The 2013 Chicago Paddle Pro was awesome this year, with a great turnout of amateurs, children and of course the world’s top racers! It Is always such a pleasure to travel to such amazing places all over the world with the Waterman League! Once Again we found ourselves in a jaw dropping arena to hold the standup World Series in the beautiful city of Chicago! There was a beach party, a kids clinic, amatuer races, kids races, and the highlight of the event the Pro Division!
The first day of competition took place at North Avenue Beach just on the outskirts of Chicago city. There we had our course race setup for the sprint races. There were much more people here this year to cheer us on, than last year’s event. It was very refreshing to see as there were many new faces competing and a whole lot more spectators there at the beach enjoying the action and festivites the Stand up World Tour brought to North Avenue.
The sprint races seemed to fly by quick with an awesome course and 3 heats to make through before competing in the finals! Paddlers like Connor Baxter, Kai Lenny, Kody Kerbox and Jake Jensen were all on form at this event!
The final heat came down to Connor Baxter, Kai Lenny, Jake Jensen, Ryan Helm and I. Standing out as usual was Connor Baxter putting on an awesome fight in the sprint races just barely inching in front of Kai in the last seconds before the Jump to Beech run through the finish line! With Connor in 1st and Kai in 2nd, Jake Jensen and I were next for the battle for 3rd but Jake prevailed with a little bump catching the advantage just inches ahead of me.
Although I did not get the top 3 position I was hoping for, I am very proud of my performance and honored to finish beside some of these world’s top paddlers who have all been working so very hard to get to the level that we are all at now!
With one race down we had one more to go, leaving The 6 mile distance race to determine the top 4 podium finishers of the Chicago Paddle Pro!
The distance race was a challenge for everybody with cross chop bumps and very hot conditions. The course started at North Ave., Beach then wrapped around the pier down to the playpen and back to North Avenue followed by one more lap finishing at North Avenue in front of hundreds of spectators and beach enthusiasts!!
The positions of the racers were switching consistently throughout the race but in the end Connor Baxter prevailed as the true champion with Kai quite a bit behind him, and Maui’s own Kody Kerbox in 3rd followed by me and then Jake Jensen!
But it wasn’t over yet, since Jake Jensen I had to break the tiebreaker for 3rd place overall due to our same amount of points from our finishes in the Sprint and the distance. We Raced the classic sprint course minutes after the distance race and we were both exhausted, But eager to win that third position.. Jake and I were neck to neck throughout the entire lap then just at the last buoy turn Jake inched ahead stepping onto the shoreline first having the advantage to run through the finish line just in front of me! It was an epic battle and I’m eager to get him next time, but happy to keep my overall third position for the year’s ranking!!
San Francisco is just around the corner and we have exciting things planned with SUP clinics in Wisconsinon Tuesday Before heading to California.
Stay tuned for Connor Baxter’s and Zane Schweitzer’s adventures around the world!!
Aloha and Mahalos,
Zane Kekoa Schweitzer