Best year yet for Zane Schweitzer
Zane’s World : InZane action on the small, but fun waves at Huntington Beach US Open
To all my friends, family, sponsors, thanks for all the support this year and believing in me for the world contention rankings. Of course I’m super bummed I just barely missed the title, but I know that every step matters and I am now closer than I’ve ever been to achieving my dream of becoming World Champion. I’m hungry for next year and have my eyes on the prize!
Coming into this event I was really excited because I knew I had the opportunity to better my chances to become World Champion as I was sitting in 2nd place overall with 3 more events left in the year including the US SUP Open in Huntington, La Torche, and Morocco. Last year I finished 3rd in France and 2nd in Morocco, so I was excited to better those results too.
I flew out to California more than a week before the event to get comfortable and train in the HB conditions, because I knew any bit of extra comfortability and confidence at the event site is always rewarded. It can be a tricky wave, with many waves having to be ridden right up onto the sand in smaller conditions.
The day before the event trials started, I felt great. I knew I got a lot of practice at Huntington in, and I felt strong and confident for the event. All the athletes got called to the standard mandatory riders meeting for the event as we always do before competitions, but this meeting was much different as we all learned about some big changes for the rest of the year. The biggest news was that this event would be the last event for the 2015 tour because of financial reasons, and because the Waterman League would only like to provide us with a certain standard of quality for each event. The news was another bad hit for the Sup tours this year. We lost the Payette River Games, the Battle of the Paddle, and now the end of the World Tour. Our sport is growing so quickly, and along with that had to come some growing pains, but this was a bummer for most of the athlete. A lot of people on tour had already purchased tickets for France and Morocco, but I hadn’t and I realize this would be my last result for the world tour rankings. Since I was sitting strongly in 2nd place, all I had to do was win this event and I would become World Champion! I was excited about this because I knew there now was a chance that I could be achieving my life long dream of becoming world champion this week.
My brother Matty, sister Shelby, and I – along with the Hawaii crew and Starboard team were all posted up together on the beach for the entire event, thanks to our epic Light Speed Outdoors camping tent and setup we were styling for all the long days at the beach! It’s always more enjoyable if your comfortable when you have to be on call at the event site all day in the heat!! The action from the trials was great and the level of the athletes in the trials is continuing to rise, which is epic! Our sport keeps progressing.
My game plan for the event was to stay consistent and surf solid with smooth fluid rides and most importantly do all I can do to be in position and in rhythm with the small and inconsistent waves. Heat by heat I made it through with smart surfing and just trying to show the judges what they wanna see. My biggest heat victory of the event was in my quarter final where I beat Kai Lenny, allowing me to continue to chase my dreams. In retrospect this was ironic since last year, I beat Caio Vaz in the Semi Finals to ensure that Kai would become the 2014 World Champion… Now it was my turn, I had to beat Caio to become World Champ…. So after getting through that heat I felt very relieved, although up next was the semi final where I was up against a very on form Poenike Raioha. Watching Poe throughout the event I saw he was looking good and surfing comfortably in these minimal conditions as he is a small and light guy with great explosive style, I knew that for sure he would be a good contender for this event.
It’s was a tight heat with Poe and I but in the end the waves came to Poe and he got a few waves that he needed to advance on leaving me with a 3rd place overall finish for the US SUP Open. Poenike went on to win the event, and I finished 3rd overall for the tour, and Caio Vax finished in 2nd, which means he became the 2015 World Champion. I finished with an equal 3rd place finish with my Starboard team mate and friend Sean Poynter for this event. This meant that I finished off the 2015 year of the Stand Up World Tour in 2nd place overall for the World Tour Rankings. Congratulations Caio! You are always consistent, and after two years of finishing 2nd, even I was happy for you.
It’s a very bitter-sweet feel to be so close to achieving my lifelong goal of becoming world champion; and not getting it. In the end it all winded down to this last event in the last minute – losing in a heat with such minimal waves was a bummer. But we all had the same conditions, and I had just come off my Stand UP World tour win at the Sapinus Por in Epic, big wave surf in Tahiti, proving to myself that I can be competitive in all conditions. I’ve been working so hard and training more than ever, so after this upset I’ll only continue to push myself. I am now closer than I’ve ever been to my dream come true with a 2nd in the ranking and I’m hungry more than ever for a bigger and better year on tour next year. I’m so close I practically taste it!!!
Here is a Video edit recap by Matty Schweitzer.
Mahalo for all the support, good energy and positives messages during all the action and throughout the year, I really appreciate your guys blessings and support!! Please follow my adventures on social media at InstaGram: zaniac1, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZaneKekoaSchweitzer?ref=hl, Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/zaneschweitzer or my Zane’s World blog.