Fiona Wylde and Lincoln Dews have taken top honours on day one of the Mercedes-Benz SUP World Cup in Germany, out-sprinting an elite field of European and international stars to salute in the seaside town of Scharbeutz this afternoon.
Fiona won an intense side-by-side battle with fellow pocket rocket Manca Notar, as the youngsters quickly paddled clear of Olivia Piana, Angie Jackson, Terrene Black, Susak Molinero, Yuka Sato and Sonni Honscheid in the eight-woman final.
Manca looked like taking the race early on, opening up a lead on the second leg of the short, tight “M-shaped” course, before Fiona reeled her in and finally passed her on the sprint back in to the beach after catching a non-existent bump and pulling away.
It was a very impressive performance from Fiona, but almost equally so from Manca, whom we haven’t seen on a race board much at all this season as she focuses on her university degree back home in Slovenia.
Olivia once again looked strong, continuing her excellent summer season with a third place finish today. Given her form over the past month, the Frenchwoman will definitely be one of the favourites for tomorrow’s distance race and therefore the overall title as well.
Both Manca and Aussie veteran Angie Jackson (who finished 4th today) reached the final by way of the repêchage round, which highlights the depth of talent in the women’s field. Meanwhile one dark horse to watch is certainly the young surfer from Japan, Yuka Sato, who didn’t have a great final (finishing 7th) but showed immense promise in the opening round to suggest she’ll be a threat in the future.
Sooo happy to win the @mercedesbenz #SUPWorldCup Sprints today!!! It was an amazing day of racing incredibly strong, talented women! I'm just so happy to be on the start line with you all! Thank you @georgiasphoto for capturing this perfectly!!😍🍾 Also, congrats to @lincolndews for taking out the men's sprints! 👏🏁 Tomorrow is the distance race and ill be trying to give it my best! 💃🏻🚣 @starboardsup @blackprojectsup @oneillwomens @dakine @diabetessportsproject
One of Europe’s shining lights, Susak Molinero from Spain, came home 5th to continue her bright summer campaign, while Team Australia rep Terrene Black faded in the second half of the race to finish 6th after being an early contender.
The Queen of the European summer of SUP, Sonni Honscheid, will certainly be looking to make amends after getting a bad start in the final and never recovering. Sonni came home 8th, which means she almost certainly has to win tomorrow’s race to have any shot at the overall podium.
WOMEN’S SPRINT FINAL
1st: Fiona Wylde (Starboard/USA)
2nd: Manca Notar (Red Bull/Slovenia)
3rd: Olivia Piana (Starboard/France)
4th: Angie Jackson (ONE/Australia)
5th: Susak Molinero (RRD/Spain)
6th: Terrene Black (ECS/Australia)
7th: Yuka Sato (Starboard/Japan)
8th: Sonni Honscheid (Starboard/Germany)
On the men’s side, Lincoln was definitely the in-form paddler all day despite the incredibly high level of talent in the field–the Australian charged through the early rounds of the knockout event before saving his best form for the final.
After sprinting off the beach at a lightning fast pace and then maintaining his momentum all the way to the first buoy, Lincoln, a world-class paddler that I believe has always been greatly under-rated, took the early lead in the final and never looked back, as Arthur Arutkin, Connor Baxter, Trevor Tunnington, James Casey, Martin Vitry and the Hasulyo Brothers battled for the minor spots in the eight-man finale.
Arthur made the best of the buoy turns around the short, sharp course to claim the second step of the podium, while Connor survived a possible elimination in the semi-finals (that saw him earn a spot in the finale by way of the last-chance repêchage round) to claim third place.
James Casey looked like a real threat all day, however the Aussie got tangled with Arthur for just a couple of seconds at the first buoy, which was enough time for Lincoln to open a lead and the other contenders to close in.
Martin Vitry was probably the least-recognised name in the final, though anyone that’s followed the sport closely over the past 18 months, particularly the European racing season, will know just how much of a rising threat this young Frenchman is becoming.
The Hasulyos, Daniel and Bruno, had looked sharp all through the earlier rounds but couldn’t find their groove in the cut-throat final, while Trevor had looked good all day but ultimately limped home in 8th after flipping his board on the approach to the final buoy.
Some big names didn’t even make the final at all though, with Michael Booth getting bundled out in the cut-throat quarter finals, and last year’s SUP World Cup sprint champ Casper Steinfath losing out in the semis after an uncustomary fall. Mo Freitas was another to lose out early, however his was a heartbreaking exit: in a freak incident, Mo’s paddle was accidentally rammed by the nose of a board going around one of the hectic buoy turns that snapped the shalf in half.
MEN’S SPRINT FINAL
1st: Lincoln Dews (DEEP/Australia)
2nd: Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic/France)
3rd: Connor Baxter (Starboard/Hawaii)
4th: Bruno Hasulyo (Starboard/Hungary)
5th: James Casey (Sunova/Australia)
6th: Martin Vitry (OXBOW/France)
7th: Daniel Hasulyo (Starboard/Hungary)
8th: Trevor Tunnington (Starboard/NZ)
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Despite cold and rainy weather in the morning, the sun finally poked through just as the finals were set to begin, with a strong crowd of gathered paddlers and curious locals watching from the beach and along the perfectly-positioned pier as some of the world’s best battled around the course; the SUP World Cup is arguably one of the best-run SUP events anywhere in the world, with an impressive setup on the beach and of course the hugely significant backing of the Mercedes brand name.
Tomorrow it’s the semi-long-distance race, which will decide the overall SUP World Cup champions, and we’ll try and get a Facebook Live stream up and running for you at 2pm local time on Sunday.
And let’s not forget we also have the next stop of the EuroTour as part of this weekend’s busy SUP World Cup, with Olivia hoping for one more shot at taking down Sonni on the overall EuroTour Leaderboard, while Boothy will be doing a victory lap after essentially securing the 2017 EuroTour title back in San Sebastian.
The EuroTour race (on 14 footers) will be held at 10am local time, while the second part of the World Cup event (the 12’6 distance race) will be at 2pm. So yeah, two distance races in one day. We’ll try and cover both depending on weather/internet, but if we can only manage one then the focus will be on the afternoon race.
(2pm Germany = 10pm Australia, 5am California, 8am Florida; “What’s the time in Germany right now?”)
We’ll have a full recap/photos/video on Sunday evening, but for now here’s a replay of our impromptu live stream from Saturday afternoon’s finals.
You can also follow the SUP World Cup on Facebook for more coverage.
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