August 25, 2013
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

Connor Baxter, Annabel Anderson Win Chicago World Paddle Challenge (UPDATED RESULTS)

Stand Up World Series Chicago

Connor Baxter out-sprints Kai Lenny to the line (photo thanks to Sean Dinneen)

Connor Baxter has taken out the Chicago World Paddle Challenge, claiming both the sprints and distance events to keep his 2013 Stand Up World Series unbeaten streak alive. Kai Lenny was 2nd in both races, while Zane Schweitzer and Jake Jensen finished equal third overall and were forced into a tie-breaker sprint-off. Meanwhile in the women’s event it was all Annabel Anderson, with the Kiwi claiming the double victory ahead of Aussie Angie Jackson.

>>> UPDATE: Check out Connor Baxter’s Chicago Recap for insights from the champ himself

On Saturday it was the sprints, where Connor narrowly snatched victory from Kai Lenny in a battle to the line after the two dominated the early rounds and then went toe-to-toe right throughout the final. Kai was leading by a board length coming into the final buoy, before Connor dug deep to find an extra gear, pulled alongside his rival in the final metres and then won the sprint through the shallow water to the finish line.

The highlights vid sums it up (Kai and Connor’s sprint to the line starts @ the 1 minute 30 second mark)

Then on Sunday it was time for the six mile Distance Race. Kai had all the work to do; the only way he could claim the overall event title was to defeat Connor and force his rival into a tie-breaker sprint-off. But it wasn’t to be. Connor had a strong lead for most of the race and despite going off course at one point (and losing the lead) the Starboard superstar still crossed the line 30 seconds ahead of Kai.

For the second day running, Zane and Jake had a battle to the line, with the Maui boy reversing the result from Day One to finish tied for third overall with the Aussie. The two then had a tie-breaker sprint-off for third, with Jake narrowly taking it out. Over in the women’s race Annabel Anderson was too strong again, finishing well clear and comfortably claiming the overall title.

The 2013 Chicago World Paddle Challenge attracted a relatively small field of around 10 elite athletes, which meant much of the focus was on the continued rivalry between Naish superstar Kai Lenny and Starboard prodigy Connor Baxter. Despite a few of the world’s best paddlers starting alongside them, the two finished well clear in both the Sprints and Distance races, though again it was Connor who took the double victory.

Kai summed it up with a refreshingly honest response in the post-race interview…

Rocky Canon: “I’m sure you would have preferred to win but are you stoked with your result here anyway?”
Kai Lenny: “No.”

Kai went on to say that he wasn’t happy with anything other than a first place finish, and that he knew Connor was the same. So after Kai Lenny dominated the latter half of 2012, this year it’s been all Connor. Both of them have competed in five out of the six Stand Up World Series events in 2013: Connor is undefeated while Kai hasn’t lost to anybody other than his Maui rival.

Connor: 5x victories // Kai: 1x victory, 4x runner-up finishes // Everybody else: 0 victories

This gives Connor a big lead in the 2013 World Series rankings, though the season isn’t over yet… There are two more events: San Francisco is next week while Huntington Beach takes place just before the BoP. Then it’s off to Turtle Bay on Oahu mid-October for the World Series Finals.

But back to Chicago: Scroll down past the pics for the final results…

2013 Chicago World Paddle Challenge RESULTS


1st: Connor Baxter (1.4 points) [Starboard]
2nd: Kai Lenny (4 points) [Naish]
3rd: Jake Jensen (8 points) [Fanatic]
4th: Zane Schweitzer (8 points) [Starboard]
5th: Kody Kerbox (10 points) [Naish]
6th: Ryan Helm (11 points) [MHL]
7th: Paul Jackson (13 points) [Fanatic]

1st: Annabel Anderson (1.4 points) [Starboard]
2nd: Angie Jackson (4 points) [Fanatic]
3rd: Noalani Sach (6 points) [Starboard]
4th: Kristin Thomas (8 points) [Suplove]

Men’s Distance Race
1st: Connor Baxter
2nd: Kai Lenny
3rd: Kody Kerbox
4th: Zane Schweitzer
5th: Jake Jensen
6th: Ryan Helm
7th: Paul Jackson

Women’s Distance Race
1st: Annabel Anderson
2nd: Angie Jackson
3rd: Noalani Sach
4th: Kristin Thomas

Men’s Sprint Race
1st: Connor Baxter
2nd: Kai Lenny
3rd: Jake Jensen
4th: Zane Schweitzer
5th: Ryan Helm
6th: Paul Jackson
7th: Kody Kerbox

Women’s Sprint Race
1st: Annabel Anderson
2nd: Angie Jackson
3rd: Noalani Sach
4th: Kristin Thomas