Connor Baxter puts on a dominant performance on Day 1 of the Barcelona SUP World Series to take the long distance victory. | Photo: @Photographer-Albert-PLaborda and @TotalSUP
BARCELONA, Spain - Connor Baxter (Starboard) started off his 2015 campaign on the Stand Up World Series in style today, with an impressive performance that saw him dominant Day 1 of the Iberdrola Barcelona SUP World Series, with an extremely convincing win.
The 1st leg of the course saw a tight pack of around 26 athletes battling for position, as Connor bided his time to make his move until the opportunity presented itself on the downwind leg back towards the event HQ, as he broke away and only continued to increase his lead through the remainder of the 3 lap race.
Coming into this year defending his World Title, Connor will have strengthened his confidence from this performance, as we wait to see what happens in Day 2, the WOrld Series Sprint Racing to kick off at 10am CET.
Vinnicius Martins puts on a stellar performance on the first day of the 2015 Stand Up World Series Stop 1 in Barcelona. | Photo: @Photographer-Albert-PLaborda and @TotalSUP
Vinnicius Martins (JP Australia) has been one of Brazil's brightest stars in the racing scene for some time now, as he has steadily built his confidence and developed his skill set to be a force to be reckoned with on the global stage. In a sense, today's race was Vinnicius coming of age, as he has established himself as a major contender on the 2015 Stand Up World Series, with an impressive 2nd place finish.
A fan of the course and sprint formats here on the Stand Up World Series, it will be interesting to see how Vinnicius fares tomorrow on Day 2 of the Iberdrola Barcelona SUP World Series, as the pressure will be on the build on his great start here and post a solid first result of the season. Stay tuned for Vinnicius' progress at www.watermanleague.com
Leonard Nika fighting for the lead in the middle of the pack. | Photo: @Photographer-Albert-PLaborda and @TotalSUP
Leonard Nika (Starboard) has been a mainstay on the Stand Up World Series for several years now, steadily imrpoving all the time to establish himself as one of Europe's and indeed the World's most competitive racers.
As Connor broke away in lap 1, Leonard was the only one who kept the pace with Connor, making distance from the pack in a clear 2nd place for most of the race. However, a surge in the last lap from Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic) and of course Vinnicius Martins (JP Australia) put the pressure on the Italian talent, as the Brazilian was just able to get the edge, but Leonard nonetheless posting an impressive 3rd place today.
Leonard is always a major contender in the sprints, so it will be exciting to see how tomorrow unfolds here at day 2 of the Iberdola Barcelona SUP World Series. With the leading pack consisting of 26 athletes through much of the first lap it is clear that the competition has intensified considerably over the past year, as the talent runs deep here on the Stand Up World Series.
Major standouts from today's race were the above mentioned athletes, but also the French powerhouse Eric Terrien (Bic SUP): 5th, South Africa's Dylan Frick (Starboard): 6th, with Kai Lenny (Naish) and Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) having a battle of their own through much of the race for 7th and 8th respectively, and Casper Steinfath (Naish) and Jake Jensen (Fanatic) rounding out the top 10.
There is no doubt that this is a sign of things to come, as we are excited to not only see the culmination of this dramatic first stop for 2015, but the development of the Title race across the entire Series that spans Europe, the US, South America, Asia and the Pacific. Stay tuned as the 2015 unfolds at http://www.watermanleague.com
Candice Appleby puts on an inspiring performance here on Day 1 of the Barcelona Sup World Series to take victory in the long distance. | Photo: @Photographer-Albert-PLaborda and @TotalSUP
Candice Appleby kicked off her 2015 season today as she means to continue: in front, with a solid opening performance here in Spain at the Iberdrola Barcelona SUP World Series. Candice was riding a borrowed board, as her equipment did not make it over for the event, although her performance certainly didn't seem to be hindered by this as she finished over 30 seconds ahead of Angie Jackson, 2014 World #2, and leading lady coming into this event.
With the women's division across Pro and Amateur seeing just shy of 100 competitors here in Barcelona, there is no doubt that that women participation in the sport is on the rise, led by the likes of Candice and Angie, as they continue to elevate the performance level of the sport - exciting times to say the least.
Angela Jackson came into Barcelona as the leading lady, and performed as such, battling it out with Candice for much of the race, exchanging the lead on mulitple occasions and taking advantage of her downwind skills and experience to stay with the race winner until the end. The two were able to break away from the chasing pack during the first lap, but they remained right there, as it proved to be an extremely competitive race right up to the finish. Once again, it looks as though Angie will be a serious contender in 2015, as she has started off strong and will look to get one back on Candice in the sprint racing tomorrow.
Manca Notar leads a fiercely competitive group of talent to take a well deserved 3rd place in the long distance today. | Photo: @Photographer-Albert-PLaborda and @TotalSUP
The young talent rising up in the sport is mindblowing, and Manca Notar (Naish) from Slovenia is certainly no exception as she proved herself once again here in Barcelona in the long distance race today. An extremely strong paddler, Manca is also becoming an impressive competitor, as she shows herself to be a force to be reckoned with on the global stage and a major contender this year on the World Series.
Manca was not free of competition for her 3rd place, as she battled with an on form Celine Guesdon (Bic SUP) who is looking hungry and extremely dangerous this year, as well as Spanish Local Susak Molinero, high flyer from last year's Surf Expo event in Rome and Ana Zulaika Aranburu (Bic SUP) also from Spain. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds when competition resumes tomorrow with the World Series Sprints, so stay tuned! Check out the video highlights from Day 1 below.