Connor Wins Both the "Fastest Paddler on Earth" Race & the "Survivor Cup" Race
Connor Baxter is on a tour through Europe and racing his heart out. Coming off a great showing in St. Maxime, he then traveled into Germany for the Lost Mills Event, Connor won not only the Fastest Paddler on Earth, but the Lost Mills Survivors Cup as well.
Connor provides a recap for us below… Congratulations Connor! Next stop Oleron, France!
ReCap of Event by Connor Baxter:
The 2013 Lost Mills Event was by far one of the most well organized events I have been to. From the first day to the last, it was super fun and always a battle. All of the fastest paddlers were here to win and were not going to give up.
The first day they kicked it off with “The Faster Paddler on Earth” Race. This was the race I was most excited for because there was no drafting, it was a 200 meter all out sprint against the clock and the winner got a $7,000 Breitling watch.
For the first round there were about 50 guys entered, so we had to go two at a time, but we not racing against each other. They took all the times and the top 20 fastest times made it to the finals. The thing was it was similar to downhill skiing, where the slowest times go first in the finals and the fastest times go last, so we knew what the time was to beat. So when it was my turn I knew I wanted to goes as fast as I could, so I could be in the hot seat and know want time to beat. The cool thing was that for the start they had people holding our tails so we had a fair start. Berrrp the horn blew and they let go of my tail and I was off. I thought to myself as soon as I felt like slowing down paddler harder. So that’s what I did and I paddled it in 55 seconds. I was about two seconds in front of everyone which made me feel comfortable for the finals.
About one hour later the finals started. Almost everyone was getting faster times, which made me a little nervous, but I wasn’t going to let anyone take my watch! After the fifth person went, Eric, he got the fastest time which was 55.94 seconds. The next few guys went and Eric still had the fastest time. With 55.94 seconds in my mind, I knew I had paddle my butt off. The horn blew and I had a perfect start and I didn’t let the gas off until I crashed that line. All of a sudden I heard the guy on the mic say 53.17 and I was so relieved and happy to be the fastest paddler on earth. I was super stoked with my 14′ x 24″ Starboard Sprint – it was the best choice for sure. After a little rest I got up on stage and was given the most expensive watch of my life. I was use to my 20 dollar Walmart watches. I got a good meal in me and rested for the the next days “Survivor Cup” Race.
I woke up the next morning feeling super good and ready to kick some butt. It was the normal Survivor format with a little twist. For the first three finishers they got a little head start on the rest of the field and we were all on 12’6″ inflatables. First place went on 3 seconds, Second place went on 2 and Third went on 1 and then the horn blew and the rest of the racers went. This meant we had to paddle hard every time if we wanted that 3 second head start.
So for the first start, we all lined up and started at the same time. I got ready and had to sprint to my paddle – grab it – then run back to the board and into the water. Seemed easy, but when I hit the water, I jumped on the board a little early and dug the fin into the water which made me face plant in the 50 degree water. I quickly jumped back on my board and this made me paddle even harder. I somehow caught back up and was in third before the buoy. I made a super good turn on the inside and passed second and first place. I held them off till the finish and got that head start. We had to do this four more times which sounded horrible. For the next three I paddle at 90% and kept my head start advantage.
The final six of us lined up for the last race. At the Start, I ran and got my paddle then the board and didn’t look back. I kept my head down and wasn’t going to let anyone pass. I kept the lead and survived Jamie Mitchell’s race and was super stoked on first place for all of the heats and the finals. Then once again I ate up and got some rest for the distance race.
We woke up for an early start and got all my Hammer Nutrition products in me and I was feeling ready. We lined up at the start and I was ready for an 18 km grind. I lined up on the left side of the starting line and had a pretty good line to the next buoy. I got ready and out of nowhere the horn blew and caught us all off guard. So, I had a horrible start and was in 20th place off the start line. I was not going to give up that easy so I put my head down and grinded back up to the front of the pack. I was now sitting in fourth place and took a rest. Then all of a sudden Eric Terrien made a sprint and by the time I notice it was too late. Then there was a dam we had to cross and this gave Eric another chance to get farther ahead. He put a good gap on all of us and somehow held it for the whole race. I would dash away from the group and then they all worked together and caught back up to. So I just sat in second place trying to conserve energy for the next 10km. We stayed like this for a little while and then out of nowhere a bump came from a boat and I made a huge gap on the pack of ten guys. This time I thought for sure they couldn’t catch me. I held them off for awhile until the wind came and then a guy that was drafting the whole race decides to paddle his hardest and somehow caught back up to me. So once again I took a rest and was just preparing myself for the last sprint. About 2km left to go we hit that dam again and had to cross to the other side. At this point my feet were numb, so it was very hard to run. But I stayed right there and hit the water on the other side in third. I was right behind Casper, Chase was with Travis and ten other guys behind me. I knew that this was going to be a fight to the finish so I caught up to second place stayed right beside him till the last 200 meters. Then I put my head down shifted into overdrive and didn’t look back. I somehow pulled it off and came in second. I was super happy with all my finishes and getting a 1st, 1st and a 2nd.
Overall this was an amazing event and so stoked to have come here.
I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Rainbow Sandals, Trident Sports, Dakine, GoPro, OnIt Pro, Waterman’s Sunscreen, Igloo Coolers, Sunrite Maui, Hammer Nutrition, iDcard, EFX and Hi-Tech Sports.
Also a big Mahalo to all the event organizers and volunteers. Fantastic Event!! Can’t wait for next year!
(Photographer: Franz Orsi)