As we build up to the final stop on the 2013 Stand Up World Series, we take a closer look at the 2 racing components, the majestical race courses and the current standings, to see who is on top, and what it will take to secure the win this weekend at Turtle Bay.
Long distance Course: Turtle Bay to Haleiwa
Saturday’s long distance race is without doubt the longest race of the year for the World Series: at just under 13 miles in distance, it takes in the entire seven mile miracle of surf breaks and some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. However, it also involves some of the most interesting variables for the World’s best, presenting its own challenges to each and every athlete, with or without the World Class competition that will all be battling for gold here at the World Series Finals.
- The opening Stage: From the start, the opening section provides the fastest racing on the course, with ideal downwind, open ocean conditions, as the athletes will fly from Turtle Bay around to Sunset in no time
- The Middle Section: once you pass Sunset and Pipeline, the land seems to run away from you and the wind turns more offshore, making it a much tougher paddle, as athletes will have to work hard and choose their line strategically to make it past Waimea and to the latter section of the course in front
- The Final leg: the approach to Haleiwa makes things interesting again, as the land comes back at you, the wind comes more from behind again and the surf starts to hit, providing an exciting finish, as athletes will pass the harbor wall and enter Ali’i Beach Park for the final surf ride to the finish
World Series Sprint Racing: Turtle Bay
Sunday’s Sprint Race course has been described as the ultimate arena for the sport, where technical sprint racing meets the surf zone for one of the most dynamic and spectator friendly spectacles in the sport, all within feet of the Hang Ten Pool Bar at Turtle bay. Adopting the World Series Heat Elimination format, the Sprint Racing will be greeted with a decent swell this year that will once again provide a show like none other for the final day of action here at the World Series Finals, presented by Amp Energy. The course is a simple triangle course, with the opening leg out through the channel, a turn buoy towards the point and then a final turn that takes the athletes through the surf zone and into the finish.
Connor Baxter and Kai Lenny
As anticipated, it is a fight to the finish here on the Stand Up World Series, with the World Title calculated from athletes’ top 3 results making up for 70% of the result, and this prestigious Finals, the final 30%. This means that Current World #1, Connor Baxter (Starboard) will be wearing the yellow jersey this weekend, but will once again face his arch rival Kai Lenny (Naish) for the last time this year, as the two will once again go head to head and battle to the finish. These two athletes have dominated the World Series in 2013 and it has become a battle of the ages to get to this point, as both have notched up strong results throughout the year. However, Connor does have the edge coming into the Finals, as he managed to secure 3 bullet wins for his counting results, giving him the highest points possible towards the overall result, having won both long distance and sprint racing at all 3 of these counting events. Kai had one bullet win in Hamburg, and two results with a 2nd and a 1st counting towards his scorecard, so will need to put it all on the line this weekend to secure the Title. Here are the exact scenarios:
- If Connor wins the World Series Final, he is the 2013 World Champion
- If Kai wins and Connor gets a 2nd and a 2nd, Connor is the 2013 World Champion
- If Kai wins the World Series Final with a bullet win (both sprint & long distance), Kai will win the World Title if Connor gets a 2nd and a 3rd or worse in the 2 disciplines
- The scenarios keep changing depending on their respective results in both Sprint and Long distance Races
Casper Steinfath and Zane Schweitzer
So while the Title Race is very much in the hands of Connor and Kai, the stacked fleet of international talent that is right on their heels can either make or break the Title hopes of either of these athletes, as they have all proved capable of over the dramatic year of action here on the Stand Up World Series. There is also an intense battle for the podium that has been brewing throughout the season between stand out racers Casper Steinfath (Naish) from Denmark and Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) from Maui – both athletes have had stellar years, with consistent finishes across all the events and are currently lying in 3rd and 4th respectively, just a point apart. Zane has showed his prowess here at Turtle Bay having won the inaugural Sprint racing of the North Shore Paddle Challenge at Turtle Bay back in 2011, had a finals finish in 2012 and his racing has gone from strength to strength this year. Meanwhile Casper has also shown his strength here in Hawaii with a stunning performance at 2012 World Series Finals and clearly showing he is a force to be reckoned with throughout the 2013 Season.
Mo Freitas and Jake Jensen
Just a few points behind these two athletes are local phenom from Haleiwa Mo Freitas (Body Glove/Focus SUP) and Jake Jensen (Fanatic) from Australia. Mo has had a phenomenal year on both the Stand Up World Surfing Tour and Racing Series, and is currently lying in 5th place: as one of the most skilled surfers, he has shown he is a fierce racer too, and the combination of these two skills will serve him well here on home waters in Hawaii. However, Jake Jensen has been on a dramatic roll this past couple of months, from a strong result in Chicago, to his win in the long distance in Huntington Beach last month that gave him a second place overall for the event, he is a real threat here on the World Series and will certainly be someone to watch out for. Also noteworthy is that he is the only other athlete to win either the sprints or long distance at any of the World Series Races this year (other than Connor and Kai).
Kody Kerbox and Eric Terrien
Then right behind these two athletes are Kody Kerbox (Naish) from Maui who has been putting on strong performance after strong performance this year across both the Surfing Tour and Racing Series: currently lying in 3rd overall in the surfing, he is 7th overall in the Racing coming into these prestigious World Series Finals, and will certainly make use of his surfing skills and ocean knowledge to improve on his overall position for the year here at the World Series Finals at Turtle Bay. While in 8th overall, is the powerhouse from France, Eric Terrien (Bic SUP): always dangerous, Eric will be looking for a strong finish here at Turtle Bay after a solid series of results throughout the year on the World Series: his stamina is unquestionable and his commitment to perform is impressive – watch out for the Frenchman, especially in the long distance race from Turtle Bay to Haleiwa.
Local dark horses
The list goes on as far as men’s talent goes, and also to watch out for will be the local dark horses such as Andrew Logreco, Noa Ginella (Naish), Riggs Napoleon (Naish) and many more, as local knowledge will certainly play into the equation here at the World Series Finals at Turtle Bay.
In the women’s fleet, Annabel Anderson (Starboard) from New Zealand has once again been the dominant force across the entire 2013 season, but not without some fierce competition across all the stops on the Series. While a another World Title is right within her grasp here at the World Series Finals this year, you have to watch out for the talent that is right on her heels. Angela Jackson (Fanatic) from Australia will certainly be someone to watch out for this weekend, as she will step up to do battle here on Oahu’s North Shore. With 2nd place finishes in France and Germany, Angela is looking in great stead coming into this final event. Also to watch out for is the French athlete Olivia Piana (Fanatic), who was on impressive form last year here at the World Series Finals at Turtle Bay, and has posted some strong results this year on the World Series inclusive of a 3rd place finish at home in France.
However the visitors will be facing some strong competition here in Oahu in the form of Rachel Bruntsch, Halie Harrison (Focus SUP), Mariko Strickland (Naish) and Jenn Lee amongst many others, as this all important final event will not only conclude the final overall ratings for 2013, but provide the winning athletes with a major event result, bragging rights and much deserved prize-money.
So it is all very much to play for this weekend here at Turtle Bay Resort, as the 2013 Stand Up World Series comes to a dramatic close in SUP’s ultimate arena at Turtle Bay. You can watch it all go down live this weekend at www.watermanleague.com, so if you can’t make it out to Turtle Bay to watch the action, make sure to tune in live. It will all start this Friday from 6pm HST, as we present the Contenders on the Stand Up World Series at Surfer the Bar.
Stay tuned to www.watermanleague.com