Starboard’s Zane Schweitzer Wins Sprint Race at Turtle Bay

Dedicated and Determined Waterman, Zane Schweitzer overcomes a foot injury suffered at the BOP to win the Sprint Division of the Stand Up World Tour, Turtle Bay event. Having a set back in the long distance to the foot injury, Zane was determined to continue and to all out go for the win in the sprints, winning every one of his heats!

We received a full recap from Zane below… Congratulations Zane!

Turtle Bay Final 2014
It has been such an amazing year on tour with not only the entire Stand Up World Tour but as well the whole Stand Up World Series! We have been to over 8 different countries following the tour and it’s amazing that we are concluding this insane and busy year here at Turtle Bay this weekend already, time has flown by so quickly this year yet I have only been home for less than 3 months!! I’m grateful for every moment of it!

After my bummer result at the battle of the paddle last weekend and as well my unfortunate luck tearing my ligament and spraining my joint in my right foot, I was nervous coming into this event, especially since all I have worked for all year is on the line at this final event where points from this event are almost doubled!! I have held top 4 the whole year and I am super upset that I came into this final event not in top shape..

Conditions this weekend for the race was insane, with overhead high surf all weekend and the worlds best competing in some very challenging seas! The downwinder for the event was up first, from Turtle bay down to Haleiwa. Everyone was most nervous about the start since we had to charge it out through pretty much closing out double over head waves at turtle bay before shooting it left down the coast.. I had a great start then Kai and I broke away from the pack heading south early, shooting for the point, but there were sets approaching quick and we had to make a move.. Kai turned 45 degrees back towards the channel north and I turned almost 45 degrees south towards the pony trying to run escape the impact zone of the sets coming! I came so close to making through and if I would have the strategy would have put me In a great position, but that wasn’t the case.. A double over head wave broke in front of me and I prepared for it charging straight at it and getting ready to eject the board up and over.. Luckily my leash didn’t break and I didn’t loose my Maui Jim’s!! I had 2 more on the head them had a bit of a gap to make up for unfortunately.. I fought to catch back up with the front crew but couldn’t get back up there my foot was really starting to bother me halfway into the long and difficult offshore paddle race.. I ended up finishing in a position I wasn’t proud of and my worst placing of the year..

I kept my head on for the sprints in and out through the surf the following day because I know the surf is where I excel, and I love this surf race course at Turtle bay. I have won this event at Turtle Bay before and feel like I have a great connection with the conditions and arena here.. My foot was super sore when I woke up after the distance race but I taped it up and put my game head on and got ready for battle, until the buoy line got sucked into the jet ski engine and the only safety ski washed up onto the reef…. Classic!… A 12:30 start turned into 3pm start, because they had to rescue the ski, set the last buoy buy hand and then wait for another skies to come for safety.. I took that time to zen out in the bush and nap..

When the surf sprints finally came underway the action was ON!!! I was feeling great and confident winning every single one of my heats through to the final! Kai was for sure my biggest threat for this event and sure enough we battled together the entire final. I had a pretty good lead after the first inside buoy turn and tried to are advantage of that gap to get a early buoy turn and catch a wave in by myself, but Kai caught back up to me on the last run in and we had a killer drop into a set together, battling stoke for stroke all the way through the finish line for a photo finish! I knew I had it as I saw my nose creep in front of his as we passed the line but I was so relieved to hear them confirm it on the Mic!!!

So grateful to finish of a great year with a bang and my last World Series race of 2014 with a win!!

Aloha and Mahalo!! See you on the water!!
Zane Kekoa Schweitzer

Starboard’s Connor Baxter World Champion!

Congratulations to Connor Baxter for winning the 2014 Stand Up World Series World Championship! What a great year Connor is having and it is only fitting that he is the World Champion.

Connor provided a recap for us below. There is no rest for Connor though, the BOP will be in 6 days and he for sure will give all the top Racers a run for their money in this the largest race of the year.

Good luck Connor and all the Starboard team riders!!

RECAP BY CONNOR

The 2014 Huntington Grand Slam was a great event. The contest started off on Tuesday with the trials for the surfing portion. The next day the main event started and I was in heat 10. The waves were funky and super hard to judge where to take off. I was sitting in second place but then Brennan got a great wave which narrowly put me in third place, so I had to go the loser round and had one more chance to make it to round three. So the next day I got ready for my next surf heat with Robin Johnson and Fernando Stella. This was a very close heat between all of us but I edged out the other two guys to advance to round three. This next round I had a super tough heat and surfed my best. But just got edged out.

I had one day to rest before the sprint race on Saturday through the waves. I got an epic meal and a lot of sleep so I was feeling ready to go. I woke up the next day feeling good and got warmed up for the first heat. I went out there for my first heat using 50% of my energy, knowing that I had a bunch of racing to do. I came in comfortably in the lead and that moved me onto the next round. For my next heat I played the same tactic and came in first, which put me into the semi finals.

The semi’s were definitely more stacked and I had to use a lot more energy, especially with the bad start I had. I barely made it into the finals, and I knew that this is the one that I had to be flawless on. I got ready and hit the water with the perfect start heading out to the first turn. I was a little behind but snuck into a wave with Kai, Mo and Casper. I knew I had to do something that was going to give me a lead on Kai coming into the last two events, so I turned right to get in front of Kai and Casper. This gave Mo and I a great lead coming into the second to last turn. I ran around the inside buoy and then got stuck on the inside. Casper and Mo somehow got out just a few board lengths ahead of me. I put my head down and sprinted as hard as possible to catch back up to them. They turned and then I turned shortly after and sprinted my butt of to catch the wave that I knew they would catch. I just got on it and the three of us headed into the beach on that same wave.

It was a crazy double up wave on the inside and Mo and I hung on and jumped off to sprint up the beach. With my longer legs I was able to outsprint him up the beach in first place. I was stoked to win – Because now I was one step closer to getting the overall title.

I rested up and got ready for the next day doing the long-distance. I got the course memorized and headed up to the start line. I was ready to give it my all and claim the title I have been working hard for. The horn blew and I sprinted to the beach and onto my board. There was a set breaking on the inside taking all of us out. I got back on my board and tried to make it over the next one but just fell on my stomach. I was far enough out that I snuck over the next one and was off to the first buoy. I jumped into the train in 5th place and caught my breath. When we turned the buoy there was some small bumps and I love small bumps – so I passed everyone and took the lead. I turned the downwind buoy in first place and started making my way up to the beach run. Everyone pulled behind me going upwind and then Jake was the only one to pull ahead and lead for a bit. Lucky he did this, because both of us barely snuck onto a wave into the beach, which allowed us to take an early lead. Jake and I just stayed out in front holding off the other guys. Always just barely ahead. It finally came to the last lap and I turned on my afterburners. I stayed in the lead most of the way but Jake caught up going to the last buoy. After the buoy turn, we caught the same wave heading to the finish – and then I caught another little bump that he didn’t get on all the way to the beach – coming in 1st place. I was super stoked to have won the event and claim the World Title.

Here are links to a couple of short video’s of the event.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03hukF6WqAM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBcxmRrCGwg

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

Also a big Mahalo to all the event organizers and all the volunteers. Great Event!!

Aloha,
Connor Baxter

You can stay in touch with Connor:
Join his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/connorbaxterathlete?fref=ts
Following him on Instagram http://instagram.com/conbax
Twitter https://twitter.com/ConBax
Subscribing to his blog http://blog.connorbaxter.com
YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/baxconnor

Starboard’s Bart de Zwart Tackles the Muskoka River X Race

Congratulations to hard core, Bart de Zwart who just loves expeditions! After a grueling 11 City Tour, where Bart came out on top for the 4th time, he then went to Canada to take on the longest 1 day expedition in the Muskoka River X race only to Win AGAIN!

Bart will compete in the BOP in a few weeks!

Here is a write up from Bart:
Muskoka River X (World’s longest single day expedition race)

Not even a week later after the 11-City Tour I had another very longrace lined up. A very special race. The Muskoka river X in Canada.

Special because it is, with 130km, one of the longest single day expedition races in the world. It is non stop and without support. Goesthrough lakes, up and down rivers and has 20 portages around waterfalls, rapids and locks.

And, it is cold. During the day it was 44F (7C) and during the night 32 F(1 C). Special also because we were not allowed to use GPS’ and had to find our own way to the finish with maps and compass. I decided to use a relatively wide Starboard 14’ x28 All Star just to be on the safe side on the rivers. Which proofed to be the right choice, fast and still stable in critical conditions.

A race for Canoes (1 and 2), Kayaks and Sups.64 teams showed up at the starting line. The solos started first, the 2 man/woman-teams 10 minutes later. The evening before the start we had the skippers meeting and got our trackers.

At the start at 7 in the morning it was misty, cold and raining. I was dressed light with only race tights, lycra, compulsory life vest and rain jacket. I had my Supskin dry suit in my pack strapped on the boardalong with all the food, rescue and navigation gear, clothing and water. The organization gave us 20 pages with detailed maps and a description of all the waypoint, portages, hazards and checkpoints.

I started with a good pace and was just behind a few of the lead kayak racers when we hit the first lake. My strategy was to follow the 2 man canoes, who were way faster than me, for the first 45km across the lakes and as soon as we got to the rivers I would pull out the maps and start navigating. The first portage, after 2 hrs was a 2km walk/run to get to thenext lake. The paddling got me warm but the rain kept coming down with outside temperatures only a few degrees above freezing it was not very comfy but hell this was an expedition race.

Although at the first lakes we had a slight head wind, after the portage it came more from the back and you could even ride some bumps. Some of the lead C2’s (2 man Canoes) came flying by, but I was still the lead Sup and right with the lead kayaks.

At the first CP (check point) a medic asked a few questions to check if you were ok and not getting insane or too cold, and on I went down stream this time. This was very new to me and very exciting. I was flying along the river until I saw the first big rapids. For a brief moment I couldn’t see the portage exit to get around this rapids but found them just intime before I would be dragged down the rapids. We were not allowed to run the waterfalls and rapids, most didn’t look doable anyway and I could easily ruin my 14’ Starboard All Star hardboard.

The portage were exciting too. You throw your back packaround your shoulders, pull out the board and find your way to the other side, throw your board in the water and jump on again.

Nobody brought enough water for the whole race. I started with 2.5 liters. Along the way you fill up in the river, some purify the water, I drank it straight from the river ( don’t try this at home)

The scene is astonishing during the whole race. Beautiful hilly landscapes, winding rivers, true Canadian back country.

I tried to eat at least every hour and drink all day. This helps to have an even energy supply thru out the race without any bunking or dips. Food was probably the heaviest item I had with me. Next to the race food you needed to have 2300 Cal of emergency food with you. Apart from my liquid bike food (Hammer Perpethuem) I try to bring different solid foods because you never know what you going to like after 15 hrs of racing so mixing it up. is key.

After about 11 hrs of racing, 6 hrs on the river and many portages the weather cleared up but night was coming soon. By the time I was at check point 2 it was already late in the day. From here on it was upstream. The problem with the cold nights and warmer river is the fog. During the night the fog starts and becomes very thick. Lights are impossible to use because of the reflection you see nothing but white around you. I still felt pretty fit but dreaded this part because of the currents against me and the fog I didn’t know what to expect.

Some falls were impressive. You paddle up close against the current and just before the falls you pull out the board and walk around it. When night fell it was pretty dark, no moon but you could still see all you needed to see. I only used my headlamp to look at the maps or during the portages. By now the cards were shuffled. I was well ahead in the Sup field and I was paddling together with Graham a Canadian Kayaker who was in solid 2nd place. We pasted through some of the heavy current hazard areas were I had to give everything just to make a few meters. You see the trees on the side passing by so very slowly it was not even funny. The canoes had a harder time here with swifts and rapids and some turned over.

It was getting colder and colder and the fog thicker and thicker. At the last check point I put on some warmer cloths. We were still doing a very good pace and it was from here on only 19 km to the finish. The moon was coming out when we passed the last lake. Fortunately we found the entrance to the last river on the other side without problems. By now the fog was very very thick, all you could see was the contours of the trees. It was spooky and mesmerizing at the same time. The moon light shining through the trees, the fog swirling around us and every now and then a brief opening in the fog.

With the maps we found our way to the finish. The last few 4 kms were flying by despite the fact that we couldn’t see anything on the lake just before we entered the same town we left early the day before.

Graham and I crossed the finish line in 18 hrs and 23 minutes. Graham in 2nd place Kayak and me in 1st place and new record, SUP.

Of the 64 teams started only 44 arrived. Of the 6 SUP’s only 2 arrived.

1St Bart de Zwart

2nd Pete deMos

When I got back to the car, I realized how cold it was. I had ice on the roof of the car.

In all an amazing race in an amazing background. Some thing you have to do at least once in your life.

Thanks to Starboard, Supskin, Black Project Fins, Patagonia, Robijnsbv Suunto/CamelBak, Maui Jim and my wife, Dagmar who took care of the shop back in Maui.

Photo Credits: MRX

Starboard’s Bart de Zwart Wins 11 City Tour – 4 x’s!

Congratulations Bart de Zwart on his 4th win of the 11 City Tour. Bart gives us a full recap on this amazing feat, which some say is the most grueling race of the year to win.

More from Bart here:
11-City Tour
Board: Sprint 2015 14’ x 23
In one of the most exciting 11-City Tour editions of the past 6 years, this 11-City Tour was a battle between 3 time 11-City winner (2010-2012), Starboard team rider, Bart de Zwart (Hawaii/Netherlands), last years winner Peter Bart ( Austria) and a very strong Martijn van Deth (Starboard/Netherlands). It was all about seconds, sprints, tactics, endurance and a great board this year.

An international field of 100 paddlers from over 15 countries (Brazil, Spain, Chili, France, Germany, USA, Israel to name a few) came to the start on day 1.

I was riding my brand new 2015 Sprint. After testing the board in Thailand I felt, could win back the 11-City again. A little more narrow, fast, with increased balance because of the duck out sides I felt confident going into the race.

Although it is a 5-6 hrs race every day, the start is as explosive as a 500m. sprint.

English man Jay Hasley and Peter started well but Martijn and I soon caught up and left Jay in our wake to form a 3 man lead group.

A little caught by surprise and maybe also still a little jet legged from all the flying in the last weeks, only after 15 minutes into the race Peter made surprise move and paddled away from us. Extending his lead every kilometer until the halfway point. At that point I didn’t want to match his speed because the race was still to long to stay at that speed. Just before halfway I heard we already caught up a little but he still ahda 4 min lead over us. After the halfwy break I felt strong and with Martijn in my wake I kept a high pace. At the much-dreaded lake, Peter’s lead was down to 2 minutes. With relatively strong side wind I gave it everything and caught up with Peter 1 km before the finish. I knew as soon as I would overtake him I would also claim the win for this stage. I won with a 3 second lead. Although it took an incredible effort, it gave me a lot of confidence and satisfaction. Martijn did a great job with only 45 seconds behind us and 15 miuntes ahead of 4th place; Franck Fifils from Guadeloupe. The race was still way open for the remainder of the week.

On day 2, we formed the same lead after the start and stayed together for the whole race. Peter being on the attack several times to get away but never succeeded. It came down to sprint that started about 2 km before the finish. Martijn initiated it but Peter and I took over, neck on neck for the last 500 meter. At the line it was Peter with 0.8 seconds lead over me. In the overall now, I was still in the lead with only 2 seconds over Peter. Martijn in 3 at 59 seconds and Franck Fifils (Guadeloupe) at 24 Minutes.

On day 3 and 4 it was clear the podium was almost sure with. Peter and Martijn and I extended our leads even more over the rest of the field. Between us there was an intense battle for 1st place. All of us tried but none got away clear on any of these days. So it came down to a sprint every day. My board was working great and I managed win both sprints and extending my lead over Peter Bartl by 21 seconds and 1 min. 47 over Martijn van Deth.

It came all down to the final stage. Right from the start Peter gave everything he had with the highest speeds we have seen in this competition so far. In the first 5 minutes Martijn had to drop but I managed to stay at Peter’s side. After about 25 minutes the speed dropped to normal racing and the danger was over. The rest of the race was between us 2. Despite Peter’s incredible fighting spirit, he couldn’t break me this year. After the halfwy break I kept a high pace to make sure Peter wouldn’t try again but he was tired of trying and tired of all the kilometers.

We sprinted in the city Leeuwarden to the finish with everything that was left in us, after more than 22 hrs of paddling in 5 days. I won also the final stage and came in 6 seconds ahead of Peter, claiming the 11-city crown once again (4th time), Peter Bartl second overall and Martijn van Deth 3rd

In the women it was Janneke Smits (Netherlands) in 1st overall, dominating ever stage, Joanne Hamilton-Vale (England) 2nd and Maya Persson (Sweden)

Aloha,
Bart

Connor Wins Gorge Event – Clean Sweep!

ongratulations to Starboard’s Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson for winning the annual Gorge event in Portland, OR.

These two amazing racers are on a roll this summer, winning just about every race they have entered. We look forward to the next upcoming events on the Stand up World Series (Sept 20) and the BOP (Oct 5).

In the meantime, enjoy this recap by Connor from the Gorge…

The 2014 Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge was an epic event. It was an action-packed two day weekend with three races.

Day one started with the flat water technical course race. It was about 5 miles – 5 lap course with a lot of buoy turns. All the men competitors were on 14 foot race boards. I had my Starboard 14′ Allstar.

The women went first and after they finished their race all the men lined up. There were about 50 Men Elite paddlers so the start line was packed. And – stacked with the best talent – Danny Ching, Travis Grant, Kai Lenny, Jake Jensen, Georges Cronsteadt, Kody Kerbox, Slater Trout, Chase Kosterlitz – just to name a few.

I was rail to rail with everyone around me, so when the horn blew and I went to take my first stroke I hit the board and went right over the handle bars. By the time I got up I was in about 25th place. I took a deep breath and said the race isn’t over until it’s over and started passing a few people.

When I got to the first buoy I was in about 18th place. Then the drafting line started and I hopped on the side of everyone and used the side wake to catch back up to the front. By the next buoy I was in about 10th and at that turn I passed a few more people.

And the next stretch was longer, so I was able to hop into fifth behind Danny, Jake, Travis and Kai. We all turned a few buoys and I started to notice Kai slowing down so I got on his side and passed him.

And now I was in fourth with 4 more laps to go. I stayed in that spot for a bit and then for the second to last lap I took the lead and led that lap. When we started the last lap the pace picked up behind me – so I did as well to stay in front.

Coming into the fourth to last buoy the pace picked up even more and I made sure to turn that buoy first. Lucky I did – because Georges tried to get the inside and took Danny out – which let Kody and Travis go around. All I heard was a splash and yelling and I took off and tried to hold the guys off until the finish.

I turned left, then right, then made my last left turn into the beach and knew I had it. I sprinted one last time and ran up in first with my board. I was super stoked to have won after that horrible start.

I got some great food and got a lot of sleep for the next days “double downwinder”. When I woke up the river was dead calm and super glassy. So for the two downwinders it wasn’t looking good. I went to the event site and after the meeting – there was still no wind.

As we drove up to the start, it got windier and windier. So as long as there were bumps – I was happy. The girls left 30 minutes before us and then we lined up and again we were super close to each other. So when the horn blew I was up and out. It went from flat to small bumps to bigger bumps and by the time we were halfway to the first buoy the bumps were fun. So Danny, Travis and I were up in front and having fun surfing the bumps.

We all stayed like this until the the next buoy. The wind died – so I knew I needed to get ahead and hold the OC1 paddlers off (Danny, Travis, Georges). Luckily there were some sloshy bumps which I love. So I just kept a steady pace and held the guys off and got to run up the beach with my board in first place.

After that finish, I knew I had another downwinder – so I got some UB Super in me, stretched out and got up to the start line. We had about 30 minutes until the next start. And we all lined up quickly because the wind was lightening up. This time I had a great start and took the lead pretty quickly from Jake. The bumps were there but you had to work hard. So I put my head down and found the rhythm and didn’t look back. I just did the same thing I did last time and held them off again. I ran up with my board for a clean sweep.

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

Also a big Mahalo to all the event organizers – Steve Gates, the excellent commentating by Al Paterson – and all the great volunteers. Fantastic Event!! A definite must for next year!!!

Aloha,
Connor Baxter

Starboard’s Rok Puvar, First Ever Slovenian SUP Champion!

Congratulations goes out to Starboard Dream Team Rider Rok Puvar for winning the first ever Slovenian National Championship. 37 Competitors competed in the event which was sanctioned by ISA and now Rok has qualified for the ISA World Championship in 2015.

A great feat for Rok and for the sport of SUP racing, which continues to grow around the world.

Starboard’s Connor Baxter and Annabel Anderson Win Showdown!

Congratulations to Starboard Team Riders Annabel Anderson and Connor Baxter for the impressive wins over the weekend at the Ultimate SUP Showdown in Waikiki, HI.

Both riders led an all-star cast across the finish line in what some are calling the best new format of SUP racing. The purse was big and equal for both riders ($5000) and the with CBS Network to air the event, we should be seeing a lot more of this racing format to come.

A great performance by all Starboard team riders, and especially with 4 of the 8 women finalist all riding Starboard.

We look forward to a lot more pictures, interviews and recaps from Annabel and Connor soon.

Congratulations to you both!!

Here is a recap from Connor Baxter:

The 2014 Honolua Surf Co’s Ultimate SUP Showdown was by far one of the best organized events I have ever been to. First of all – Most all of the top surf and race competitors that were invited were at the event. The heats in both surf and race were on time. They stuck to the schedule. Then there is the fact that CBS Sports was there and is going to televise the event on Prime Time TV.

At the end of the day it was a race in the surf – but if you wanted a slot on the first line in the Showdown you had to do decent in both the surfing and the racing. This was a huge advantage for the people on the first row – having that open clean water and having about a 2-3 second lead on the back row.

This is what makes the Showdown a different format. The organizer Boyd Jeffery sees the future of the sport that promotes the surfers to become better racers and vice versa.

So to qualify for the Ultimate Showdown – the top 12 men and 4 women from the surf event – and then the top 12 men and 4 women from the race event are selected to compete. But your combined score from both events put you in either the front row – or the back.

I was fortunate to do well in both events – and was in the first row!

I made my first surfing heat but my second one I didn’t get so lucky. Unfortunately, I popped my shoulder out doing a backside crossbow turn. However my first race heat I placed first – which is always nice. That was the end of day one and I got a good meal in me and got some sleep.

I was hoping when I woke up my shoulder pain would have gone away, but when I did wake up I was in much more pain. Luckily the race heats were after the surf heats – so I went to a chiropractor to check it out. He said after you pop your shoulder out like that it stays tender for a few days if not longer. Plus there was nothing he could do for me. So I just had bite the bullet and go for it.

The last day of the event, I just had to make the semi’s in the racing and then do good in the finals – so that I would qualify for the Showdown. Of course the goal is to Win the Showdown again like I did last year.

I did a quick warm up and my shoulder was killing me. I knew I had to just go into another zone – but even for my first heat I had a hard time pushing through it, but I ended up in second and I advanced to the finals. We had a very short break and straight into the final race heat. This one was more stacked then before and I needed to place good to advance. My shoulder was killing me, but I pushed my hardest and ended up in 5th that race. I was having a hard time, but I got some rest and just visualized myself jumping across the finish line again. After about 2 hours of this picture running through my head over and over I was ready to give it my all.

I lined up on the start line and had that mental image replaying in my head. I was waiting for the horn and when it blew and I sprinted down to the water and didn’t look back. I got a great start – I turned the first buoy in first place and knew there was someone on my tail – and I just stayed at a steady pace and didn’t let anyone pass me. I completed the second, third and the outside fourth buoy still in the lead, but with Kai right on my tail. On the way back in, Kai kept bumping me and was playing dirty, so I made a move which left him behind me. Of course he didn’t like this and on the next buoy turn I was more then 3/4 around it and he still tried to get on the inside and I think purposely rammed into me to knock me off but he didn’t. He just put a huge hole in my board (photo sequence below). I just blocked him out and still had only one thing on my mind and that was to win. I ended up sneaking into a little wave that didn’t break and got it to the second to the last buoy. After I turned I notice I had a comfortable lead and I was getting more and more excited. Coming in on the home stretch I was so stoked to power through my injury and come out on top. Super stoked to have made such a great connection with the event organizer Boyd, because now we have one of the sickest events ever and for many more years to come.

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

Also a big Mahalo to all the event Organizers, CBS SPORTS and all the Volunteers. Great Event!!

Aloha,
Connor Baxter

You can stay in touch with Connor:
Join his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/connorbaxterathlete?fref=ts
Following him on Instagram http://instagram.com/conbax
Twitter https://twitter.com/ConBax
Subscribing to his blog http://blog.connorbaxter.com
YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/baxconnor

Starboard’s 7’10” x 30″ Air Born Review by Standuppaddling.it

For some really great insight as to how Starboard’s AirBorn 7’10 x 30″ Brush Carbon handles and surfs, take a look at this review by standuppaddling.it here: http://www.standuppaddling.it/content/view/2856

Marco Stefanini has gone into detail on all aspect of the board and performance. He includes a video as well here: http://vimeo.com/101079246

Thanks to standuppadling.it for taking the time to get the information out there!

Starboard’s Bart de Zwart Recaps Wild Maui Race.

Seems the winds of Hurricane Willi weren’t finished with Maui and gave the racers of the Maui Paddleboard Race a run for their money.

Starboard Team Rider, Bart de Zwart, gives an inside look at how intense the conditions were and how he was able to maintain his position to come in 5th place. Titouan Puyo was able to secure a 4th place finish even after running into the reef.

More from Bart here:

Sunday we had the Maui Paddle board race in untypical wild condition for Maui.
The remains of Hurricane of Willi made an impact only 6 hours before the race with wind gust over 55 knots and pouring rain.
Just at 2 o’clock the wind slowed down to 25 knots slightly onshore and big swells. The race started with only half the amount of competitors, but off course all the best racers showed up, especially the 14’ foot class was well represented with Paul Jackson, Titouan Puyo and always very strong local and maliko downwind specialist, Travis Baptiste.

We paddled out of Maliko in choppy conditions, wind from the side and hectic seas.
I was paddling my All Star 14’ x 25.5, which was just stable enough in these conditions. Once we got past Hookipa the sea cleaned up a bit, still the fog was thick and you couldn’t see where we had to go.
For a little bit I was keeping up with Titouan, but at some point he took off only to see him disappear between big wave on the reef. Half way through the race most of us realized we were to far in because the outside reef showed up on the wrong side of us. We tried to go around, some went over the reef and took the waves, which didn’t work out for them, one even broke his board, others lost it and had to swim a lot until they reached calmer waters.

We managed to stay outside, but that also costs us a lot of speed and time. Only when we got almost to the harbor I recognized the outline of the cruise ship in the harbor. I paddled as hard as I could, as Belar from Spain, was breathing on my neck the last miles. I managed to get a few very good glides and came into the harbor before him after which I didn’t give up my fifth place in the 14’ foot class.
Travis came in very strong with a 4th place overall and 1st in the 14’ class. Titouan Puyo came in a couple of minutes before me in 4th place after some trouble coming over the reef.
Again the All Star 14’ x 25.5 proofed to be a very good board even in conditions which were far from ideal. In 3 weeks we all meet again in very different conditions, Japan.
2014 Maui Paddleboard Race RESULTS
Unlimited Men
1st: Kaeo Abbey
2nd: Armie Armstrong
3rd: Livio Menelau
4th: Kody Kerbox
5th: Vinnicius Martins
14′ Men
1st: Travis Baptiste
2nd: Josh Riccio
3rd: Paul Jackson
4th: Titouan Puyo
5th: Bart de Zwart
Unlimited Women
1st: Sonni Hönscheid
2nd: Andrea Moller
3rd: Penelope Strickland
14′ Women
1st: Angie Jackson
2nd: Karla Gilbert
3rd: Manca Notar