Zane Schweitzer: Abu Dhabi Overall Champion and Connor Baxter Winner in Sprint Race Event.

Congratulations to Team Starboard as they went to the Middle East and dominated the wave pool and the racing course. Over 3 days we all got to witness history in the making with the first ever Tour stop in the Middle East. This could easily change surfing as we know it and no longer do we need big oceans, shore breaks, reef breaks or do we have to wait on the next big swell to come in… As the Wadi Adventure Park proved to be an a great venue to host the event.

First up in Abu Dhabi was the wave event:
The wave pool was an awesome arena for the athletes because everyone was on a level playing field and it allowed Zane to really shine with his progressive skills and aerial maneuvers. Zane won every one of his heats, and scored a perfect 10 in round three and in every heat except round one Zane also had the highest score of all competitors for each round!
He was able to land the highest arial of the event in the Expression Session earning him a plaque on their wall of champions, and wowed everyone with his tail slides, shove its, and 180s on the man made wave. Again he loves his boards, and so does Connor, whose surfing is really improving now with the smaller boards.

Zane was a bit stressed when he arrived because his boards did not make it on the flight and he did not get them delivered from the airline until the morning of the event just hours before the start. But luckily he practiced by sharing boards with both Connor who was happy to share, and Benoit… but he was able to get time on the water. Since he didn’t have his sup boards the first day he surfed his new Starboard Surfboard and caught the eye of everyone with his big airs and loved the way the board performed.

The last 30 days have been amazing for Zane. He won the wave event in Mexico, and got 2nd in the race there, and now another Standup World Tour victory in Abu Dhabi!

Zane Schweitzer : Standup World Tour Abu Dhabi Wave Champion ~ photo Waterman League

The Race Event held on Inflatable Race Boards: Connor Baxter Dominates the field!
Just coming off his big win in Patagonia, Chile, the Sprint Races in Abu Dhabi saw Connor Baxter take the lead and win another 1st Place to establish his dominance in the racing world. Connor raced for the first time ever on Starboard’s Astro Inflatable Racer at 12’6 x 26”. This could pave the way for more highly competitive racing on inflatables, making it much easier to transport boards between events.

Perhaps the surprise of the race event was the fight between Current ISA World Champion Racer Jamie Mitchell and Starboards Zane Schweitzer. With the field more level with the inflatable boards Zane came within a boards length of Jamie to finish in a very respectable 3rd place for the Sprint Races.

The conditions for the Abu Dhabi Sprint Races were some of the most difficult any of the athletes have encountered with a desert wind storm postponing the race for hours, and forcing the competitors to race with face masks to protect their lungs from the sand. The triangle course was challenging but allowed the athletes to race on an even playing field. The inflatable boards may be the future of racing because it so much easier to travel with around the world and continue to improve with each year! The athletes all agreed this event was a huge success!

This is exciting for team Starboard as it it shows the team improving on their overall excellence. Zane who has been a force in the waves, is continuing to strengthen his racing skills after a 5th Place Overall result in the 2012 World Race Series last year. Connor Baxter who is undeniably the best racer out there, is really improving in the waves due to his training this winter with smaller boards and more time on the water! These two will be a force on tour this year!!!

Congratulations again to both athletes and to all competitors of this historical event. Next stop on the tour will see all top athletes in both wave and racing competing in Brazil April 24th.

photo Waterman League

Here are the 2 day event results in Abu Dhabi:

Champion Zane Schweitzer (Starboard)
2nd Place Kody Kerbox (HI)
3rd Place Connor Baxter (Starboard)

Champion Zane Schweitzer (Starboard)
2nd Place Ian Vaz (Brazil)
3rd Place Kody Kerbox (HI)
4th Place Remi Quique (France)

Champion Connor Baxter (Starboard)
2nd Place Jamie Mitchell (Australia)
3rd Place Zane Schweitzer (Starboard)