BARCELONA, Spain - If there was any question as to whether the 2014 World Champion could continue his momentum into the new season, it was answered loud and clear this weekend in Barcelona, as Connor Baxter put on a clinic of strategic and high performance racing to take the win in both the long distance and sprint racing divisions in this first stop on the 2015 World Series. After a dominant performance yesterday in the long distance racing, Connor cruised his way through the opening rounds, doing enough to make it through to the rounds that counted, but not too much to use up much need energy for the final rounds when the event victory is on the line.
But when the pressure turned on, Connor switched it up a notch, with an impressive semi final performance, leading to an even more impressive final where the young Champion stepped up his performance to a whole new level to take a comfortable win amidst a stacked field of the World's best paddlers. There is no doubt that the yellow jersey holder will have taken a lot of confidence from this first win of the season, as he will now go home and look ahead to the next stop in Brazil, comfortable in the knowledge that he has not skipped a beat, and he is on some of the finest form of his young career.
Kai Lenny comes from behind to put himself right back into contention with a 2nd place in the Sprints and the Overall. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League
As expected, there was a huge amount of hype coming into this first event of the season and anticipation of the showdown between the 2014 World Champion Connor Baxter (Starboard) and arch rival and 2x World Champion (2012/13) Kai Lenny (Naish). To everyone's surprise, the first day of competition proved less fruitful for Lenny, as he ended up in an uncharacteristic 7th place in the Long Distance Race.
However, as Connor himself said, you can never count Kai out, and you had better expect for him to come back stronger than ever as one of the fiercest competitors in the sport. And that he did, making it through to the Final and with a strong start, Kai made his intentions clear, as he powered around the course, unable to overtake the yellow jersey and arch rival Connor, but nonetheless finishing in an extremely credible 2nd place. This 2nd place combined with his 7th place in the long distance, put him in a tie in terms of points with Arthur, a tie that was broken in favor of the athlete with the best result out of the two, so Kai's 2nd place was enough to secure him a well deserved 2nd overall.
So coming out of stop #1 of the 2015 Stand Up World Series, it is a familiar ranking scenario, with Connor Baxter leading the pack, followed by Kai, close on his heals in 2nd. However, one thing is for sure, the field is more stacked than ever, so watch out for what is destined to be the most competitive year yet on the Stand UYp World Series, as history will once again be made, and Champions crowned at the culmination of the 2015 season.
Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic) has been around for several years, as he has gone from boy to man both in terms of age, schooling and now results. While Arthur has shown moments of brilliance (such as his finish at the Turtle Bay Finals back in 2013), it has not been until this year, that we see the true scale of Arthur's potential on the global stage, as he has shown himself to be a major threat, whether it be long distance or sprint racing, not to mention his talent as a Stand Up Surfer as well.
Arthur has been posting some great results across Europe this year, but here in Barcelona, stepped it up a notch when facing the World's best athletes, finishing in 3rd overall (tied for second that was broken in favor of Kai Lenny (Naish)), and making his presence felt in the best way possible.
Quiet and unassuming on the beach and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, Arthur knows how to focus on the race course, and is not inimidated when facing up against the greats, and more than that, revels in the opportunity to take them down.
There is no doubt that this result is not a flash in the pan, and that Arthur will be a major force to be reckoned with this year on the Stand Up World Series and we look forward to seeing him in action in both the Surfing and Racing in August in Japan.
Stay tuned for highlights and look back from Barcelona, but also a more in depth look at this young Champion in the making as we build up to Stop #2 in Brazil in August at watermanleague.com
Leonard Nika puts on a stellar performance at the Iberdrola Barcelona SUP World Series, stop #1 of the 2015 World Series. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League
Leonard Nika (Starboard) was one of the main players in the long distance yesterday and once again looked set for great things today in the Sprints, as he charged his way through the rounds on his way to the final. A tricky start saw him get caught up with his brother and fall, making it difficult to catch up and secure the result he needed to secure a podium finish here in Barcelona. However, there is no doubt that Leonard is a major threat, and just continues to get stronger, faster and smarter as he has shown himself not only capable of keeping up with the World's best, but taking them down.
As always, he will be a major player on the 2015 World Series, so make sure to watch out for Leonard's progress through the season, but also in the next stop on the European Cup in Sieravuori, Finland this coming weekend. Stay tuned to www.watermanleague.com
Casper Steinfath shows the composure of a true Viking to come back from behind and secure a 5th place overall. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League
A disappointing finish for the Danish talent in the long distance on Day 1 did not deter Casper Steinfath (Naish) from going all out on Day 2 to secure an impressive 3rd place finish in the sprints and as a result, 5th place overall.
Casper has always been a strong sprinter, so was doubtless going to be dangerous on a course like today (still and perfect flat water sprinting conditions), but ordinarily would expect a stronger finish in the long distance. However, a comeback like today will not only strengthen his confidence as we look ahead to the remainder of the European Cup, but a 5th place overall is still as solid finish for the great Dane at Stop # 1 on the Stand Up World Series. And let's not forget, Casper will be looking to defend his European Title on the European Cup as we head north to Finland this weekend for stop #2, so this result will certainly not hurt!
Barcelona meets and surpasses all expectations as the prestigious Opener to the 2015 Stand Up World Series. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League
There is no doubt that the venue here at Barceloneta Beach in downtown Barcelona was a hit: as one of Europe's most dynamic and exciting Cities, it is also the only one that is situated right on the beach, providing one of the most unique contest venues for the Stand UP World Series, combining beach culture with the City lifestyle for an unparalleled experience for the athletes and the spectators alike.
Furthermore, with an attractive climate, warm and safe water for all forms of paddling and a laid back summer vibe, it proved the perfect host for this first stop of the 2015 Stand Up World Series. A big thank you goes out to Iberdrola, the City of Barcelona, LKXA, Kia Ar Motors and all our local partners for an unforgettable weekend of action here in Barcelona: we can't wait to come back in 2016!
Candice Appleby makes it 2 from 2 wins to take the overall event win at Stop #1 of the 2015 Stand Up World Series in Barcelona. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League
Candice Appleby has consistently shown herself to be one of the most well rounded athletes in the sport, but this weekend, stepped it up another level to take victory in both the long distance and sprint racing disciplines of this first stop on the 2015 Stand Up World Series, to take the much deserved overall win, $4,500 in prize-money and valuable ranking points towards a possible 2015 World TItle.
After a dominant performance in the long distance race on Day 1, Candice continued as she had started on Day 2, to charge her way through the rounds to take victory in the sprints and the overall win. There is no doubt that Candice is a major Title contender in 2015, even after just one event, as she showed a level of comfort on flat water this weekend, as she has done in surf at locations such as Huntington Beach last year.
Angela Jackson posts a 3rd in the sprint, but breaks the tie to take 2nd overall in the 2015 Stand Up World Series. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League
Angie Jackson put up a solid fight in the long distance on Day 1, and once again stepped up to do battle today, showing herself worthy of the yellow jersey she was wearing at this prestigious World Championship Stop in Barcelona.
Today, finishing in 3rd place, she found herself tied with the young Slovenian talent, Manca Notar (Naish), with the tie being broken in Angie's favor through the new tie breaker timing system. The new system compares the time of each athlete relative to the length of the course to determine the overall winner. In this case, it ended up being a 3.2 second difference between the two athletes, showing just how close the racing was and how competitive the field is becoming. One thing is for sure, while Angie Jackson narrowly missed out on a Title in 2014, she is back in full force this year and is already putting herself well in contention for a Title in 2015.
Manca Notar puts on a stellar performance on Day 2 in Barcelona, posting a 2nd in the sprints and 3rd overall. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League
Manca Notar (Naish) has been in the global paddling scene for several years now, but seems to have stepped up a notch this year as she put on an impressive performance here in Barcelona at Stop #1 of the 2015 Stand Up World Series.
Showing stamina and endurance to take a close 3rd place finish in the long distance, and then backing that up with a 2nd place in the sprints, her preferred discipline of the weekend of racing, Manca is coming of age on the World Series in 2015, as she sets herself up for a strong year ahead. Having just finished her schooling, she is now focused on the competitive season ahead, as she looks forward to the next World Series stop in Brazil this August. One thing is for sure, she has a long career ahead of her and only seems to get better with age, so keep an eye out for this young Slovenian talent as the year progresses at watermanleague.com
Celine Guesdon (Bic SUP) has been stepping up all aspects of her paddling over the past 6 months, with a solid training program over the winter and build up to this prestigious World Series Opener here in Barcelona.
In the long distance, she put on a solid performance to post a 4th place finish, and then did the same today in the sprints, narrowly missing out on a podium finish. As one of France's leading lights, there is no doubt that Celine will be a name to watch out for this year on the Stand Up World Series.
Ana Zulaika Aranburu represents the home crowd to post a well deserved 5th place overall, with a 5th in the sprint racing today.
It seems only fitting that a Spanish athlete should finish in the top 5, and it ended up being Ana Zulaika Aranburu whose 5th place finish in the sprints today and 6th place in the long distance were enough to secure her a well deserved 5th place overall. A solid performance from this talented local athlete who is clearly a force to be reckoned with on the global stage.
This event in Barcelona stood out in so many ways, but not least beacuse of the quantity of women talent that stepped up to do battle. With just shy of 100 women across both amateur, pro and youth divisions participating, the future for this young sport in Barcelona is assured, especially given the ideal conditions, warm water and appealing climate.
We are excited to see all the established contenders develop and new talent floursh in this magnificent City by the Sea as we return to Barcelona in 2016 for a next edition of the Iberdola Barcelona SUP World Series.
Barcelona proves to be an incredible host for this World Series stop, embracing the Top Pros, Amateurs and mind blowing youth. | Photo Courtesy: Waterman League
The Iberdrola Barcelona SUP World Series was an incredible weekend that really provided something for everyone, from the Elite Paddler following the World Series, to the Weekend Warrior wanting to step up for some friendly competition amongst friends.
As mentioned above, the female participation was outstanding, but so too was the youth component, that saw hoardes of U12 and U15 athletes step up to do battle in the perfect environment that Barceloneta Beach provides. There is no doubt that we saw some stars of the future this weekend, and we are excited to come back in 2016 to see how they have progressed!
A big thank you goes out to Iberdrola, the City of Barcelona, LKXA, Kia Ar motors, and of course our partners on the ground in Barcelona for making this incredible weekend a reality. A big thank you also to the people and local paddlers in Barcelona for making us feel so welcome for this first edition of the Iberdrola Barcelona SUP World Series. Be sure to check out the highlights from the final day of action below.
Stay tuned to www.watermanleague.com for all the highlights, news, photos and more from this event, but also for the build up to Stop 2 of the European Cup in Finland this coming weekend, the Final in Italy from the 24th - 26th July and the next stop on the World Series in Brazil from the 14th - 16th August with the World Tour Surfing continuing on from the 18th - 23rd August.
Mens Overall Top 10 Results:
1. Connor Baxter (Starboard)
2. Kai Lenny (Naish)
3. Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic)
4. Leonard Nika (Starboard)
5. Casper Steinfath (Naish)
6. Zane Schweitzer (Starboard)
7. Vinnicius Martins (JP Australia)
8. Dylan Frick (Starboard)
9. Eric Terrien (Bic Sup)
10. Jake Jensen (Fanatic)
Women’s Overall Top 8 Results:
1. Candice Appleby
2. Angie Jackson (by 3.2 sec)
3. Manca Notar (Naish)
4. Celine Guesdon (Bic Sup)
5. Ana Zulaika Aranburu (Bic Sup)
6. Susak Molinero
7. Laura Quetglas
8. Amandine Chazot