Connor Baxter secures the Huntington Beach World Series win and the 2014 World Title in advance of the Finals

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Connor Baxter gets redemption in Huntington & secures 2014 World Title

After a dramatic day of action here in Huntington Beach, Connor Baxter (Starboard) not only navigated an incredible Long distance Race to take the win earning him the event Title here at Stop 4, he has been able to secure the 2014 World Title in advance of the Final event.

Going into this final day of action here at the Huntington Beach Pro Grand Slam Connor knew that the Title was within his grasp as he lined up a the start line under the Pier, ready to take on the Challenge.

It was certainly not given to him though, as he battled blow for blow with an intense pack, that consisted in the early part of the race of Jake Jensen (Fanatic), Mo Freitas (Focus SUP), Casper Steinfath (Naish) and Kai Lenny (Naish).

By the latter stages of this dynamic 5 lap course, the battle was on with Jake Jensen from Australia, as the two went back and forth for the lead over the last two laps, with Connor just able to get the edge by catching a wave into the finish line to take the win.

This dominant performance by Connor Baxter puts an exclamation mark on what has been an incredible year for the young Champion, with a World Title now under his belt and an incredible run of victories in the 2014 season. Congratulations go out to Connor from all of us here at the Waterman League.

Make sure to watch the highlights from the long distance and all of this week’s action by going to: www.watermanleague.com

Mo Freitas claims the Grand Slam crown with a 3rd in Surfing and a 2nd in Racing

Mo Freitas (Focus SUP) has been going from strength to strength this year both on the Surfing World Tour and Racing World Series, posting incredible result after incredible result.

Bolstered by his victory in Japan, Mo came into Huntington Beach feeling confidant and ready to take on the best of the best, narrowly missing out on a finals berth in the Surfing to finish in a very credible 3rd place.

Meanwhile in the racing, Mo was able to finish in 3rd today, which combined with his second place in the sprint racing yesterday secures an impressive 2nd place overall for him at Stop 4 of the 2014 World Series.

These two results from Racing and Surfing secure the Grand Slam win for him here in Huntington Beach, an incredible achievement from this young Champion from the North Shore of Oahu.

Watch for Mo Freitas as he comes into the closing stages of the Tour and Series, as he is now sitting in 5th place overall in both Surfing and Racing – like fellow Hawaiians Kai Lenny (Naish) who finished in 2nd place in the Grand Slam Result today) and Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) who finished in 3rd, Mo is the true definition of a double threat and at just 17 years old, there is no doubt he has a bright future ahead of him.

Make sure to watch the highlights at watermanleague.com

Casper Steinfath consolidates on his solid sprint finish with a 3rd in the distance race

Casper Steinfath (Naish) has had an incredible year in 2014, now European Champion, but also putting on an amazing performance this weekend, battling off the very best in the world to take 4th place in the distance race, which combined with his 3rd place in the sprints puts him in 3rd place overall for the event.

Casper’s grit determination and endurance put him in good stead this weekend, as he held his position and battled with Mo Freitas (Focus SUP) and Kai Lenny (Naish) for much of the race, a driving force in the leading pack.

While this 3rd place here at Stop 4 is a solid result, Casper did slip to 6th in the Overall rankings due to the meteoric rise of Mo Freitas (Focus SUP), so will be looking to finish off the year on a high at the World Series Finals in Turtle Bay in just a few weeks (10th – 12th October).

Mak sure to watch the highlights from the entire Huntington Beach Pro Grand Slam by going to: www.watermanleague.com

Zane Schweitzer secures an impressive 4th place finish in Racing & 3rd in Grand Slam

Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) once again demonstrated that he is a serious double threat, with a strong performance in both the Sprint racing (4th) and the long distance (5th), as he finishes up in 4th overall in the event. This consistency keeps him right up in the mix in the World Rankings, currently lying in 4th place overall.

Combined with his 5th place in the World Tour SUrfing here in Huntington, Zane secures 3rd place overall in the overall Grand Slam result, an incredible performance from the young Champion from Maui, continuing his stellar form on from his European Cup win.

Watch all highlights, read news and see photos from this dramatic Huntington Beach Pro Grand Slam at www.watermanleague.com

Jake Jensen puts on an impressive performance in the long distance race

Jake Jensen (Fanatic) had a disappointing finish in the sprint racing yesterday, but was back for redemption today in his much loved Huntington Beach Long distance Race Course (a race he won last year and that started his 2013 winning streak).

Fast of the start, Jake was switching back and forth with the lead for much of the race and was neck and neck with Connor Baxter (Starboard) until the last 50m of the 10km race, when Connor was able to catch a wave to hit the beach first and take the win, leaving Jake in a very worthy 2nd place.

There is no doubt that Jake continues to be a real threat on the World Series, and now sitting in 3rd place overall in the World coming into the Finals at Turtle Bay, it is all to play for for this young Champion from down under.

Watch the highlights at www.watermanleague.com

Team Salazar Brazil wins the 2014 Nation’s Team Surfing event on the Final Day

While all the focus was on the World Series Racing over the weekend, the surfing spotlight was brought back again with the Nation’s Team Surfing Shootout that took place in the morning and consisted of 6 star studded Teams from all over the world.

In a fun tag team format, one rider at a time was out on the water from each team, with their best 3 men’s waves (regardless of the rider) and their single best women’s wave counting towards their overall result.

In the end, it was Team Salazar Brazil (there were two teams for Brazil given the sheer number of Surfing athletes in attendance that weren’t racing) that came out on top with one of the more radical aerials under the Pier by 2012 World Champion and Captain of his Team, Leco Salazar (New Advance). Here are the final standings:

  1. Team Salazar Brazil
  2. Team Vaz Brazil
  3. Team Tahiti
  4. Team USA
  5. Team Mexico
  6. Team South Africa

Watch the highlights at www.watermanleague.com and for the insiders perspective on Facebook and Instagram.

The Na Kama Kai mission was celebrated with an U16 & U14 division in Surf City USA

Hawaii’s non profit Na Kama Kai, led by its founder Duane DeSoto has for its mission to empower youth through ocean education, providing kids the opportunity to not only enjoy the ocean, but understand how to be safe and be a steward.

The Waterman League has taken this Mission worldwide across all its event, putting on clinic, but also youth focused events in all four corners of the world. Here in Huntington Beach, we celebrated the youth once again, as two divisions stepped up to do battle south of the Pier in the fun sized surf on offer on the Final day of competition.

In the U14 division, it was Dave de Armas from Puerto Rico who put on a solid performance to win the 2014 Huntington Beach Pro Na Kama Kai Challenge, ahead of local athlete Aidan Murphy, who put on a valiant show here in Surf City USA.

Meanwhile in the U16 division, it was Brazil’s Felipe Gaspar (Art in Surf) who took the win, with some progressive and radical surfing, followed by Kainoa Texeira in 2nd from Brazil, Nainoa David (Naish) from Tahiti in 3rd and Max Fleming from Dana Point in 4th.

Congratulations to all our youth athletes who are clearly stars of the future and make sure to check out the highlights from the entire event by going to www.watermanleague.com

Shot of the day goes to this photo of Connor Baxter being chaired to the stage

Unlike the previous 5 days that have seen action shots prevail on the shot of the day, today, a shot of the new 2014 World Champion Connor Baxter (Starboard) being chaired to the stage seemed like the shot to remember. Watch the highlights, check out the photos, news and rankings at www.watermanleague.com

Mahalo Huntington Beach for a dramatic week of action to remember

There were so many epic moments from this week’s Huntington Beach Pro Grand Slam, that it is hard to do them all justice. But looking back, a few moments really stick out:

  1. The Conditions: the surf at Huntington Beach this week was flawless, allowing for some of the most progressive and radical surfing ever witnessed in competition
  2. The Trials: a truly international fleet with new faces stepping up to do battle on the Stand Up World Tour, with stand out performances from the South African contingent
  3. The Main event: pumping surf and some of the most exciting battles we have seen on the Stand Up World Tour, particularly in the closing rounds. From Kai Lenny and Zane Schweitzer’s last minute heroics to Poenaiki’s memorable battle with Caio Vaz to earn his spot in the Final, and of course Kai Lenny’s return to the top of the World Rankings
  4. World Series Sprint Racing: some of the most spectacular conditions and exciting racing yet on the Stand Up World Series, as the best of the best took on the surf race at the Pier; watching Connor Baxter use strategy for positioning in the surf and a final come back to take the win on Day 1.
  5. World Series Long Distance: a battle for the ages between Connor Baxter and Jake Jensen and Connor Baxter securing not only bullet wins in this event, but his first World Title ahead of the Final event in Turtle Bay.

A big thank you goes out to Starboard, Turtle Bay, Oakley, SoBe, Deuce and all our partners of this year’s Huntington Beach Pro Grand Slam, but also to the City of Huntington Beach and its surfers, who so graciously provided us with access to their surfbreak for the week.

Make sure to check out all the highlights, photos, news and much more at www.watermanleague.com, and join us LIVE for the prestigious and climactic World Series Finals at Turtle Bay from the 10th – 12th October on Oahu’s Fabled North Shore.

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