Another weekend and another win for SUP sensation Connor Baxter – well, two wins, actually. The Maui native, who just turned 20, rolled into Huntington Beach fresh off the back of a two month unbeaten streak. This included wins at the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, the Ultimate SUP Showdown and the Olukai Ho’olaule’a. Baxter also claimed a third Molokai2Oahu SUP World Championships title, with fellow UB Super ambassador Travis Grant (who won the 2013 M2O) taking second.
Now Baxter can add “Standup World Series Champion” to his résumé, after winning the distance race and sprint at the Huntington Beach Pro against a world class field. CBS Sports presented an hour long broadcast from the event, showing that SUP is gaining traction in the mainstream media as it remains the country’s fastest growing sport.
The first event was the sprint, and Mo Freitas – who finished third in the surfing event – and Casper Steinfath hung with Baxter until right at the end, when Freitas dropped his paddle as he transitioned from water to sand and Steinfath struggled to negotiate the last couple of waves as Baxter charged up the beach.
Then it was onto the distance race in which Baxter faced stiff competition from Australian ace Jake Jensen, who won the event last year. The two went back and forth in the lead, with Steinfath, Freitas, Zane Schweitzer and Kai Lenny – winner of the SUP surfing Standup World Tour event at HB – chasing them down. Going around the final buoy, Baxter and Jensen went stroke for stroke in a frantic finish. Upping his stroke rate, Baxter put a few boards lengths between himself and Jensen, and then caught the final wave perfectly to carry himself onto the beach and to the victory. Regardless of what happens at the final event at Turtle Bay, Baxter is the 2014 Standup World Series champion.
His amazing season has taken Baxter all over the world and into all kinds of different water conditions – from the rolling swells in the Channel of Bones for M20, to whitewater on the Hood River, to choppy surf at Huntington this past weekend. One thing that Baxter has kept consistent is his go-to fuel for training and pre- and post-race nutrition: UB Super protein superfood nutritional shakes.
“With all the travel I’ve been doing the past few months and events that have multiple races, I’ve needed something for recovery that gives me vitamins, minerals and protein in one go,” Baxter said. “UB Super checks all those boxes and tastes great. It has definitely helped me get to the next level.”