and Georges are the most serious, with up to six months recovery time, while the others should be back within a month or two. Though it’s worth noting that all these injuries were NOT caused by the normal stresses of Stand Up Paddling; they mostly happened while free surfing, except for Georges, who was just plain out of luck during the Battle of the Paddle. So here’s wishing the world’s finest a speedy recovery. But what exactly happened? Here’s a closer look… → READ MORE
Well that was fun to watch…
Kai Lenny has just taken out the sprints in absolutely macking surf on the North Shore, somehow stealing the overall 2013 Stand Up World Series from Connor Baxter in the process. Australia’s young gun Jake Jensen was the overall winner this weekend though, with a third in the sprints plus his victory in yesterday’s distance race enough to give him both the “World Series Finals” event title and leapfrog him into third place overall for the 2013 season… → READ MORE
Boss Man’s note: Connor Baxter continued his impressive run of form on the weekend, taking out the San Francisco stop of the Stand Up World Series ahead of a field that included Kai Lenny, Zane Schweitzer, Kody Kerbox, Eric Terrien, Mo Freitas, Ryan Helm and Noa Ginella. The win makes it six out of six on the 2013 World Series for the young Maui superstar, giving him a clear lead over rival Kai Lenny in the overall standings.
The penultimate event is in Huntington Beach September 21st/22nd (the week before the Battle) before the World Series Finals @ Turtle Bay three weeks later will decide the overall champion for 2013. In the meantime though, click through to check out Connor’s personal recap of the action in San Fran… → READ MORE
The 2013 Stand Up World Series continues this weekend with the “AC Open” in San Francisco, which is part of the America’s Cup festivities. Some big names are in town, including Connor Baxter, Kai Lenny, Eric Terrien, Annabel Anderson, Kody Kerbox, Ryan Helm and Mo Freitas.
Again it was Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson dominating, though not without a fight… Click through for the results and photos: → READ MORE
Boss Man’s note: Connor Baxter claimed the 2013 Chicago World Paddle Challenge today, beating out his rival Kai Lenny in fairly dramatic fashion to reign supreme in the Windy City. The victory makes it five from five for Connor in the 2013 Stand Up World Series, keeping his unbeaten streak alive and putting a solid gap between himself and Kai in the overall rankings.
So what did the Starboard young gun have to say? Click through for Connor’s personal recap of the event… → READ MORE
Connor Baxter has taken out the Chicago World Paddle Challenge, claiming both the sprints and distance events to keep his 2013 Stand Up World Series unbeaten streak alive. Kai Lenny was 2nd in both races, while Zane Schweitzer and Jake Jensen finished equal third overall and were forced into a tie-breaker sprint-off. Meanwhile in the women’s event it was all Annabel Anderson, with the Kiwi claiming the double victory ahead of Aussie Angie Jackson.
Click through for full results and pics… → READ MORE