Connor Baxter puts on a stunning performance with another victory in the World Series sprints for the Overall win in Barcelona
If there was any question as to whether the 2014 World Champion could continue his momentum into the new season, it was answered loud and clear this weekend in Barcelona, as Connor Baxter (Starboard) put on a clinic of strategic and high performance racing to take the win in both the long distance and sprint racing divisions in this first stop on the 2015 World Series.
After a dominant performance yesterday in the long distance racing, Connor cruised his way through the opening rounds, doing enough to make it through to the rounds that counted, but not too much to use up much need energy for the final rounds when the event victory is on the line.
But when the pressure turned on, Connor switched it up a notch, with an impressive semi final performance, leading to an even more impressive final where the young Champion stepped up his performance to a whole new level to take a comfortable win amidst a stacked field of the World’s best paddlers.
There is no doubt that the yellow jersey holder will have taken a lot of confidence from this first win of the season, as he will now go home and look ahead to the next stop in Brazil, comfortable in the knowledge that he has not skipped a beat, and he is on some of the finest form of his young career.
Kai Lenny comes from behind to put himself right back into contention with a 2nd place in the Sprints and the Overall
As expected, there was a huge amount of hype coming into this first event of the season and anticipation of the showdown between the 2014 World Champion Connor Baxter (Starboard) and arch rival and 2x World Champion (2012/13) Kai Lenny (Naish). To everyone’s surprise, the first day of competition proved less fruitful for Lenny, as he ended up in an uncharacteristic 7th place in the Long Distance Race.
However, as Connor himself said, you can never count Kai out, and you had better expect for him to come back stronger than ever as one of the fiercest competitors in the sport. And that he did, making it through to the Final and with a strong start, Kai made his intentions clear, as he powered around the course, unable to overtake the yellow jersey and arch rival Connor, but nonetheless finishing in an extremely credible 2nd place.
This 2nd place combined with his 7th place in the long distance, put him in a tie in terms of points with Arthur, a tie that was broken in favor of the athlete with the best result out of the two, so Kai’s 2nd place was enough to secure him a well deserved 2nd overall.
So coming out of stop #1 of the 2015 Stand Up World Series, it is a familiar ranking scenario, with Connor Baxter leading the pack, followed by Kai, close on his heals in 2nd. However, one thing is for sure, the field is more stacked than ever, so watch out for what is destined to be the most competitive year yet on the Stand UYp World Series, as history will once again be made, and Champions crowned at the culmination of the 2015 season.
Arthur Arutkin steps up at the World Series Opener to stake his claim to the World Title Race, highlighting his raw talent & potential
Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic) has been around for several years, as he has gone from boy to man both in terms of age, schooling and now results. While Arthur has shown moments of brilliance (such as his finish at the Turtle Bay Finals back in 2013), it has not been until this year, that we see the true scale of Arthur’s potential on the global stage, as he has shown himself to be a major threat, whether it be long distance or sprint racing, not to mention his talent as a Stand Up Surfer as well.
Arthur has been posting some great results across Europe this year, but here in Barcelona, stepped it up a notch when facing the World’s best athletes, finishing in 3rd overall (tied for second that was broken in favor of Kai Lenny (Naish)), and making his presence felt in the best way possible.
Quiet and unassuming on the beach and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, Arthur knows how to focus on the race course, and is not intimidated when facing up against the greats, and more than that, revels in the opportunity to take them down.
There is no doubt that this result is not a flash in the pan, and that Arthur will be a major force to be reckoned with this year on the Stand Up World Series and we look forward to seeing him in action in both the Surfing and Racing in August in Japan.
Leonard Nika puts on a stellar performance at the Iberdrola Barcelona SUP World Series, stop #1 of the 2015 World Series
Leonard Nika (Starboard) was one of the main players in the long distance yesterday and once again looked set for great things today in the Sprints, as he charged his way through the rounds on his way to the final.
A tricky start saw him get caught up with his brother and fall, making it difficult to catch up and secure the result he needed to secure a podium finish here in Barcelona. However, there is no doubt that Leonard is a major threat, and just continues to get stronger, faster and smarter as he has shown himself not only capable of keeping up with the World’s best, but taking them down.
Casper Steinfath shows the composure of a true Viking to come back from behind and secure a 5th place overall
A disappointing finish for the Danish talent in the long distance on Day 1 did not deter Casper Steinfath (Naish) from going all out on Day 2 to secure an impressive 3rd place finish in the sprints and as a result, 5th place overall.
Casper has always been a strong sprinter, so was doubtless going to be dangerous on a course like today (still and perfect flat water sprinting conditions), but ordinarily would expect a stronger finish in the long distance. However, a comeback like today will not only strengthen his confidence as we look ahead to the remainder of the European Cup, but a 5th place overall is still as solid finish for the great Dane at Stop # 1 on the Stand Up World Series. And let’s not forget, Casper will be looking to defend his European Title on the European Cup as we head north to Finland this weekend for stop #2, so this result will certainly not hurt!
Barcelona meets and surpasses all expectations as the prestigious Opener to the 2015 Stand Up World Series
There is no doubt that the venue here at Barceloneta Beach in downtown Barcelona was a hit: as one of Europe’s most dynamic and exciting Cities, it is also the only one that is situated right on the beach, providing one of the most unique contest venues for the Stand UP World Series, combining beach culture with the City lifestyle for an unparalleled experience for the athletes and the spectators alike.
Furthermore, with an attractive climate, warm and safe water for all forms of paddling and a laid back summer vibe, it proved the perfect host for this first stop of the 2015 Stand Up World Series. A big thank you goes out to Iberdrola, the City of Barcelona, LKXA, Kia Ar Motors and all our local partners for an unforgettable weekend of action here in Barcelona: we can’t wait to come back in 2016!
Stay tuned to www.watermanleague.com