Sunday 9 September
After a second place finish in the Long distance on Day 1 of the Cocoa Beach Paddle Classic, presented by Pacifico and Starboard and in association with Maui Jim, Kai Lenny stepped up today in the spectacular sprint racing to secure a well deserved win in the sprints and then overall as well.
With an uncanny ability to get over any wave and stay standing, Kai Lenny’s cat like ability served him well today in the epic surf conditions on offer at Cocoa Beach. With this win, he now will move ahead of Connor in the overall ratings as we build up to the climactic Final on the North Shore of Oahu at Turtle Bay Resort.
Mexico’s Fernando Stalla (Rogue) puts together strong performances in both long distance and sprint racing, battling his way through the rounds in the sprints to finish in an impressive second place, which combined with his 4th place finish in the long distance puts him in 2nd place overall in this World Series stop.
There is no doubt that Fernando is a strong contender in all forms of racing, showing real strength and endurance when the going gets tough. This result will certainly boost his overall rating as we reach the tail end of the year.
Having been handed the Yellow jersey as the current ratings leader coming into this event in Florida, Connor Baxter (Starboard) stepped up and proved himself worthy in the long distance, getting the better of arch rival Kai Lenny (Naish), not to mention the rest of the star studded fleet in what can only be described as extreme conditions, with large surf and offshore winds providing its inherent obstacles and incredibly exciting racing.
In the sprints, Connor started well and looked strong in his semi final heat, as he approached the finish line in first place only to be taken out by difficult surf conditions on the inside that prevented him from getting back and moving quickly. Meanwhile, 3 athletes all riding the same wave just passed him by, eliminating him from the semi finals and ending his hopes of an event win here in Cocoa Beach.
With a 1st in the long distance and 7th in sprints, Connor still secures a credible 3rd place overall at the Cocoa Beach Paddle Classic, presented by Pacifico and Starboard and in association with Maui Jim.
As we have come to expect with the wild man Zane Schweitzer (Starboard), he comes to life once the surf is up, and Day 2 of the event proved no different, as Zane charged his way through the rounds to finish in an impressive 3rd place, right on Fernando Stalla’s (Rogue) heals in one of the most exciting finishes of the event.
With his 8th in the Long Distance combined with his 3rd in the sprints, Zane finishes in an impressive 4th= overall in the Cocoa Beach Paddle Classic, presented by Pacifico and Starboard.
Ryan Helm, resident in Punta Sayulita, Mexico puts together another great event on the Stand Up World Series, with a strong and consistent finish here in Cocoa Beach. With a 5th place in both Long distance and sprint races, Ryan finishes in an impressive 4th= with Zane. There is no doubt that Ryan is someone to watch out for and is a serious contender here on the Stand Up World Series.
In the long distance race, Eric Terrien (Bic SUP) from France navigates his way flawlessly through the surf zone to the finish line, gaining a couple of places in the process to finish in an impressive 3rd place.
In the sprint racing, he is less fortunate in the tricky surf zone, going down in the semi finals, leaving him in 6th place overall for this action packed stop on the Stand Up World Series.
Like Connor, Annabel Anderson (Starboard) was also awarded the prestigious Ratings leader yellow jersey, and once again dominates here in Cocoa Beach with another impressive performance in the long distance that saw her storm to victory in the women’s division, but also finish in 8th place overall.
In the sprint course, she manages to navigate her way through the challenging surf to secure another bullet win here on the Stand Up World Series and once again reaffirming her stature as the leading lady on the World Series.
Young local talent Bailey Rossen proved that she is someone to look out for in the world of Stand Up Paddle Racing, as she powered out through the large surf and finished in 2nd place behind Annabel Anderson in both the long distance and sprint racing: an impressive performance from this future Champion as she represents the home crowd flawlessly here at the Cocoa Beach Paddle Classic.
She also earned the Local Hero award for the event, making her presence felt with courage, performance and charisma. Behind Bailey was another local, Bernadette Leach, putting on a great show here in Cocoa Beach to claim 3rd place.
The Florida paddle community proudly stood strong at home here in Cocoa Beach, with some impressive performances across the board: from Mark Athenacio’s 9th place in the Long distance, to Matt McDonald’s 12th place overall and Bailey Rossen’s unprecedented showing on both days, Florida can be proud that they were well represented when facing up to the world’s very best paddlers.
We would like to extend a big thank you to Cocoa Beach and its community, in particular John Hughes for welcoming us so wholeheartedly to this unique venue. Here we see Mark Athenacio negotiating through the surf to his 9th place finish in the long distance.
As the arch rivalry between Kai Lenny (Naish) and Connor Baxter (Starboard) only intensifies after this latest match up, the Final at Turtle Bay promises to be the equalizer to end all equalizers for these two amazing athletes. Kai Lenny will now start the next event with the Yellow Jersey as the new ratings leader, with Connor Baxter right on his tail.
However, right behind them are a whole host of other contenders that are posting consistently good results to stake their claim on the World Series: from Fernando Stalla (Rogue) and his latest result here in Cocoa Beach, to Ryan Helm, Slater Trout, Eric Terrien (Bic SUP), not to mention young guns such as Mo Freitas, Kody Kerbox (Naish) and of course Zane Schweitzer (Starboard), the closing stages of the year promise to be the most exciting yet.
So stay tuned to www.standupworldseries.com for highlights, full event report and much more coming this week.