Connor Baxter (Starboard) puts on another stellar performance in today’s long distance race to take the win on Day 1 here in Japan, but not without a serious battle. Connor led through the first lap, but on the upwind leg on lap 2, Kai Lenny (Naish) was able to battle back to take the lead coming into the top buoy.
Uncharacteristically, Kai falls on the outside buoy, but like Kai, he is straight back up and going within seconds. However, the slip up was enough for Connor to just take the lead, pole position that he would hold through to the finish line to take the win, despite a major surge from Kai in the closing 100m that led to an exciting finish.
It is not over yet, as the World Series Sprints will take place tomorrow to decide the Overall Champion, as Connor will have to step up again to secure the overall win here at Stop #2 of the 2015 Stand Up World Series, the Victoria Cup Hayama Pro Japan.
Kai Lenny (Naish) knew he had to bring his A Game today at Day number 1 of the Victoria Cup Hayama Pro, and that he did, as he battled with Current World Champion & 2015 Ratings Leader Connor Baxter (Starboard) to the bitter end.
Connor gained a healthy lead through the first lap, but the upwind leg saw Kai Lenny make his move, as he caught up with Connor and passed him coming into the top buoy: a slight slip up around the buoy saw Connor edge back ahead and take advantage of some favorable bumps to extend his lead.
However coming into the final leg, Kai once again surged, and while it was not enough to take the win, it was enough for Connor to feel him breathing down his neck coming up to the finish line. It will now be down to tomorrow’s sprints to decide the overall winner of stop #2 of the 2015 Stand Up World Series. Join us tomorrow for LIVE updates across instagram and Facebook, and for highlights from today’s action at www.watermanleague.com
In 3rd place, we saw another impressive performance from the young French talent Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic), who broke away from the the solid 12 person deep pack that led through the first lap along with Connor, Kai, Mo Freitas (Focus SUP) and Kody Kerbox (Naish), and was able to maintain his position to secure a well deserved 3rd place.
While we wait to see how Arthur will fair in tomorrow’s sprint racing, there is no doubt that Arthur is fast establishing himself as a major force to be reckoned with on the global stage and a front runner on the World Championship Series.
Candice Appleby (Infinity) takes the well deserved win in the long distance race here on Day 1 of the 2015 Victoria Cup Hayama Pro in Japan. A strong start saw Candice take the lead early and build on it through the race, and despite a major comeback from the young phenom, Fiona Wylde (Starboard), Candice managed to persevere to take the well deserved win.
There is no doubt that Candice is strengthening her position on the 2015 World Series, with a solid opening performance in Spain leading to today’s win. However, she will have to step up again tomorrow in order to secure the overall event Title and the Ranking points to strengthen her 2015 World Title campaign.
Fiona Wylde (Starboard) continues to assert herself as a major force to be reckoned with on the global stage for both Racing and Surfing, with another impressive performance here in Japan and a solid start to this weekend’s racing with an extremely credible 2nd place finish today. While Candice maintained the lead throughout the race, Fiona fought back hard through the later stages of the final lap to finish within striking distance of today’s Champion.
Tomorrow will be the sprint racing, a discipline that she is equally strong in, so it will be interesting to see how she fares in the overall here in Japan, as there is no doubt she is fast become the major double threat (surf & Race).
In 3rd place, Manca Notar (Naish) put on a powerful performance today, maintaining her 3rd place throughout the race and all the way to the finish line, but really closing the gap between herself and the top 2 finishers coming into the closing straight.
Coming off a solid 3rd place overall at Stop #1 in Barcelona, Manca will be looking to consolidate here in Japan as she strengthens her position on the 2015 Stand Up World Series in advance of the US Open of Stand Up Paddling later this month.
Japan has once again opened its arms to the World’s best paddlers this year, stepping up from Challenger status in 2014 to a full status World Series event in 2015, a transition they have made with ease. A World Class venue, coupled with great racing here on the Opening Day and the completely unique Japanese welcome have already made this stop not only memorable, but one of the athletes’ favorites on the World Series.
We should also pay tribute to the local standouts from today’s racing that included Kenny Kaneko who finished in 7th and Tomoyasu Murabayashi (Starboard) who finished in 13th, but also the fleet as a whole, as the local community stepped up with smiles on the faces and ready for battle here at the Victoria Cup Hayama Pro.
A big thank you to our Title sponsor Victoria and all our supporting sponsors, the JSO that represents all the leading industry brands and of course the Town of Hayama and Presinct of Kanagawa and the community as a whole and we can’t wait for another day of action here at the Victoria Cup Hayama Pro in Japan. Check out the highlights at www.watermanleague.com