When looking at Connor Baxter's incredible career, it is hard not to notice that his form through the 2019 season hasn't been what we have come to expect from the multiple times World Champion. However, watching him take on the best of the best today and coming out with victory in the Sprints was a clear reminder that Connor is still very much at the top of his game and has a great deal more in the tank.
In a final that was without doubt one for the ages, Connor's grit determination, physical ability and mental strength, enabled him to overcome Denmark's Casper Steinfath to take victory, at a moment where Casper was one heat away from securing his first World Title. An incredible achievement by the celebrated Champion from Maui, as he now sets his sights on the Paris SUP Open event title in tomorrow's distance race down the RIver Seine.
Connor's performance today not only sets the scene for a strong finish to the season, but already bodes well for a great year ahead, as Connor makes a statement at this all important final stop for 2019.
While the 15 strong Danish support crew were disappointed not to be celebrating their Champion's maiden World Title today in Paris, Casper did do enough to secure the Overall Sprint Title for the year, together with an impressive finals finish finishing in second place today.
He also made another important step towards clinching that maiden World Title, with France's Arthur Arutkin falling out of the draw earlier than expected in the sprints, and Casper making it all the way to the Final.
As we go into the Last Day of competition, the reigning World Champion Arthur will have to take victory in the distance race in order to have a shot at defending his World Title, while Casper is in a position to improve on his current overall points with a strong finish tomorrow. After today's performance, he has posted another important notch on his belt and step towards that goal.
Danny Ching has long been one of the most respected figureheads in the sport, and remains one of the most dangerous competitors on the APP World Tour as he once again took his incredible technique and invaluable experience to overcome a string of the World's very best athletes on his way to the semi finals.
While he wasn't able to overcome Connor in the Semis, he did manage to take victory over Italy's Claudio Nika to take 3rd, putting him in a great position coming into the final day of competition here at the 2019 Paris SUP Open.
Danny's strategic approach to racing and his flawless technique have provided and continue to provide inspiration to present and future Champions, while he continues to make his presence felt as a leading Contender on the APP World Tour: long may it continue.
Here are the Results from Day one of competition here at the 2019 APP World Tour Finals, the Paris SUP Open: