Brazilian Caio Vaz Crowned World SUP Surfing Champion For 2015

After 2 years of being so close with two 2nd place finishes, the Brazilian Caio Vaz secures his first World Title at just 21 years old. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League After 2 years of being so close with two 2nd place finishes, the Brazilian Caio Vaz secures his first World Title at just 21 years old. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California - Caio Vaz was in the final back in 2012 when Leco Salazar won his World Title, so felt the emotion and excitement of being able to bring a World Title home to Brazil. In 2013 and 2014, Caio stepped up his game, consistency, and performance surfing to battle it out two years in a row with 4x World Champion Kai Lenny (Naish) for the crown, both years being so close, but having to settle for second. But this year was to be Caio Vaz's year, as he methodically posted finals results and put on some of the most impressive surfing of the year in all forms of conditions, from wooly Sunset, to small clean Sunset Point, to barreling lefts in Tahiti and then of course to the small, technical surfing that was the order of the day here at the US Open.

Vaz has proved himself and then some this year, and has been one of the on form surfers at every event. This year's Title was one of the most fiercely contested yet, as while it was Caio and Kai battling it out to the bitter end in 2014, in 2015, there were five contenders all within striking distance, with Starboard SUP’s Zane Schweitzer equally poised for victory with a World Championship Win in Tahiti counting towards his scoreline. Caio's laid back attitude disguises a competitive animal within, as he maximized every wave score and posted strings of excellent scores throughout the contest, overcoming America's Sean Poynter to make it through to the Finals. It all came down to whether Zane could make the Finals or not to see if it would be a final battle for the Title, something that in the end, wasn't to be, as Caio was able to secure the World Title prior to the Final heat of the year.

So, a huge Congratulations goes out to a phenomenal athlete and worthy World Champion, as Caio Vaz brings the 2015 World Title back to Brazil. The official World Title Awards Ceremony will take place back at Turtle Bay in February prior to the 2016 Sunset Beach Pro, but it is already Official, Caio Vaz is your 2016 World Champion!

Click here to see all the news and highlights for the 2015 US Open of SUP.

sup us open 2015 zaneZane Schweitzer caps an incredible year on Tour to finish in 2nd place overall for the year with a stellar performance at the US Open. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League

Starboard SUP athlete Zane Schweitzer had an incredible year in 2015, putting on a stellar performance at Sunset, especially in the early rounds when the conditions were pumping, putting on a masterclass of performance surfing on his backhand. He then went on to Tahiti, to navigate his way to a well deserved victory at the Sapinus Pro, an event that saw epic surf and Zane step his performance up a notch to put him the running for a World Title in 2015. Coming into Huntington, there is no secret that Zane is one of the most progressive stand up paddle surfers in the world, and his radical approach to surfing in punchy beach breaks is well known.

This skill and his new found focus this year brought Schweitzer all the way to the semi-finals where he met with the Tahitian-phenom Poenaiki Raioha (F-One), a heat that if he won, would bring it all down to a dramatic man on man Final with Caio Vaz to decide the 2015 World Title. Unfortunately for Zane, he was unable to find the waves he needed to get the scores required to overcome the young Tahitian talent, ending Zane's Title hopes for this year.

However, one thing is for sure, while Zane has always shown that he has the talent to win a World Title, this year he has demonstrated a new focus and competitive drive that is undeniable. There is no doubt that he is disappointed to not walk away with the Title in 2015 having come so close, but there is also no doubt that a Title is well within his grasp and he can draw real confidence from his result this year, a 2nd place overall and the fact that he has the ability to win against the best of the best.

poenaiki raioha us open of sup 2015Poenaiki Raioha finishes in 3rd place overall in the World Rankings for 2015 after his win at the US Open of Stand Up Paddling. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League

Poenaiki Raioha (F-One) is still only 17 years-old, but has an extraordinary talent and is now backing it up with contest savvy to make him an incredibly dangerous player on Tour. With a solid finish at Sunset and in Tahiti, he stepped it up a notch at the US Open to take his first victory on Tour that propels him to 3rd overall for the year. In one of the most competitive years-to-date on the World Championship Tour, this is an incredible achievement by the young Tahitian.

The World Tour was launched back in 2009 in Tahiti with the World Tour Contenders, as a core group of Tahitian stand up paddlers then stepped up to follow the Tour over the first few years: from legend Arsene Harehoe and Vetea David, to leading ambassadors Guillaume Bourligueux, Tama Audibert (Starboard) and Patrice Chanzy (F-One). This past year however, has seen a changing of the guard, as the new wave of Tahitian talent is taking over, with Poenaiki leading the charge. Behind him are a whole host of talented young surfers like Nainoa David (Naish), Tehotu Wong, Nats Teriitahi, Rangitea Bennett and of course Poenaiki's younger brother Mauiki. It is an exciting time for Tahitian Stand Up Surfing as the prospects of crowning a World Champion from this beautiful island chain are real.

While the World Tour action is now wrapped, we have a full weekend of action still to come here at the US Open of Stand Up Paddling, with World Series Racing, Open Racing, Youth Championship Racing, but also Waterman Surfing and endurance events. Here is the line up of events for this weekend:

Friday 2nd October:
  • 4:30pm: Athlete Meeting at Aloha Grill
  • 5:30pm: Welcome and registration event at Aloha Grill, Main St, Huntington Beach
Saturday 3rd October:
  • 8am: Na Kama Kai Youth Surfing Championships (U14 & U16)
  • 10am: 6km Open and Youth Distance Race (age groups)
  • 12:30pm: 10km World Series Distance Race
  • 2:30pm: Air Tahiti Nui's Waterman Invitational (shortboard / SUP / Longboard)
Sunday 4th October:
  • 8am: Air Tahiti Nui's Waterman Invitational Finals
  • 10am: Waterman Challenge (Swim / prone / SUP)
  • 11:30am: Open Sprint Racing (age groups)
  • 12pm: Na Kama Kai Youth Sprints
  • 1pm: World Series Sprint Racing
  • 3pm: Awards

Make sure to check out all the highlights from this event and the year and stay tuned for this weekend's World Series Racing and Waterman events by going to watermanleague.com

Last modified onFriday, 02 October 2015 16:46

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