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Starboard’s Connor Baxter Wins in Brazil

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.

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Starboard’s 2014 ALLSTAR Range Reviewed by Paddleboard Specialists

Starboard's 2014 ALLSTAR Range Reviewed by Paddleboard Specialists

Gary Stone from Paddleboard Specialists (one of our top dealers in the USA) has provided us with a review of the latest in Starboard’s Racing line, the 2014 Allstar.

The Allstar Series:
“It feels like you’re paddling downhill”

Creating a race board for the world’s fastest and most demanding race team in is a challenge. There is a legion of considerations when creating a versatile race board.

Lower rocker for more speed, bottom contours that create lift to enable a board to go to glide, a nose that pierces rough seas and surf but also lifts so you don’t steer from the bow.

It’s a board that rounds a buoy fast and is quickest to go to glide, we call that “coming out of the hole. When you combine a sleek outline, complex concave bottom, independent rail and center rockers, round-to-tucked sharp rails and a volume distribution that creates a balance point, it allows the paddler to minimize displacement/disturbance and maximize their stroke. From that flawless balance point comes a board that allows you to paddle longer on one side, track through quartering wind to stay on the mark, run the bump, increase your stroke turn-over and hold top speeds with less effort.

Quote from Connor Baxter (the Fastest Paddler on Earth)
The All Star board is one of my favorite race boards for all conditions. It cuts through the water going up wind, side wind, and down wind. Also, competing in the waves, it punches through the break and surfs amazingly. The new shape is great – especially if you only want to buy one board for all your races – because it’s extremely versatile. The board is super-light and durable, which makes it super-fast. The cut out deck allows the rider to go on a narrower board and still feel comfortable. My favorite part of the new design is the tail, which is a big square shape that allows you to step to the tail and complete fast turns at buoys. Overall the new shape is, by far, a lot faster and you will find yourself winning way more races.~ Connor Baxter

For our full range of Starboard SUP’s please visit our website here:

If you’re in the USA and looking to demo or purchase the Allstar or any other Starboard SUP, please visit here: and here:

Click here to read more: STARBOARD SUP


2014 Allstar Race Board

Check out Starboard’s new 2014 Allstar. It feels like you’re paddling downhill.
Some of the features include: sleek outline, thick block tail, recessed deck, drain holes, chop/wave piercing nose… All this in a single board which is great for downwinders and all-round conditions. More at

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Astro Tandem Review by Distressed Mullet

Astro Tandem Review by Distressed Mullet

Everything is more fun when you can share it. Check out this week’s product review of the Starboard Astro Tandem Inflatable.

Thanks to Distressed Mullet for giving this board a try…
It could make or break your relationship (kidding)

I paddled my first tandem board in Utah with Matt Lennert from Chicago. I was working through the 2014 Starboard race boards line when he said to hop on and try it. it takes practice. You have to paddle in sync. If you don’t, it’s herky jerky and for couples, it could be the end of your relationship. At first, I nicknamed it the “relationship killer.” I thought it might even be worse than a trip to Ikea. We went a hundred yards out and turned without falling in. I was uncomfortable. As we headed back, we got our rhythm and all of a sudden, it was fun. We caught a bump. It was a blast. Matt and I are still friends and I can see why the tandem division is growing.

See the full review at:

Click here to read more: STARBOARD SUP


Connor Baxter’s Recap of the Battle of Paddle 2013

Connor Baxter's Recap of the Battle of Paddle 2013

Connor Baxter fought hard at the 2013 BOP and under extreme conditions by mentally and physically, he came away with an outstanding 2nd place finish.

Connor provides us with his account of the the race and why he wasn’t able to race the long distance on day two of the contest.

Congratulations to Connor and the entire Starboard Team!

Recap by Connor Baxter

The 2013 Battle of the Paddle – also known as the BOP was a fantastic and exciting event. Just like last year, they kicked it off with two morning heats to eliminate so many people in the finals. In each heat there were 60 plus people and they were taking half. So as I got ready for the first heat – I knew what I had to do. Since they were taking a lot of people I knew that I didn’t have to paddle my heart out – just as hard as I needed to, to make it through. The horn blew and I quickly ran down the beach and jumped onto my board. I needed to sprint pretty hard to the first buoy to get out of the carnage and into clean water. I got into my steady pace and paddled my two and a half laps with little effort. I kept this pace until the end and came in around fourth place.

The next race for me was the finals which was at 2:30. In between the qualifiers and the Elite finals they first had the age group race – with over 400 competitors – that spanned from age 7 to 76. There was a huge train of people and by about the middle of the race – it connected into one huge rectangle of people.

Next up was the Women’s Finals at 1:30. This was the first year the organizers gave the women their own race – which was great. For the first time I got to watch – and it was very exciting. Annabel took the win!

So – I just rested up, drank lots of water and got prepared to go to battle. As it was getting closer and closer, I got more and more pumped up and ready to go. I finally was on the start line and ready to go more then ever. Board and paddle in my hands, I was energized and just waiting for that horn to blow. There were still so many people in the Elite race that we were all shoulder to shoulder crammed onto the starting line.

And all of a sudden the horn blew and I sprinted to the water. When I went to set my board in the water there were so many people all around that I set my board on top of boards not even in the water. Once I finally got my board and paddle into the water I had to navigate through a bunch of people to try to get back up to the top.

We turned the first outside buoy and headed inside to the notorious Hammer buoy. A few of us rounded the buoy clean and headed out to the next buoy. When I turned the buoy to head back to the beach, there was a little bump that only Kai and I caught. We hit the beach at the same time for our first beach run. Then off the beach and on to our second lap.

On this lap Kai drafted me the whole lap until the second to last leg where he was all powered up. He sprinted passed me and somehow got this wave out of nowhere.

I got the next wave and as I turned the buoy – I put so much effort into it I popped my rib out. So I stayed in second until the next buoy and then Danny caught a wave and caught up to me. So now Danny and I battled it out for the next two laps until the final one. We both hit the beach together, sprinted fast and paddled hard off the beach.

At this time my rib was sore, but I just kept paddling my hardest. Going into the third buoy, I caught this little bump and notice Danny missed it – so I took that as my chance to get a good gap on him and didn’t let up on the throttle and didn’t look back. I just kept it going and paddled super hard.

Coming into the second to last buoy I notice I caught up a little to Kai, so I kept it going and after the last buoy turn, almost catching the same wave he was on heading to the beach – but it wasn’t enough which put me in second place. I was super stoked and even more hungry for next year.

So having my rib pop – I had to see a sports doctor who luckily popped it back in. But unfortunately, this put me out of the Long Distance Race on Sunday.

But I was super stoked to be able to watch it and see Zane pull off the third place in the Elite race. Congrats to him for a great race! Also Annabel for another first place victory!

And I also got to watch all the Groms battle it out. Which was scary to watch, because I know these kids are all going to be beating me soon if they keep it up. But at the same time – so sick to see that many kids doing this amazing sport. There were three kid races of different age groups – followed by the kids surf relay. Unbelievable talent!

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

Also a big Mahalo to all the event organizers and volunteers. Great Event!! Thanks to Sparky, Pat, Barrett and Gerry!

Connor Baxter

Photos by Karen Baxter

Everyone wearing Connor’s T-shirts with his motto “Always have fun and Never give up” (which he gave away at the Kids Trophy Presentation)

Connor and Kai coming into the beach – the wave to themselves (look at the background at how far a lead they have)

Now this is what the Battle is about – 17 people on One Wave – about to hit the beach. Carnage.

Connor and Danny on their wave about to hit the beach

Connor and Zane celebrating their 2nd and 6th place finishes!!

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Zane Schweitzer’s Recap of the 2013 BOP

Zane Schweitzer's Recap of the 2013 BOP

The BOP is always a great race to watch with its many challenges, hi ranking competitors and it can be a devastating race for some and rewarding for many others. This year is no different and Zane Schweitzer found this race to be rewarding as he took 6th in the elite race and 3rd in the distance. Zane gave us a recap of the weekends fun filled event.

Congratulations Zane and the entire Starboard Team!

You can check out Zane’s post race interview here:

Zane’s Recap
This weekend was incredible. The Battle of the Paddle is the race anyone and everyone in the SUP world looks forward to every year.
You can count on at least 500 competitors, a great demo area, the beach lined with thousands of spectators and the most talented professional field of any race out there. It is the race every athlete dreams of doing well in, trains for all year, and knows it will be not only fun but one of the hardest races they will compete in!

Me and the Battle have an up and down history though… Two years ago I was realizing my dream of finishing in the top 10, and in the finishing chicane was passed by one of the best racers RUNNING up the beach to the finish. Kelly Margets finished 10th and I got 11th!!! It was a real frustration, but I had to settle for a respectable 11th overall and hope 2012 would be different. I knew that the next year I could come back and kill it if I continued to train. But the Battle is always just that – a fight!!! In 2012, after training all year, I was ready to vindicate myself. I was feeling strong, had a great racing season behind me finishing 4th overall in the World Race Series, and a couple great wins in the year. But in the finals of the Elite Race I caught a bomb set, without a leash on and lost my board. I saw it ride the wave all the way to the beach, and I had to swim in all the way to the beach, killing any hope of finishing near the top of the field.. Although last year my elite course race didn’t finish how I planned, the Distance race was one of my best finishes yet, finishing in 1st place in the 12’6″ class overall!

I love the Battle! Lots of people on the waves with carnage all around, getting knocked around, people in the lead getting passed by someone way behind them because they got a set wave! Anything can happen and usually does. So this year – I was prepared for anything! In the semi heat I finished in a solid third place even with some minor equipment failure. It made my hunger even stronger! For the main event, I was pumped and ready. Within minutes of the start, I rolled my board just before getting to my feet, I fell off and had to jump back on and gain lost time. Not the way I wanted to start the race. But there are 3.5 laps in this race, and I was determined to pick off as many competitors as I could one at a time, going from some were in the top 25 all the way up to the top 6!

… Kai Lenny had a bit of a break in the pack, ahead of the the train, He was on fire and I could see he was having his moment. Behind him was my team mate and close friend Connor Baxter closing the gap stroke by stroke. As always Danny Ching was right there in the front, though only this time in 3rd position, with Casper Steinfath having a great race and in 4th position. 5th, 6th, and 7th was Mo Freitas, Me, and Kelly Margets all together. For us it would be down to the beach race, we hit the beach at the same time and raced through the Chicane almost together. Close behind us was Jake Jensen, Lincoln Dewes and Fernando Stalla. Talk about an international podium, we represent Hawaii, US, Denmark, Australia, and Mexico, and All of us were thrilled to have made the podium and earned the yellow jersey for next years race.

Finishing top 10 in a field of such great racers was awesome but none of us could relax since we still had one more day of racing ahead of us.

The distance race – 5 miles along the coastline to San Clemente Pier, then back for a total of just about 10 miles, with a beach start and a beach finish. As we set out it was a pack of the fastest paddlers as you can imagine, pretty much all in a train vying for position. In the long distance race, my goal was to Paddle hard with the top of the pack, and stay with the top 5 for as long as I could. The leader of the group was Travis Grant, even with an injured knee, he was still FAST. He had not raced the day before because of it so he was a little fresher than us, no sore muscles, but his knee was seriously injured we were all impressed he had it in him to race, never mind lead the pack. But you could tell he wanted it this race bad. Danny Ching was also right there in front, with Beau O’Brian my Starboard team mate from Australia in that first group too. Noticeably missing from this lineup was Connor Baxter who paddled so hard in the Elite Race the day before that he re-injured himself popping a rib out!!! So he had to pull out of this race. Just a board length away was about 7 more of us, including Jake Jensen, Casper Steinfath, Kai Lenny, Me and Kody Kerbox… Packed together trying to find the moment to pull ahead. I took my first opportunity at the half way buoy by the pier, made the turn fast, steer clear of the other competitors, and keep my speed enough to pass a few racers and keep out of the kelp with my FCS Kelp fin.. This put me to the front of the second group in 4th. With under a mile or two to go I had to make my move. My Starboard Sprint 14′ was the perfect board for these conditions and I really just paddled as hard as I could to get ahead. The board picks up on a plane fast, and with just a bit to the beach, I was able to pass Beau O’Brian for a 3rd place overall finish!

With a 6th place finish in the Elite Race and a 3rd Place finish in the Distance Race I secured my goal of top 3 overall at the 2013 Battle of the Paddle! Congratulations to Danny Ching the Overall Champion with a 3rd in the Elite Race and 2nd In the Distance. It was really fun paddling with all these guys and can’t wait for the next race.

Also; a big shout out to Annabel Anderson who with no surprise to anyone killed it in both of her races, winning both the Elite Race and the Distance Race and securing the Overall Champion title as well!

Big Mahalos to Matty Schweitzer for being an epic Team Captain and Manager for Starboard, as well as an awesome coach to the team and not to mention getting insane videos and photos in all the races!
Mahalos to all my supports and sponsors; Starboard, AlpineStars, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Vitargo (Fein), FCS, Waterman Sunscreen, Kulcha Shok Muzik, Dakine and Hi Tech!

See you on the water!!!
Zane Kekoa Schweitzer

Click here to read more: STARBOARD SUP


Connor wins the Overall Title in San Francisco That’s 6 for 6 Overall Titles on SUWS!

Connor wins the Overall Title in San Francisco  That's 6 for 6 Overall Titles on SUWS!

Congratulations to Connor Baxter and the entire Starboard Team. San Francisco proved to be a tough competition and a great experience for our riders and for SUP overall. To have an event combined with one of the most prestigious sporting events of all times, was a brilliant move by the Waterman’s league, which put the Stand Up World Series and the sport of SUP in the spotlight during the America’s Racing Cup. Starboard was front and center with wins from both Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson and Zane Schweitzer with an impressive 3rd place finish, proving he is one of the best in the world.

Here is a recap by Connor on the event:

ReCap by Connor

The 2013 San Francisco America’s Cup Open was a great event. It was held at Marina Green and the event site was called the America’s Cup Village. It was right where the 45′s were racing for the Youth Cup. The Golden Gate Bridge was only a couple miles away to the west. With the fog rolling in it was sometimes covered and not visible. There were loads of boats in the bay watching all the 45′s racing. Action packed weekend.

There were hundreds of spectators lining the bleachers and waterfront. Big screen televisions around the AC Village captured the action of the 45′s racing, as well as our Standup Races. Really awesome to see all the excitement around the America’s Cup.

Outrageous to be included as one of the events here at the AC Open!!!

On Friday we headed up to the city for a scavenger hunt organized by the Standup World Series. It took us all over the city. Up and down the hills. Following clues. Zane and I were on one team and had fun figuring out where to go. Asking people for help. Four hours later we had finished the hunt. We were starving!!

On Saturday, the first day of racing, they ran the long distance. The race was about 7 miles. We started at the end of the marina and headed downwind to a buoy. We were in between the 45′ racing cats and the waterfront. Really cool backdrop for the spectators.

After rounding the buoy we had to paddle straight upwind a couple miles going to the Golden Gate Bridge. The wind was about 20-25 mph. Luckily we had the current going with us. Then we had to round the South Tower of the bridge, which was crazy because there was a lot of water moving, big swells and the current was super strong going out. Kai and I were neck and neck rounding the tower with Mo right behind us.

As I was turning around it, I fell into the water and the current was so strong it sucked me back out past the tower. This allowed Kai and Mo to make a huge gap on me. After I rounded the tower it was a straight downwind run, but into about 1-2 knots of current. So I took it to my advantage and put my head down to try to catch up to Kai and Mo. After catching a bunch of bumps I caught up to Mo. I stayed next to him for a bit and then started to pull away from him. I also had closed the huge gap Kai had on me. At this point I thought he had already won but I wanted to catch up so he didn’t have a huge lead on me. So I kept paddling as hard as possible and coming into the Marina Green, Kai had about a 16 second lead on me. Now we had to head back down to the last buoy in-between the 45′s and the spectators on the waterfront.

At this point I had already caught up alot and all of a sudden Kai messed up at the buoy so I took my chance and caught up even more. After I turned the buoy I was only a little ways behind, so I put my head down and turned on the jets. I caught up to him and then started to pass him.

I kept paddling as hard as I could and crossed the line in first place. I was super stoked to be able to make up that kind of ground and actually win.

As I always say, “Always have fun and Never Give Up!”

I got a good home cooked meal in me and rested up for the next day of sprint races.

I showed up to the beach on Sunday ready to go and ready for another day of hard paddling. There were not that many people doing the sprint races so there were only three races to do.

In my first heat I had Jim Spithill – skipper of the Oracle for the America’s Cup. He and Shannon Falcone, one of the grinders on the boat, both were at the event ready to compete.

How cool to have such celebrities at this event competing and supporting SUP!

My first heat was harder then normal and I had to work it to make it to the semi finals. Only 2 people advanced and I came in second which put me in the the semi finals. I stayed warm got some water in me and got ready to do it again. For the semi finals there were more people but this time 3 people made it to the finals. So I made sure to paddle as hard as I needed to make it in the finals. I went around the course playing it safe and conserving energy and made it to the finals. This next heat was the one that counted, the finals, so I put everything I had toward this last race. Coming into the first buoy Kai caught a little boat wake and it gave him a clean buoy turn where Zane, Mo and I all got hung up at the buoy. This allowed Kai to pull away and get a comfortable lead on us. I kept paddling as hard as I could but it wasn’t enough to catch up. I ended up second. So, this placing got Kai and me in a tie, which wasn’t on my agenda, but there Kai and I were again on that starting line.

We had to have one more race to break our tie and to crown the overall champion. I put my game face on and was ready to win. When that horn blew I hit the turbo boost and was out of there. From that moment on I held the lead, which got me that 1st place overall. I was super stoked and honored to be apart of the AC Open and to take the win. It was a fun weekend and great racing.

That evening we went to the Main America’s Cup Park – where the Starboard Movie premiered on a huge screen. Loads of spectators – lots of fun – a great ending to a fantastic day.

I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Rainbow Sandals, Futures Fins, Dakine, Trident Sports, 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. Great Event!! Hope to be back in SAn Francisco next year!!

Connor Baxter

My first heat with Jim Spithill in the foreground and Kody next to him. Me in front in the yellow jersey.
Look at Jim Spithill – he is using my signature “Choke Grip” – pretty cool!

Photos below from my mom!

The finish of the Long Distance Race – Connor in the lead

And is the Winner

Sprint Racing Connor in Front with Kody and Jim Spithill farthest out

Connor & Zane on the Big Screen at the America’s Cup Park

Connor, Jim Spithill and Zane

Click here to read more: STARBOARD SUP


Starboard Wins in San Fran – Recap by Zane Schweitzer.

Starboard Wins in San Fran - Recap by Zane Schweitzer.

2013 America’s CUP AC Open Stand Up World Series

This time around the wonderful sport of Stand Up Paddling brought us to San Francisco for the Stand Up World Series America’s Cup AC Open Paddle Pro! The Prestigious America’s Cup is the second to oldest sporting event in the world behind the Olympics, running for 162 years! It was such an honor to be apart of this event with the SUWS and show the Yatching world what professional Stand Up Paddle Racing is all about! And at the same time it was such a pleasure to see what the America’s CUP had in store for us with the amazing 78foot Hydrofoiling sailboats reaching up to 48 knots maneuvering through a windsurf like Slalom course..!

The event is huge, practically consuming the entire city of San Francisco, and seating hundreds of people in the stadium seating arena just in front of our Course for the SUWS!! The first day of competition consisted with a grueling 7 mile Distance course, with 25-30 knots of head wind and waist high swell coming towards us for the first 2.5 miles up and around the Golden Gate Bridge, making it a very challenging and physical demeaning course.. It was quite a challenge on the first leg up wind and we sure got a beating, and just to make it better, Annabel Anderson was leading the pack for the majority of the upwind leg with a ideal board selection for this course; the ACE 12’6×25″! With the consistent rocker line and high nose out of the water this board was perfect for the grouping rough up wind/swell grinder!
I was in the back of the train in 8th on the way up, but after rounding that buoy my Wave reading abilities brought me up to 4th place with a solid podium finish for the first day of competition! Connor Baxter wins overall with his waves reading and high speed paddling with Kai right behind him.. Annabel Anderson also wins for the Women and even places 5th overall for the distance!

The next day was my highlight, as the sprints always are for me, with an awesome agile course just right in front of the amazing Stadium seating crowd and with the AC OPEN Youth 45ft Cats lined up behind us in the back drop! It was quite a sight to be seen… People from all over the world came to watch this amazing event, and had a surprise to see the awesome new sport of Stand Up Paddle Racing with the Stand Up World Series!! We had great reactions and awesome support from the crowd and the America’s CUP coordinators/organizers and even the Athletes who competed in the Prestigious Yachting event!

I had my head in the game with a goal to finish top 3, finishing in 1st in every round up until the semifinals I was feeling confident and ready to give it my all! The finals was stacked with the worlds best paddlers, and it was a tight and exciting heat.. Off the start I rounded the first buoy in 3rd, right there neck to neck with Connor Baxter and Kai Lenny. I knew I had to keep that position through the rest of the course and around the next 3 buoy turns.. Around the last buoy turn it got tight, with Kai in the lead and Connor just in my reach to pass. Before thinking anything I knew that I had consolidated my overall 3rd place position, even if I pass Connor and take 2nd, It wouldn’t change my position, but that would only take Connor out of the game for an overall win.. Just before the finish line I cheer Connor on and make sure he passes through before me! In the end my position would not have changed overall weather I placed 2nd or 3rd in that final, but I knew Connor could get Kai in the Tie Breaker to take another win for Starbaord!!!

This was my 3rd best finish yet in my racing career on the Stand Up World Series behind my 1st place finish at Turtle bay and my 2nd place finish in Bilabao! I was thrilled to have placed 3rd overall at such a highly recognized and important event taking place in hands with the America’s CUP!

But it wasn’t over yet, Connor and Kai had to break a Tie breaker with another short sprint… I am always Connor’s #1 support team and I was there for him screaming my lungs out cheering him on as I saw him bolt of the start ahead of Kai.. After Connor Rounded that buoy in 1st I knew it was over for Kai, with Connors amazing down wind skills on the last leg through the finish!

I Can’t say it enough! Awesome times and great company here at the WatermanLeague Stand Up World Series #SanFranciscoACopen #paddle #pro!! #STOKED on my 3rd place Finish here and even more #thrilled to have consolidated an overall 3rd place ranking on the tour after this finish!!! #goodlife #workhard#playharder #Starboarddreamteam#Starboardsupracing#alpinestars#racing#astarssup#starboard#americascup ! Thanks for all of the Support!! Aloha a hui hou and Mahalo Nui Loa!!
Zane Kekoa Schweitzer

Click here to read more: STARBOARD SUP


Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson Win Overall Title at the Stand Up World Series – Chicago. Their fifth Straight Overall Title!

Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson Win Overall Title at the Stand Up World Series – Chicago. Their fifth Straight Overall Title!

Congratulations to Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson winning the Stand Up World Series Stop in Chicago! This is their 5th straight title in the Series and all are poised to take on a world packed event in San Francisco next weekend!

This is proving to be a great year for Starboard riders with Zane Schweitzer placing third overall in Chicago and Noelani Sach of Germany, coming in second for the women!!

We look forward to the next events and the lead up to the finals in Turtle Bay… Stay tuned.

You can check out more pictures and videos here:

In the meantime, check out Connor’s recap of Chicago…

The 2013 Stand Up World Series Event in Chicago was a good turnout. We had some of the best paddlers show up from all over the world. And the interest from the beach goers from last year was significant. Loads more spectators.

I was super stoked to be back in the big (windy) city and be on the lake that looks like a huge ocean. My teammate and close friend Zane Schweitzer and I traveled together from Honolulu after the Ultimate SUP Showdown event in Waikiki – direct to Chicago.

The contest started up on Saturday with the Sprint Racing. There were 16 of us racers and we were placed in two heats. The first heat was pretty mellow and I didn’t have to paddle too hard. I came in first, which put me in the semi finals. I rested up and took it easy until my next heat.

When I was on the starting line for the semi’s I knew I had to be in the top three, so I put my head down and paddled my brains out and rounded all the buoys in first. I was stoked to be in the finals and to battle some of the best paddlers.

Now – it was the finals. When I was on the starting line all I wanted was to come in first. So when that horn blew I put my head down (as usual) and paddled hard. When I looked to my right, Kai was hammering hard and in front, but when he did the first buoy turn he lost a lot of power, so I took this opportunity and caught up to him. Going to the last buoy I was right behind him. We did a slight turn and I shifted to 6th gear and pulled up side by side with Kai. He jumped off first and I followed and ran up the beach just a little faster (not too graceful when you see the photos) and took the win.

I was super stoked to take the win for Day One and pumped up for the distance race for Sunday.

The next morning I woke up and headed back to the event site. I did a quick warm up and was ready for the long distance. It was a really hot day – so I took a quick dip in the water. And then the horn blew. I didn’t go all out and stayed in fourth place to the first buoy. I did a quick buoy turn and caught up to Kai. I stayed behind until the next buoy and we turned it together and I started to notice some bumps going to the next buoy. I used my downwind skills and started to pull away from Kai. Next thing I knew I was turning the buoy and notice I was a good distance on Kai. I kept paddling hard to the next buoy. When I was just about to turn the next buoy the jet ski pulled up next to me and told me I didn’t need to round that mark. I looked up and starting paddling super hard. I caught back up to Kai and was right behind him. I stayed behind him to the next buoy and then when we hit the downwind part I pulled away from him again.

And this time I knew where I was going! So I did a quick buoy turn and sprinted the last mile and a half to the finish line. I stayed in front and made a little more distance in front of Kai. I was so stoked to have pulled off two wins and to go home with the Overall Title.

It was a great weekend with teammates, racing friends and with friends that came up from Wisconsin – as well as my cousin Sean from Florida, who was there to cheer me on.

Always have fun and Never Give Up. My mantra which keeps me going even when I go to an extra buoy, or don’t have a perfect start, or get behind. It keeps me focused and I know – it is not over until the finish line. Never give up! And – always have fun!

I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Rainbow Sandals, Futures Fins, Dakine, Trident Sports, 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.

Connor Baxter

Semi’s – Connor in front

Sprint Finals – Connor & Kai sprinting to the Finish

Team Starboard on Podium

Pictures credit : Richard Hallman and Sean Dinneen.

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The Ultimate Showdown – Connor Baxter Wins, Zane Schweitzer 3rd !

The Ultimate Showdown - Connor Baxter Wins, Zane Schweitzer 3rd !

Connor Baxter put on a showing at the first ever Ultimate showdown in Waikiki by winning first place against a very competitive field. Zane Schweitzer also performed well earning a 3rd place finish.

Connor and Zane provided us with a recap on the event and format, this should prove to be an exciting format for SUP going forward.

Thank you Matty Schweitzer and Karen Baxter for the pictures.

Recap of Event by Connor

The 2013 Ultimate SUP Showdown was a huge success. This event took place on Oahu and it was a part of the famous Duke Kahanamoku Event. This event was alittle different in the sense that when I signed up I was in both the surf part and the race part. All the competitors had to compete in both the race and surf – which made it a fun day at the beach.

This event had some of the best racers and surfers from all over – Travis Grant, Jamie Mitchell, Fernando Stalla, Zane Schweitzer, Chuck Patterson, Matt Becker, Riggs and Aaron Napoleon, Candice Appleby, Vanina Walsh, Kai Sallas, Mo Freitas, Noa Ginella – and lots more!

Going into the event, I was more focused on winning the race events, but of course I wanted to do good in the surfing. I surfed first and the waves were super small and inconsistent. I was on my Starboard Pro 7’4″ x 26″ and it was working great when the waves did come. I only caught a couple waves and tried my hardest to make it through but ended up not making it, but it just gave me more energy to put in the race side.

For the race there were four 8 man heats – with 4 racers advancing. The sprint course was pretty short, but we got to go in and out though the surf, which made it fun. In my first heat I didn’t give it my all, but enough to come in first.

How they ran the contest was pretty interesting. First surfing round one – then round one of racing then back to surfing for round two – and so on. Since I got knocked out of the surfing I got to stretch and relax. But as soon as it was my turn to race again, I was pumped up and ready to go. In my next heat I had a perfect start and was in the lead from the get go. I let off the gas a little since I still had two more races. I went around the course and made a little mistake coming around the buoy but readjusted and got right back up to the front. Coming into the finish I was in second right next to third. I knew I just had to be in the top 4 to make it into the finals, so I let off a bit and ran up the beach.

The next heat was the finals for racing. And the top three got prize money. The finals for the surfing also had the same prize money for the top three.

But – this was not the end of the event.

After the finals – then the top 8 male & top female surfers and the top 8 male & top female racers went into a bigger and longer sprint race called the Ultimate Showdown. This is where the big money is at and everyone is going to go all out. But – I’ll get back to this race – I am getting ahead of myself!

So – for my final heat with the top 8 racers – I made sure I had a good starting position and wasn’t going to let the gas off. So when the horn blew I ran down the beach and jumped on to my board. I sprinted as hard I could. Travis was right next to me as we rounded the first buoy. Coming into the next one Travis and I caught a wave and collided and I tried to stay up and managed not to fall. I rounded the buoy and didn’t look back. I kept paddling as hard as I could and caught a little bump which kept me in the lead. Next thing I knew I was running up the beach in first place. Winning a $1000!

So now – up next was the Showdown and the possibility of being $5,000 richer.

They changed the course to a W course and it was longer then before. All 16 of us guys and the 2 girls lined up and were ready to go. When the horn blew I ran down the beach and jumped on my board, but I jumped a little early and hit my fin in the sand and almost fell in the water. But I saved myself and got to my feet and got back up to the front. Travis and Zane were in the front when we rounded the first buoy. It stayed like this until the second to last buoy. Travis was first them I turned in second. Going to the last buoy I paddled my hardest and passed Travis. I stayed ahead of him – and caught a small wave – and then he paddled hard and caught the same wave. I kept paddling all out until I hit the beach and ran up in first place. I was super stoked on my victory.

There were 2 award ceremonies. One was at the beach – where we got our big checks.

The second awards was super special. There was a RED CARPET with photographers for us when we entered the banquet – which was at Jimmy Buffets Restaurant in Waikiki. Fantastic Food. The event organizer, Boyd Jeffrey gave out special trophies and plaques to thank everyone that helped with the event – along with cash & trophies for the winners. Everything about this event was number 1.

I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Rainbow Sandals, Futures Fins, Dakine, Trident Sports, 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, sponsors and volunteers. Boyd – you did an awesome job!

Connor Baxter

Recap by Zane Schweitzer

The inaugural 2013 Ultimate SUP Showdown in Hawaii was a huge success.
The world’s top surfers and racers were invited to this new concept of
competing that grasps everything the sports of SUP has to offer
including a wave event, a surf sprint event, and the Ultimate Showdown
grand finale. The Showdown finale is only open to the top eight
finishers in both the wave event and the surf sprint event. They
compete in a larger surf sprint course for the Championship title and
bulk of the prize money. To have an event like this showing the world
a new exciting competition format in the first ever Ultimate SUP
Showdown and to be apart of the world famous Duke Kahanamoku Ocean
Festival was an honor in itself , and a great show case for the

Although the waves were small during the week long Ocean Festival at
the popular Waikiki Beach and especially small for the day of the USS,
we were still able to completely show the hundreds of spectators and
beach goers what the Ultimate SUP Showdown is all about! The USS was
probably the most exciting event of the Dukes Fest, because the
spectators were able to see the athletes up close and personal, and
they lined the beach to watch the surf sprint course races and cheer
for the competitors as they ran past them to the finish line. They
also had great entertainment further out as the surfers competed out
in the lineup at Queens.

This was another amazing event, and I see the Ultimate SUP Showdown to
one day soon be the premiere, highly recognized SUP tour of Hawaii,
covering each major island with the competitions because the event
encompasses everything the sports of Stand Up Paddling has to offer
with the world’s best competing for the top 8 in the surf and the
races to qualify for the exciting grand finale cash prize Showdown!

I am honored to have finished in a strong 3rd place in the Showdown,
winning $1500 cash and continuing to close my gap with the 2013 M2O
World Champion, Travis Grant in 2nd, and the World’s fastest SUP
racer, and my Starboard team mate, Connor Baxter winning the inaugural

Until next time, we’ll see you on the water soon! Aloha and a hui hou!

Zane Schweitzer

Finals Start – from right to left: Connor, Fernando, Travis, Mo, Riggs, Zane …

Hitting the water

Finals Finish – Connor in front

Finals – Connor, Riggs, Kaeo

Start of the Ultimate Showdown – 18 competitors

Travis – Connor – Zane after rounding buoy

After last mark – Connor with a slight lead

Connor & Travis coming to the beach

Beach Celebration!!

Connor & Zane Celebrating – Starboard teammates!

Award and Cash!

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