After a solid week of speculation, Mo Freitas has officially joined Team Rogue for season 2018 as the OG performance brand continues its comeback inside an expanded and revamped Boardworks family.
The news will formally be announced later today after one of paddling’s greatest all-round talents recently concluded his search for a new home following a departure from Focus in December.
(Mo teased today’s news on Instagram with a competition yesterday to guess where he was going that drew 150 responses.)
This is a huge pickup for Rogue. Mo has proven himself as one of stand up paddling’s absolute finest over the past few years by winning big events such as the ISA Worlds, JM Survior Race and Payette River Games. Impressive podium performances at the likes of OluKai and the Pacific Paddle Games only served to cement his reputation as one of the best world’s best, while the fact he absolutely rips on a surfboard is the feather in his cap.
Boardworks didn’t have it all their own way in chasing Mo, however, with several other brands tempting the world number five to collaborate. We haven’t seen a male athlete this high-profile change teams since NSP scooped Titouan Puyo 24 months ago, so it’s no surprise that as many as half a dozen teams made Mo an offer.
Whether it be surf racing, downwinding or flat water grinds, Mo Freitas holds his own with the best of ’em. Surfing is still Mo’s first love though, and part of his deal with Boardworks will see him riding Rogue’s new surf range and foils in addition to their race boards. The superstar told us he was excited to get his hands on the new toys, and while he’ll be at plenty of 2018’s biggest races, Mo is also eager to spend more time in the surf this season.
Mo joins the long-serving Fernando Stalla on the rebranded team, with Rogue taking the “performance-oriented” position within an extended Boardworks family that also includes its all-round and entry-level offerings.
As we wrote a few months ago (see: The Return of Rogue), Rogue has been hitting the comeback trail pretty hard after joining Boardworks’ parent company and kayak conglomerate Confluence six months ago.
Rogue was one of the OG SoCal teams that helped light the spark of SUP racing circle 2011/2012. They were the first real brand with attitude that helped give SUP racing an edge, so it’s pretty cool to see them reinvigorated and back on the circuit after going silent in 2015/2016. Mo’s signing seems a pretty good fit given the young Hawaiian’s tenacity on the water and character off it.
Mo’s signing is also the first big reveal of the 2018 “Trade Week,” with half a dozen top paddlers set for a shuffle before the season gets started.
Kai Lenny kicked things off on New Year’s Day by announcing his departure from Naish but he’s not expected to join any other team (at least not one based in the SUP world). There are plenty of other big names heading towards a new home this week (look out for a few big reveals on the women’s side in the next day or two) but Mo’s move to Rogue is definitely one of the major talking points.
Below: an epic look back at Mo’s summer in Europe