Update : Starboard’s Connor Baxter Wins in Brazil

Congratulations Connor Baxter for another outstanding performance and for winning the first leg of the Stand Up World Series. Connor took both the sprint and the long distance races to become the overall winner of the Brazil event. Teammate Zane Schweitzer, also had a stellar performance in both the sprint and the long distance by coming in 4th in each. However, due to a change in the scoring by the SUWS, Zane ended up 6th overall. Congrats to all the Starboard Riders!

Connor is on his way to Abu Dhabi and will be sending a recap soon… please check back for an update from Connor.

For now here are a video recapping the long distance race.

Thanks to the Stand Up World Series for the image and video.

2014 Alagoas Pro Grand Slam: Sweep Wins

The 2014 Brazil Grand Slam was a huge success. Not only was it awesome to be in Brazil, seeing competitors and friends we hadn’t seen in a long time but the weather and scenery was great. Thanks to the race organizers for putting on an outstanding event. It started off with the surfing and I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to but I was stoked to make one heat. Congratulations to Caio Vaz on a solid win.

I had a whole week to rest and get ready for the two days of hard racing with the sprint then the distance races back to back. It was fun to look around the town. Zane Schweitzer and I gave a clinic to some of the local water athletes. That was great too.

Talking about stability and balance – beginning skills. (Photo by Matty Schweitzer)

I spent some time on the water with Kody Kerbox and Zane Schweitzer. Matty Schweitzer kept snapping great photos and getting the hang of flying the drone.

Saturday started off with the sprint races. It was a simple course of racing out, back in through some surf then back out to a crucial buoy turn and then an all out sprint straight into the finish line. I was in the last heat so I had a good look at how everyone was paddling. When it was my turn I knew what I had to do.

I took that heat as a warm up and just paddled as hard as I needed to. I got first in that heat which put me in the quarters. I rested up and drank water while I waited for my next heat.

This time I had Zane Schweitzer and Jake Jensen in the heat with me so I knew it was going to be a little harder. I didn’t let thoughts get to me, I needed to focus on the race I knew I could do. When the horn blew I ran down the beach and jumped on my board. It was a clean start – I felt good. We all were paddling hard. It wasn’t long until we all knew we were all going to make it so we slowed it down.

Sprint buoy turn

I came in first again and got ready for the semi finals. I thought the quarters were tough but the semi finals were even more stacked. Butterflies get us all about this time, but I had my eyes on Gold and that was all that mattered. I got to the water and on my feet as quickly as possible. We all knew we had to save something for the finals – just the same this heat required some hard paddling. I stayed in first the whole time and came across the finish line with a comfortable lead.

I had a good amount of time between the semi finals and the finals so I just got in the zone. I was ready to win it. We all lined up – there was an amazing amount of talent on that start line – no time to think about that. Then the horn blew and I was a bat out of hell. I hit the water and didn’t look back. I made the first buoy turn in 1st place and then sprinted to the next one. I was almost there and then Kai Lenny caught a freak wave from an incoming swell and he pulled up next to me. Thank goodness I had the inside. I wiped around that buoy and just sprinted out to the next one. I opened a good gap on Kai and just keep paddling.

I turned the last buoy and now I had a good lead on Kai. Then all of a sudden along came another freak wave – Kai caught it and we rode it to the beach together. I still felt strong. I jumped off my board and sprinted up the beach as fast as possible. That final push was all it took and I crossed the line in first place. Jake Jenson (Fanatic) and Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) were right on our heels, with Jake just getting the better of Zane on the home straight to take 3rd and Zane, 4th. In 5th, it was the Casper Steinfath (Naish)

I was super stoked but I knew it there was one more race to go. So I got a bunch of food in me and a bunch of sleep so I was ready for day two – the distance race.

The distance race consisted of an up winder, a downwinder and a flat water paddle. I was stoked about that because that is what I train in everyday. Everyone lined up and was ready for action. All I was thinking about was first place and strategizing what was needed. The best is to have a perfect start, so when that horn blew I what I had to and got into a good pace. I didn’t paddle too hard up wind to the first buoy but when we got about 100 meters from it I shifted gears and pulled into the front. That felt great. I turned that upwind buoy and knew I could make some ground on everyone on the downwinder. So that was the plan. I didn’t look back until I got all the way to the beach and turned the inside buoy.

Thanks to Starboard and all my sponsors for making this moment possible

I took a quick look and noticed I had a good gap on everyone. It still wasn’t in the bag – no way! I got into my hard pace and kept my head down. I kept this pace for the flat water and back up wind to the out side buoy. I held everyone off. The final sprint was just the way I like it – down wind down to the finish. By the time I got to the beach the work I’d done was what I needed. There was a huge gap in between 1st and 2nd. I was super stoked on my two 1st place finishes. Now to the next stop.

I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Dakine, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Rainbow Sandals, Futures Fins, Virus Sportswear, Trident Sports, GoPro, OnIt Pro, Waterman’s Sunscreen, Garmin, Igloo Coolers, Hammer Nutrition, iDcard, Sunrite Maui, and Hi-Tech Sports.

Also a big Mahalo to all the event organizers and volunteers.

Connor Baxter