Kai Lenny is crowned 2014 World Champion:
An electrifying final day of close finishes sees Sean Poynter crowned victorious in France
Sean Poynter (Starboard) has been looking for redemption for some time now: rightly one of the favorites on the Stand Up World Tour and in 3rd place coming into this event, Sean hasn’t been able to close the deal to take the win at an event since 2012, when he was within inches of a World Title.
Ironically, it came down to today, the final day of action at the 2014 La Torche Pro France for everything to come together for Sean, with a trifecta of scores being settled on his road to victory:
He got one back on 2014 World Champion Kai Lenny (Naish) after their close battle in Abu Dhabi, taking him down in the semi finals
He got one back on 2012 World Champion Leco Salazar, who he met in the Final to secure this well deserved win
He secured the final victory of the year in convincing fashion to consolidate on his 3rd place overall for the year and build his confidence leading into the 2015 season
There is no doubt that Sean was one of the on form surfers of the event, posting solid heat scores all the way through this event and looking back on the year, he has been firing all cylinders all year, so this is a very well deserved win for Sean Poynter.
We are excited to see Sean enter the 2015 season with huge momentum and renewed confidence of his ability to win. A great result for this young American Champion.
Make sure to watch the highlights from today’s action right here:
Kai Lenny secures an impressive 4th Stand Up World Surfing Title in France
Coming into La Torche, Kai Lenny (Naish) was brimming with confidence as he prepared to defend his 2013 World and Event Titles at this climactic final rankings event of the 2014 season.
Kai made quick work of his early heats, building momentum until he climaxed in the all important quarterfinals, where he posted a near perfect heat score total (19 pts out of a possible 20 ) for a flawless showcase of high performance stand up paddle surfing.
With his eye still on the next round of competition, he was to secure the World Title while still sitting on the beach, as fellow Maui islander, Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) put an end to Caio Vaz’s (Art in Surf) Title campaign in the quarterfinals.
As he watched Zane take down the only person who could stop him winning the title, Kai was able to go into the Semi-FInal heat with Sean Poynter already knowing he had secured the 2014 Stand Up World Tour title.
Despite some great surfing in his semi final against Sean Poynter as they went blow for blow, wave for wave, Kai was unable to secure the win, settling for 3rd place in the event, but ecstatic with his 4th World Title secured here in France.
Leco Salazar makes it to the Final for a long awaited rematch with Sean Poynter
Leco Salazar (New Advance) is always a dangerous competitor, as World Champion from 2012, he has shown he is capable of the biggest accolade possible. However, while he has put on consistent performances through 2014, he had not had a podium finish, that is until France.
With fellow countryman Caio Vaz (Art in Surf) out of the competition and the Title Race in the quarters, Leco stepped up to keep his country’s hopes alive and spirits high in this all important final event of the year.
Leco put on a strong performance all day yesterday and peaked in his heat against Zane Schweitzer (Starboard), finding the waves he needed and showcasing the trademark Salazar flow to make it through to the Finals.
Up against a driven Sean Poynter (Starboard), Leco was unable to find the waves with the scoring potential he needed to surpass the on form American, having to settle for 2nd place overall in the 2014 La Torche Pro France.
This moves Leco up the rankings into 8th place overall for the year, as he will now go home to prepare for the 2015 season and a new assault on the World Title.
Zane Schweitzer causes the upset of the year & finishes in 3rd place for the event
Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) has had an incredible year in 2014, with strong performances on both the Stand Up World Racing Series and Surfing Tour and incredible consistency across both, showcasing is well rounded abilities.
Here in La Torche he found himself in a clutch heat against friend and Title Contender, Caio Vaz (Art in Surf) from Brazil who was just 2 heats away from a possible World Title in 2014.
Desperate for a strong finish to end the year, Zane put everything into his quarterfinal heat, finding the best waves of the heat and milking them through to the beach, notching up scores in the excellent range.
Despite a valiant performance by the TItle Contender Caio Vaz, Zane’s inspired attack was enough for him to take this pivotal win and move onto the Semi Finals, much to the delight of fellow Maui Boy, Kai Lenny, the new and reigning World Champion.
Despite going down in another close match up with 2012 World Champion Leco Salazar, Zane has secured his position as #5 in the World and has proved to himself what he is capable of. He will now regroup and prepare for what will be another exciting season in 2015.
Caio Vaz just falls short of the 2014 World Title, but proves himself every bit worthy
It was a bitter sweet day for Brazil yesterday after Leco’s 2nd place finish and as Caio Vaz (Art in Surf) was within a few heats of a World Title and was on fire, surfing like a true Champion and doing what it took to make it to the Final and secure the TItle.
Advancing from the opposite end of the draw from Kai Lenny (Naish), Caio and Kai were posting the highest heat score totals of the event through the opening rounds and up to the quarterfinals, both surfing immaculately and with purpose, and it seemed likely that they would meet in the Final given their phenomenal performances.
However, a match up with Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) in the quarterfinals put an end to Caio’s run in the event, but also for the World Title, as Kai Lenny had already advanced through to the semi finals. It was an incredibly close heat, with Caio putting on an impressive performance, but he was unable to find the waves he needed to put himself out of reach of Zane, and Zane was.
While it was a disappointing finish to the year for Caio, having to settle for 2nd overall again this year, he knows now that he has it in him, the ability to win, the capability of coming back from behind and in those clutch moments and more importantly, the mental mindset to win a World Title.
There is no doubt that Caio is destined for great things in this sport and we are excited to see one of the most positive and exciting rivalries develop in 2015 and to seeing if Caio might be able to bring the World Title back to Brazil.
Poenaiki Raioha has a disappointing finish in La Torche, but finishes in 4th Overall
Tahiti can be proud of their young Champion Poenaiki Raioha (F-One) who never ceases to amaze both with his surfing on the water, but also his humility on the land.
Despite a disappointing and frustrating finish for him in the 2014 La Torche Pro France, where he missed out on advancing to the quarterfinals due to an interference call, with a second place in Huntington, a 5th place in Abu Dhabi and a 5th place in Sunset, Poenaikia finishes in 4th place overall for the year: an incredible performance from the young Tahitian as there is no doubt that he is destined for great things.
The 2014 La Torche Pro France provides a dramatic finish to the 2014 season
The 2014 La Torche Pro France was blessed with exceptional conditions from start to finish. The Trials saw great waves and perfect winds and the Main event, solid swell on the first day and then groomed performance surfing conditions through days 2 and 3, delivering one of the most exciting closes imaginable to what has been an exceptional season on the Stand Up World Tour.
Kai Lenny (Naish) secures his 4th World Title, but the competition is fiercer than ever, as the likes of Caio Vaz (Art in Surf) and Sean Poynter (Starboard) are right on his heels and battling for the top spot.
The new guard of Poenaiki Raioha (F-One) and Mo Freitas (Focus SUP) are also proving themselves to not only be stars of the future, but stars of the present, as they take down the best of the best and showcase that they have the mindset, the will and the ability to win.
We had a points tie for 4th, 5th and 6th this year on the Stand Up World Tour, with the tie being broken as always by the best single score, and then the second time being broken by counting back to the next best result.
The tie ended up in favor of Poenaiki, taking 4th place overall for the year, followed by Zane Schweitzer (Starboard) in 5th and Mo Freitas in 6th.
So a big thank you to Sosh by Orange, leboncoin.fr, Audi Quimper, Starboard, Ecole de Surf de Bretagne, Twenty-Nine, the region of Finistere and town of Plomeur and last but not least, the people of La Torche for an incredible week of action here for our 4th edition of the Stand Up World Tour at this now mythical spot.
Watch the highlights, recaps and much more by going to www.watermanleague.com
Up Next: Location X in Morocco – a groundbreaking event, a roving location
It is an exciting time on the World Tour and in the sport in general, as we now head off to Morocco for the Location X Finals, a ground breaking roving event that will pit a selection of the best in the world against each other in the best possible conditions set to an unparalleled back drop that Morocco provides: hundreds of kilometers of untouched, pristine surf and a surge of winter swells in the Atlantic….
Make sure to stay with us at www.watermanleague.com as we head off for a jouney into the unknown.