Friday 15 March
The Stand Up World Series kicked off in style today at Day 1 of the Aragas Magallanes Paddle Challenge presented by Stand Up Latino and powered by Big Foot Adventures. Blue skies and one of the most striking and dramatic backdrops imaginable played host to a fiercely competitive long distance race that saw a selection of the world’s best battle it out on Lake Grey, in the infamous Torres del Paine National Park.
Reigning World Series Champion Kai Lenny (Naish) donned the yellow jersey today and started the season as he means to continue, securing an impressive victory after a fiercely contested long distance race that saw him once again go stroke for stroke with arch rival Connor Baxter (Starboard) for the entire duration of the course.
The 13 mile course provided ample opportunity for the athletes to duel it out, but also its fair share of obstacles: from the cold emanating from the glacier, the floating icebergs and chilling though not advantageous wind, to the caliber of the competitors themselves, the long distance race was extremely challenging and fulfilling. From the outset, the leading pack stayed tight, with Kai choosing the right moment to break away and power through to the finish to take the win.
The race to victory today at Lake Grey saw another monumental battle between Connor Baxter (Starboard) and Kai Lenny (Naish), with Connor leading the pack early in the race, and then entering into an intense middle section, where he and Kai were going stroke for stroke within inches of each other. It was only in the closing stages of the race that Kai was able to break away, with Connor securing a very worthy second place.
Casper Steinfath (Naish) from Denmark continues his staggering form this season here in Chile, battling with Connor and Kai in the leading pack for the majority of the race, only slipping back slightly in the last quarter to finish in a very worthy 3rd place. Casper seemed at home in these conditions, not a stranger to the cold and a an intense battle. Casper is looking dangerous this year on the Stand Up World Series.
The ever enthusiastic Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) from Maui was looking strong today here at the Aragas Magallanes Paddle Challenge, right on the heels of the the Top 3 and challenging for the top spot. He remained in contention throughout, finishing in 4th place.
Other standouts today included the young Brazilian talent, Vinnicius Martins (Starboard), who despite hitting some submerged floating ice causing him to fall into the freezing water, made it quickly back on and maintained his composure to finish in an impressive 5th place. In 6th was the Belgian / Chilean resident Arnaud Frennet (Naish/ Stand Up Latino), the first stand up paddler to have visited the region and paddled in Lake Grey.
Bringing up the rear was the Chilean contingent, excited to have their home included as a stop on the World Series and the opportunity to take on the World’s best: Raphael Tapia and girlfriend Margarita Adroves, the only female competitor here in Magallanes.
The whole experience in Magallanes, South Chile has been magical so far: from the breathtaking scenery that surrounds us and our wonderful hosts to the adventure that the race requires, traversing some of the most uncharted and dramatic terrain in the world, the event has already broken new ground and provided an unparalleled playing field for the world’s best and a spectacular opener for the World Series.
As we journey back out of the National Park and down to the quaint town of Puerto Natales to our host for the next 2 nights, Remota Hotel, the athletes rest up and prepare for the next leg of this adventure that will test the complete skill set of the assembled athletes through the World Series Sprint Racing format.
This final leg of the Aragas Magallanes Paddle Challenge will determine the Champion for Stop 1 of the World Series, so stay tuned to www.standupworldseries.com and to our facebook pages for the lastest news and updates from this groundbreaking event. Now we are back in the land of internet and phone connectivity, live updates will be made and posted throughout the day as history is made in Magallanes, South Chile for stop 1 of the 2013 Stand Up World Series.
A big thank you to our sponsors here in Magallanes
A big thank you goes out to our Title sponsor, Aragas, our presenting partner Stand up Latino, our logistics partner Big Foot Adventures and our supporting sponsors LAN airlines, Remota Hotel, Sernatur, the City of Puerto Natales, Conaf, FechSurf and the Chilean Navy.
Check in with us tomorrow at www.standupworldseries.com for the culimination of this groundbreaking event…..