The 2014 Abu Dhabi All Stars Grand Slam kicked off on April 11th with Stop #3 of the Stand up World Tour at the Wadi Adventure Park. After three days of intense action, it all came down to one final heat: 3 lefts, 3 rights and 3 closeouts as 5x World Champion Kai Lenny stepped it up a gear to secure his first win of the season by executing a perfect air reverse into a 360 on his final wave.
In the days following, the World Series Sprint and Distance Races took over at Yas Marina providing some of the most dramatic and competitive stand up paddle racing seen yet on the Stand Up World Series Tour.
The Distance Race was packed with top contenders as Kai intelligently navigated his way through each mile, sticking in the leading pack but not pushing too hard, too early, allowing him to make the sprint on the final leg and grab silver, just mere seconds from reaching another gold.
As the event progressed, the World Series Sprint Racing heats were underway. Kai showed a strong performance from the start, dominating each of his heats to make it all the way to the Final. It was a battle for the ages as Kai took the lead on the first leg and maintained it through the remainder of the course, giving him the well-deserved win in the Sprints.
Having won the World Surfing Tour component, 2nd in Distance and now, 1st in Sprints, Kai secured the 2014 Abu Dhabi All Stars Title in the UAE. An amazing achievement!
In the Women’s fleet, Naish’s Manca Notar also started out the 2014 World Tour in Abu Dhabi with an admirable performance, placing 2nd Overall after securing a strong 2nd in the Distance and 3rd in the Sprints. Way to make your way to the podium Manca – a job very well done!
Another praiseworthy mention is Naish Viking, Casper Steinfath, who was awarded the ‘Sportsman’ Award – an award recognizing an exceptional contribution and representation for the sport, the World Series and Ocean Sports athletes in general. Great job Casper – you deserve it!
Overall World Series & Tour Rankings for the year now see Kai Lenny in 2nd place ready to jump in the lead as the year progresses. Overall World Tour rankings also see Kai in a strong 2nd place. remain with Connor Baxter leading the ratings, followed by Kai Lenny in 2nd and Zane Schweitzer in 3rd.
This is the 2nd Grand Slam in a row where Team Naish has taken the title, with Kody Kerbox most recently taking the top spot at the Alagoas Pro Grand Slam in Brazil.
Keep up the incredible work Team Naish!
See the full recaps here:
Photos courtesy of: Stand up World Tour & Series / Abdel Elecho / Manca Notar / Naish Middle East / James Sullivan / Anthony Vela