Connor Baxter Wins Event #1 of
World Series Tour
The 2015 Stand Up World Series event in Barcelona was a great way to kick off the World Tour.
It was super nice to arrive to Barcelona a week and a half early before the event to relax and unpack my suit case, train and get into a routine.
The event kicked off with the 12k distance race in a triangle course. The conditions were perfect and played in my favor. It was upwind then a nice downwind for three laps. I started to warm up and get my blood flowing for the start of the race. I lined up in a good position to turn the first buoy and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to gap anyone on the upwind, so I would just play it easy until we got up to the upwind buoy. When the horn blew I sprinted down the beach and hit the water with good momentum, which got me into clean water. After that I noticed Leo was going for it, so I pulled behind him and drafted to save energy. About halfway up to the upwind buoy, I took the lead to make sure I had a clean buoy turn and didn’t get stuck in the pack. When got up there I made a quick turn and sprinted out of it to create a small gap to the second buoy – before the downwind.
Before turning the next buoy to head downwind, I knew all I had to do was put my head down and make a move and that is exactly what I did. After turning the second buoy – as soon as there were any bumps to catch I started to get in my rhythm and pull away. By the time I got to the end buoy to turn back upwind for my last two laps, I had already made a huge gap, which allowed me to get in a comfortable pace for the rest of the race. I held the gap for the next two laps and finished two minutes in front of second place. I was super stoked to win the distance part of the weekend for the first stop of the World Series Tour.
For the next day, after a good meal and rest, it was the sprints. I was definitely more worried about the sprints because everyone is so much closer and it is a lot harder to make gaps and to over take people in such a short distance. The course was about 400 meters and if I made it to the finals, I would be racing a total of 4 races.
For the first heat I normally would take it pretty easy to conserve energy, but this years talent has risen so much I had to work a lot harder right from the get go. I was able to make the first and second round without using too much energy, which put me into the semifinals. The semifinals itself was a mini finals – where I had to use a lot more energy to secure my spot in the finals.
For the finals I was up against Leonard Nika, Jake Jensen, Casper Steinfath, Zane Schweitzer, Kai Lenny, Author Arutkin and Claudio Nika – which was one of the most stacked finals I have even been in. I had positioned myself to make sure I had inside priority – but Kai repositioned himself and was inside of me – so I knew I would have to out sprint him to turn the buoy clean and in first.
So when the horn blew I sprinted out of there like no other and was able to get out in front pretty quickly. From there I just made sure not to mess up on my buoy turns and not to let anyone pass me. I made the first turn, then the second one perfectly and sprinted straight back to the beach for the win.
This secured my first place overall for the event and put me in front of the Tour to the start the year off. I was super stoked with my results and am excited for the next race in Brazil.
I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Discovery Land Company, Dakine, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Rainbow Sandals, Futures Fins, Hammer Nutrition, GoPro, Waterman’s Sunscreen, OnIt Pro and Hi-Tech Sports.
Also a big Mahalo to all the event organizers and all the volunteers. This was a fantastic event. Really well organized and one of the better events I have had the pleasure of racing in.
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