November 30, 2014
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

WORLD RANKINGS: Beau O’Brian Moves Inside The Top 10, But Get Ready For More Changes Next Weekend

Stand Up Paddle World Rankings - 2014 November

Following the action at The Doctor ocean race on the weekend, we’ve seen some slight movements in the SUP RACER WORLD RANKINGS.

The most notable change is Beau O’Brian leapfrogging Zane Schweitzer and Casper Steinfath to move inside the Top 10. Following his win, which was one of his 5 best results from the past 12 months, Beau is now ranked #9 in the world. However with two big races next weekend expected to count for ranking points, there are plenty more changes to come before the end of the year.

>>> Skip the explanation and jump straight to the latest SUP RACER WORLD RANKINGS

Other top performers at The Doctor, such as Travis Grant (currently ranked 5th in the world) and Jake Jensen (4th), were already holding onto 5 results worth more points than what they scored on the weekend, so there has been no change in their rankings.

(No matter how many races a paddler competes in, only their best 5 results from the previous 12 months will ever count in their ranking.)

One guy that did see his ranking change after a trip to The Doctor was 5th place finisher Sam Parker. The Doctor is the first event where Sam picked up World Rankings Points, which meant he’s jumped from virtual dead last (415th in the world) to 89th, a move of +326 places.

Sam is also now one of just seven paddlers with the unique honour of being ranked Top 100 in the world despite having only competed in one eligible race. The highest ranked paddler in this exclusive club is Jeremy Riggs (51st), who’s holding on to his valuable 3rd place at OluKai as his only eligible result. The other five members of the One Race Club are Stefan Stiefenhöfer, Spencer Lacy, Martijn van Deth, Robert Territehau and Rob Rojas.

But back to the action in Western Australia yesterday: The Doctor ocean race scored 17.5% on the Race Index, making it one of the 25 “elite” races from the past 12 months and meaning the top 50 finishers scored points towards their World Ranking (actually all of the finishers scored points, as there were only 35 guys in the 14′ division).

Every single stand up paddle race in the world is eligible for inclusion in the SUP RACER WORLD RANKINGS, however an event must score a minimum of 15% on the ‘Race Index‘ to be considered. Only 25 men’s and 16 women’s races from the past 12 months have qualified. The Doctor’s score of 17.5% sees it just scrape in, equal with the Santa Monica Pier Paddle as the 23rd most-competitive-race of the past 12 months.

>> Click here to see the 25 “most competitive” races of the past 12 months

Exactly how many points do paddlers receive at a race? Depends on the race… The winner of each eligible race receives as many World Ranking points as the event’s Race Index score. Positions 2nd through 50th receive a diminishing percentage of the total points (this percentage is governed by the Base Points table).

So on the weekend Beau scored 17.5 World Ranking Points. Travis Grant, who finished runner-up, scored 75% of the total points, which equaled 13.13. The 3rd place finisher, Jake Jensen, scored 60% of the total points, which meant he picked 10.50 World Ranking Points.

Unfortunately the women’s race at The Doctor did not qualify for the rankings.

>> Click here to see exactly how many points each paddler scored in The Doctor ocean race

The Race Index is scored based on how many of the current top 50 ranked men (or top 30 ranked women) are competing in an event. If all of the top 50 show up to race, an event scores 100%. If none show up, it gets 0%. The higher an athlete’s ranking, the more weighting they give to the Race Index.

The final Race Index score is a sign of how competitive each race is: The higher the score, the more competitive the race. For example, while The Doctor scored 17.5%, at the other end of the list the 2014 Battle of the Paddle Elite Race scored 92% (the highest we’ve ever seen) as it attracted virtually all of the world’s best paddlers.

>> Click here to view the current Top 100 ranked men in the world
>> Click here to view the current Top 50 ranked women in the world

As I mentioned earlier, there are two races coming up next weekend that will almost certainly count towards the World Rankings. While the system was designed so that I don’t know how many ranking points are on offer until I see the start list, I already have a good idea of who’s planning to race.

So, barring any last minute withdrawals, both the Stand Up Surf Shop King Of The Cut in Perth (Saturday) and the Paris Crossing in France (Sunday) will award World Ranking points to the top 50 finishers.

With guys like Jake Jensen (4th in the world), Travis Grant (5th), Beau O’Brian (9th), Zane Schweitzer (11th), Lincoln Dews (12th), Leonard Nika (21st), Paul Jackson (24th), Belar Diaz (44th) all confirmed to race, the King of the Cut should score at least 22.5% on the Race Index. That means there will be at least 22.5 World Ranking Points up for grabs for the winner (there may be even more points on offer if any of the other current top 50 ranked guys sign up at the last minute). We’ll have to wait and see if the women’s race qualifies.

The other race that will almost certainly count is the Paris Crossing in France. With a sold-out starting line of 400 paddlers there were bound to be a few elite guys in there. I believe Kai Lenny (2nd in the world), Eric Terrien (8th), Casper Steinfath (10th) and Titouan Puyo (15th) will all be racing in Paris on Sunday. Those four guys alone would see the Paris Crossing scrape in with a 15.5% Race Index score, however there will probably be a few more of the Top 50 guys show up (France is home to some serious talent).

And just to add a little spice to the race, this is the last chance for Kai Lenny to nudge Connor Baxter off top spot before next year. I’m not sure if the Paris Crossing will offer enough points for Kai to make a move but it’ll go very close.

Kai’s 5th best result from the past 12 months, i.e. the lowest score that’s currently counting for his total ranking points, is 22.50. That means he needs to better 22.50 points next weekend to have any chance of overtaking Connor.

So if a few more guys show up in Paris and Kai takes the win, he may be able to displace Connor at the top of the SUP RACER WORLD RANKINGS. Right now, Connor is the world #1 by a very narrow margin of just 1.22 points. Connor is currently sitting on a massive 236.60, however Kai is right behind him on 235.38 points.

To bump Connor off as world #1, Kai needs the Paris Crossing to score a Race Index of at least 23.72%. And of course he’d need to win the race as well, which means he’d have to out-paddle Casper, Eric, Titou and all the other guys. Not beyond him, but not easy – the Paris Crossing is a flat water race held in the cold French winter, which wouldn’t really be the Maui boy’s most favoured race conditions…

So there you go, the points will be in Perth and Paris on the weekend.

Though there will actually be a third change in the rankings next weekend, however this one is a bit of an anomaly.

Each event stays in the SUP RACER WORLD RANKINGS system for 12 months – after an event is more than 12 months old, it’s completely dropped. This rolling 12 month formula ensures the rankings stay fresh and accurate.

And guess what? There’s one race next weekend that’s going to be dropped. And it won’t be coming back on any time soon.

After a debacle with prize money (some paddlers still haven’t been paid), Puerto Rico’s Paddle Royal event will not return this year. I’m not saying it won’t count for the rankings, I mean the event won’t be held this year, period. It may return one day in the future but it seems pretty much dead right now.

That means all the top finishers from 12 months ago will be dropping points on the weekend. Though because Paddle Royal 2013 only scored 22.5% on the Race Index, all the top guys from that event (Danny, Jake, Eric, Slater and Chase) won’t see any change to their rankings – they all already have 5 other results that are worth more than what they scored in Puerto Rico.

But still, kind of an interesting little anomaly right there (and also a timely reminder to the race organiser that he still has to pay the athletes the prize money they won).

There’s a slim chance we could even see a fourth or fifth change next weekend, courtesy of the action in French Polynesia: Danny Ching is hosting a downwinder on Tahiti that Georges Cronsteadt will probably join him for, while a bunch of elites will be on Bora Bora for the Ironmana. However it’s unlikely either of these races will score the minimum 15% Race Index.

So that’s the latest from the world of points and rankings.

Keep an eye out next Sunday when we update the World Rankings based on results from King of the Cut and the Paris Crossing. By my estimate we’ll have 8 of the world’s top 10 guys competing on Saturday and Sunday, so it’ll be interesting to see who moves up or down in what will almost certainly be the final ranking changes for 2014.

Now click to view the latest SUP RACER WORLD RANKINGS.